I hear the ancient footsteps like the motion of the sea
Sometimes I turn, there’s someone there, other times it’s only me
I am hanging in the balance of the reality of man
Like every sparrow falling, like every grain of sand
|Released||August 10, 1981|
|Producer||Chuck Plotkin, Bob Dylan
with Bumps Blackwell on “Shot of Love”
Shot of Love is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan‘s 21st studio album, released by Columbia Records in August 1981.
It is generally considered to be Dylan’s last of a trilogy of overtly religious, Christian albums. Also, it was his first since becoming born-again to focus on secular themes, from straight-ahead love songs to an ode to the deceased comedian Lenny Bruce. Arrangements are rooted more in rock’n’roll, less in gospel than on Dylan’s previous two albums.
At the time of its release, Shot of Love received mixed reviews; Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone in particular savaged the album, though he did single out the last track, “Every Grain of Sand,” as a stand-out. Shot of Love, while reaching UK #6, continued Dylan’s US commercial decline, reaching #33 during a brief chart stay. By contrast, Bono of Irish band U2 described Shot of Love as one of his favourites, particularly due to Dylan’s singing ability.
- “Shot of Love” – 4:18
- “Heart of Mine” – 4:29
- “Property of Jesus” – 4:33
- “Lenny Bruce” – 4:32
- “Watered-Down Love” – 4:10
- “Dead Man, Dead Man” – 3:58
- “In the Summertime” – 3:34
- “Trouble” – 4:32
- “Every Grain of Sand” – 6:12
“The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar”, originally the B-side to “Heart of Mine” and included only on cassette release, was added to Shot of Love as track 6 in 1985 (song one on side two of the vinyl LP), and has been present in all subsequent pressings.
5 best songs.. according to me:
- Every Grain of Sand
- The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar
- Lenny Bruce
- Shot of Love
- Heart of Mine
A large number of songs recorded during the Shot of Love sessions were ultimately omitted from the final album, but several outtakes later found their way into private circulation.
Best of the outtakes is Caribbean Wind & Angelina… but that is another story.
A number of critics had already turned on Dylan for the evangelism of his last two albums, but the reception for Shot of Love was particularly harsh. Despite lavish praise of “Every Grain Of Sand,” Paul Nelson of Rolling Stone savaged the rest of the album. Nick Kent of New Musical Express called it “Dylan’s worst album to date.” Despite heavy touring in Europe and North America (in which all but two songs were performed), sales of Shot of Love were below CBS’s expectations. Still, in an interview taken in 1983, Dylan would describe Shot of Love as a personal favorite.
Great live version of “Every Grain of Sand” – Paris 84:
Every Grain of Sand – studio version:
Now here is a real gem! – “The Grooms Still Waiting At The Altar” – live (probably Nov 1980):
Album of the day: