Bob Dylan: 30 best songs from the 1970s (poll)

bob dylan
Photo credit: Keith Baugh (

I still write songs the same way I always did: I get a first line, the words and the tune together, and then I work out the rest wherever I happen to be, whenever I have time. If it’s really important, I’ll just make the time and try to finish it.
~To John Rockwell, Jan 1974

The saddest thing about songwriting is when you get something really good and you put it down for a while, and you take for granted that you’ll be able to get back to it with whatever inspired you to do it in the first place – well, whatever inspired you to do it in the first place is never there anymore. So then you’ve got to consciously stir up the inspiration to figure what it was about. Usually you get one good part and one not-sogood part, and the not-so-good wipes out the good part.
~To Bill Flanagan March 1985


This decade that gave us “Blood On The Tracks“, “Desire“, “Planet Waves“, “Street-Legal”, “New Morning“, “Slow Train Coming“, “Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid” & “Self Portrait”.

We challenged readers to put together a top 10 list, or at least 10 songs. Songs 1-5 received 2 points each & 6-10 received 1 point.

The poll closed April 18, 2014

Use the comments section in this post or move over to our facebook page and comment on my post there.


44 people voted, most of them with a top 10 list. Thanks for the input folks… this is a GREAT list.

Here are the results of the community jury:


Tangled Up In Blue (1974)

66 points

2 Idiot Wind (1974) 48 points
3 Simple Twist Of Fate (1974) 42 points
4 Shelter From The Storm (1974) 35 points
5 Changing Of The Guards (1978) 25 points
6 Sénor (1978) 24 points
7 Forever Young (1973) 23 points
7 Hurricane (1975) 23 points
9 Knocking On Heaven’s Door (1973) 21 points
10 Isis (1975) 19 points
11 Dirge (1973) 18 points
11 Up To Me (1974) 18 points
13 You’re A Big Girl Now (1974) 16 points
14 Sara (1975) 15 points
14 Where Are You Tonight (1978) 15 points
16 Abandoned Love (1975) 13 points
16 Lilly, Rosemary & The Jacks of Hearts (1974) 13 points
16 One More Cup of Coffee (1975) 13 points
19 If You See Her, Say Hello (1974) 11 points
19 When I Paint My Masterpiece (1971) 11 points
21 Slow Train Coming (1979) 10 points
22 Black Diamond Bay (1975) 9 points
23 Precious Angel (1979) 8 points
23 Wedding Song (1973) 8 points
25 Oh, Sister (1975) 7 points
26 Gotta Serve Somebody (1979) 6 points
26 I Believe In You (1979) 6 points
26 Never Say Goodbye (1973) 6 points
26 Sign On The Window (1970) 6 points
26 You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go 6 points

Songs with 5 points: Meet Me In The Morning, New Morning, Went To See The Gypsy, When He Returns

Songs with 4 points: I Shall Be Released, Romance In Durango, Spanish Is A Loving Tongue

26 other songs got 3 or less points.

Spotify playlist:

Here is my list:

  1. Tangled Up In Blue (1974)
  2. Idiot Wind (1974)
  3. Isis (1975)
  4. Changing Of The Guards (1978)
  5. Up To Me (1974)
  6. Shelter From The Storm (1974)
  7. Forever Young (1973)
  8. Simple Twist Of Fate (1974)
  9. You’re A Big Girl Now (1974)
  10. When I Paint My Masterpiece (1971)

note: I prefer the “Hard Rain” versions of Idiot Wind, Shelter Form the Storm & You’re A Big Girl Now

Hallgeir’s list:

  1. Tangled Up In Blue
  2. I Shall Be Released
  3. Simple Twist Of Fate
  4. Knocking On Heaven’s Door
  5. Idiot Wind
  6. Isis
  7. Oh, Sister (Hard Rain version)
  8. Shelter From The Storm (Hard Rain version)
  9. You’re A Big Girl Now
  10. Forever Young

Check out:


27 thoughts on “Bob Dylan: 30 best songs from the 1970s (poll)”

  1. My Top 10 Dylan from the 70’s are:

    01. Changing of the Guards [`78 Street Legal]
    02. Tomorrow is a Long Time [`71 Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, Vol. 2]
    03. Shelter from the Storm [`75 Blood on the Tracks]
    04. Buckets of Rain [`75 Blood on the Tracks]
    05. Early Mornin’ Rain [`70 Self Portrait]
    06. Idiot Wind [`75 Blood on the Tracks]
    07. You’re a Big Girl Now [`75 Blood on the Tracks]
    08. Sign on the Window [`70 New Morning]
    09. Forever Young [`74 Planet Waves]
    10. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door [`73 Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid]

  2. Nice to see “Changing of the guard” which seldom receives many plaudits in a top position.

    Disappointing however to see that “Up to me” scores so low.

    As always, at the end of the day “It’s a matter of opinion.”

  3. 1.Simple Twist of Fate
    2.When I Paint My Masterpiece
    3.If You See Her Say Hello
    6.You’re a Big Girl Now
    7.Lilly, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts
    8.Gotta Serve Somebody
    9.Tangled Up in Blue
    10.Where Are You Tonight?

  4. If You See Her, Say Hello, Isis (live), Hurricane, Changing of the Guards, Gotta Serve Somebody, Forever Young, Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts, Sara, Senor, Slow Train Coming…toughest list yet–probably my favorite decade of Dylan’s work.

  5. I know I missed as well, but here’s mine:

    1. Tangled Up In Blue
    2. Dirge
    3. Where Are You Tonight?
    4. We Better Talk This Over
    5. Senor

  6. Yep – I know the poll is finished, but Im submitting anyhow !
    Tangled / Isis (live) / Abandoned Love / Simple Twist of Fate / Shelter From the Storm / Changing of The Guards / Where Are You Tonight ? / Senor / Trouble In Mind / Idiot Wind

    An impossible job !

  7. These are all number one as they have all been my favourite at one time or another–

    Gonna Change My Way of Thinking
    You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
    Up to Me
    Gotta Serve Somebody
    Romance in Durango
    Gotta Travel On
    One More Cup of Coffee
    Tangled Up in Blue

    and an Honourable Mention goes to All Along the Watchtower from At Budokan. “…all right…that was straight from Chicago– this one’s from the Mojave Desert.” The dueling guitar and violin leads are wicked on that one.

  8. 1. Gotta Serve Somebody
    2. Tangled Up In Blue
    3. When He Returns
    4. Slow Train Coming
    5. Shelter from the Storm
    6. Senor
    7. Sara
    8. Isis
    9. Idiot Wind
    10. When You Gonna Wake Up


  10. Try these for size…

    1. Tangled Up in Blue
    2. Spanish is The Loving Tongue (single version)
    3. Abandoned Love
    4. Never Say Goodbye
    5. Where Are You Tonight? (Journey Through Dark Heat)
    6. If You See Her, Say Hello
    7. Black Diamond Bay
    8. If Dogs Run Free
    9. Wallflower.
    10.You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go

  11. “Forever Young,” “Dirge,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Simple Twist of Fate,” “Idiot Wind,” “Shelter From the Storm,” “Romance in Durango,” “No Time to Think,” “Is Your Love in Vain?” and “Journey Through Dark Heat”

  12. 1. Tangled Up In Blue (Any Versions)
    2. You’re A Big Girl Now (Bootleg Series Version)
    3. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go
    4. Simple Twist Of Fate
    5. Meet Me In The Morning (Duquesne Whistle Single B-Side)
    6. Up To Me
    7. Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts
    8. Idiot Wind (Bootleg Series Version)
    9. Buckets Of Rain
    10. If You See Her, Say Hello

  13. 1. Tangled Up In Blue
    2. Idiot Wind
    3. Slow Train Coming
    4. Señor
    5. Up To Me
    6. Where Are You Tonight
    7. When I Paint My Masterpiece
    8.Shelter From the Storm
    9. Hurricane
    10. You’re a Big Girl Now

  14. 1 Dirge
    2 Tangled Up In Blue
    3 Simple Twist of Fate
    4 You’re a Big Girl Now
    5 Idiot Wind
    6 Romance in Durango
    7 Shelter from the Storm
    8 Hurricane
    9 Forever Young
    10 Señor

  15. 1. Idiot Wind (New York)
    2. If You See Her, Say Hello (New York)
    3. Dirge
    4. Up To Me
    5. Tangled Up In Blue (New York)
    6. Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door
    7. Abandonned Love
    8. Changing Of The Guards
    9. Hurricane
    10. If Not For You (With George on slide, from the Bootleg Series)

  16. The 70s for me gets to be more slim pickins but still. . . .
    1. Watching the River Flow
    2. The Mighty Quinn (Self Portrait ver., rec. in 60s)
    3. Spanish Is the Loving Tongue (Masterpieces ver.)
    4. Precious Angel
    5. Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)
    6. Romance in Durango
    7. Forever Young (Budokan ver.)
    8. Most Likely You Go Your Way and I’ll Go Mine (Before the Flood ver.)
    9. Hurricane
    10. Wigwam

  17. this is more challenging, because of the many peculiarities of this decade, the many routes taken, where even the dead roads sometimes delivered…
    1 Dirge
    2 Idiot Wind
    3 Abandoned Love
    4 Simple Twist of Fate
    5 Where Are You Tonight
    6 Up to Me
    7 Shelter from the Storm
    8 One more Cup of Coffee
    9 Wedding Song
    10 When I paint my Masterpiece

  18. 1 Dirge
    2 One More Cup Of Coffee
    3 Idiot Wind
    4 Isis
    5 Tangeled Up In Blue
    6 Shelter From The Storm (Hard Rain)
    7 When He Returns
    8 Lilly, Rosemary…
    9 Sara
    10 Changing of the Guards

    1. “In the age of fiberglass, I’m looking for a gem….” and so on. DIRGE is so damn strong, it’s my no.1 as well. In fact, your list here looks quite the same as mine would be. Ah, so much for the ’70s.

  19. 1. Tangled Up in Blue
    2. Isis
    3. Shelter from the Storm (Hard Rain)
    4. When I Paint my Masterpiece
    5. Knocking on Heaven’s Door
    6. Changing of the Guards
    7. Up to Me
    8. Gotta Serve Somebody
    9. One More Cup of Coffee
    10. Going, Going, Gone

      1. Hey, Steven (and Egil / Hallgeir) : THANKS for this rare version … great Dylan-audio !

  20. Hers my top 70’s bob dylan songs.

    1.Shelter from the storm (both versions great, but hard rain version is the best)
    2. Tangled up in blue
    3. Hurricane
    4. Changing of the Guards
    5. Simple Twist of Fate
    6. Gotta Serve Somebody
    7. If not for you
    8. Isis
    9. Your a big girl now
    10. Senor

  21. 70’s Top 10:

    1. Changing of the Guards
    2. Sara
    3. Idiot wind
    4. Precious Angel
    5. Senor
    6. Copper Kettle
    7. Lily of the West
    8. You’re a Big Girl Now
    9. If you see her, say hello
    10. Forever You

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