Tag Archives: bob dylan best songs

Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Tweeter and the Monkey Man

Tweeter and the Monkey Man were hard up for cash
They stayed up all night selling cocaine and hash
To an undercover cop who had a sister named Jan
For reasons unexplained she loved the Monkey Man

‘Tweeter & The Monkey Man’ was Tom Petty and Bob sitting in the kitchen, Jeff and I were there too, but they were talking about all this stuff which didn’t make sense to me – Americana kind of stuff. And we got a tape cassette and put it on and transcribed everything they were saying and wrote it down. And then Bob sort of changed it, anyway. That for me was just amazing to watch ’cause I had very little to do with writing that [song] at all – except Jeff and I remembered a little bit that [Bob] did that he’d forgotten – which became that chorus part. It was just fantastic watching him do it because . . . he had one take warming himself up and then he did it for real on take two. The rest of us had more time but Bob had to go on the road and we knew he couldn’t do any more vocals again, so we had to get his vocals immediately. And on take two he sang [it] right through, and then what he did was he changed some of the lyrics maybe in about four places he changed a couple of lines and improved them, and dropped these lines in and that’s it – just as it was done and written. And the way he writes the words down! Very tiny, like a spider’s written it . . . It’s just unbelievable seeing how he does it.
– George Harrison, to Roger Scott, 1989

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: ‘Cross The Green Mountain

I cross the Green Mountain
I sit by the stream
Heaven blazing in my head
I dreamed a monstrous dream
Something came up
Out of the sea
Swept through the land of
The rich and the free

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Tangled Up In Blue

This is a song that took ten years to live and ten years to write.
~Bob Dylan (Special Events Arena, El Paso, Texas – November 21, 1978)

I was trying to do something that I don’t know if I was prepared to do. I wanted to defy time, so that the story took place in the present and past at the same time. When you look at a painting, you can see any part of it or see all of it together. I wanted that song to be like a painting.
~Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan, March 1985)

Joni Mitchell had an album out called Blue. And it affected me, I couldn’t get it out of my head. And it just stayed in my head and when I wrote that song I wondered, what’s that mean? And then I figured that it was just there, and I guess that’s what happened, y’know.
~Bob Dylan (to Craig McGregor, March 1978)

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Like A Rolling Stone

….would be Like A Rolling Stone because I wrote that after I’d quit. I’d literally quit singing and playing, and I found myself writing this song, this story, this long piece of vomit about twenty pages long, and out of it I took Like A Rolling Stone and made it as a single. And I’d never written anything like that before and it suddenly came to me that that was what I should do, you know. I mean, nobody had ever done that before.
~Bob Dylan (to Martin Bronstein – Feb 1966)

.. The sound is so rich the song never plays the same way twice
~Greil Marcus

The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody had kicked open the door to your mind
~Bruce Springsteen (Jan 1988)

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Bob Dylan’s Best Songs: Blowin’ in the Wind

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong. I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many wars… You people over 21 should know better. The first way to answer these questions in the song is by asking them. But lots of people have to first find the wind.
~Bob Dylan (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan Liner Notes – 1963)

The version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” that eventually appeared on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was recorded at this July 9 session. Of all the available performances of this song from 1962 and 1963, this “official” recording is my favorite. It has a presence, a magic, as if Dylan took a deep breath and thought, “Okay, this one’s for posterity.” I don’t think Dylan ever put quite as much of himself into the song again. He didn’t have to. The song itself was in the wind at that point.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist 1960-1973 The Early Years)

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