That was an inspired song that came to me. I felt like I was just putting down words that were coming from somewhere else, and I just stuck it out.
~Bob Dylan (“Biograph” notes)
“That’s an excellent song, very painless song to write,… It took like 12 seconds – or that’s how it felt.”
~Bob Dylan (to Robert Hilburn – Feb 1992)
…But “Every Grain of Sand” is something special: the “Chimes of Freedom” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” of Bob Dylan’s Christian period. A pearl among swine, it has surety and strength all down the line. Also vulnerability.
~Paul Nelson (from his famous “Rolling Stone Magazine” review of “Shot Of Love” – Oct. 1981)
Every Grain of Sand is a beautiful song, one of Dylan’s finest. It was released on Shot of Love in 1981. An alternate take of this song was released in The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961-1991. It appeared on the soundtrack for the 1997 film Another Day In Paradise. Bob Dylan included in his live repertoire many years. First we will present five cover versions and after that we should listen to 2 really great versions from Dylan himself.
Luka Bloom – Every Grain Of Sand (2014, from the album Head & Heart):
Bon Iver – Every Grain of Sand (live 2010, St. Olaf College Northfield, MN, terrible audience, good band):
George Harrison – Something/Every Grain of Sand (Radio Show with Jeff Lynn hollering in the background)
Emmylou Harris – Every Grain of Sand (live 2010, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival):
One GREAT versions:
Bob Dylan with Mick Taylor – Every Grain of Sand (live from Paris 1984):
The love in ‘Every Grain Of Sand’ , though firmly rooted in Dylan’s conversion experience and his Bible studies, immediately and obviously reaches beyond it’s context to communicate a deeply felt devotional spirit based on universal experiences: pain of self-awareness, and sense of wonder or awe of the beauty of the natural world.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan Performing Artist 1974-86)
The real performing highlight [of “Every Grain Of Sand”] .. occurred one sultry night (28 June 1989) near the ancient streets of the Greek capital, the song being returned to base by a Dylan picking up an acoustic guitar and singing the song with only G.E. Smith – in the Fred Tackett role – to accompany him.
~Clinton Heylin (Still On The Road)