June 23: Bob Dylan – Saved was released in 1980


…just left it there. The mix… it was mixed wrong or something, I don’t know, it didn’t sound right to me anyway, so I… I don’t know. I must’ve told somebody at that time who was, uh, working on the album. I know I didn’t really say anything to the record company about it. But some people tell me that they saw it in the press that I’d said
~Bob Dylan (to Paul Vincent, Nov 1980)

Like Slow Train was a big album. Saved didn’t have those kind of numbers but to me it was just as big an album.
~Bob Dylan (to Dave Herman, July 1981)

The nearest thing to a follow-up album Dylan has ever made: a Slow Train Coming II, and inferior. Two stand-out tracks, nonetheless: the turbulent ‘Pressing On’ (Dylan creating convincing hot gospel) and the intelligently submissive, courageous address (including a lovely, aptly devotional harmonica) that is ‘What Can I Do For You?”
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

bob dylan saved

Let’s start with a video clip from Dylan’s fantastic concert in Toronto 20 April 1980 including two of my fav songs from “Saved”; What Can I Do For You? & In The Garden:

The importance of identifying Bob Dylan as a performing artist, as distinct from the popular perception that he’s a songwriter and recording artist, is immediately clear when one has a chance to hear his fall 1979 concerts. “What Can I Do for You?,” “Solid Rock,” “Saving Grace,” “Covenant Woman” and “In the Garden” as performed at these shows are some of the finest works in Dylan’s oeuvre, but you’d never know that from listening to Saved, the 1980 studio album that features these compositions. The Saved performances are technically adequate, but they fail to put across the essential character of any of these songs, which I suppose tells us that that essence is not automatically present in the words and music of a song; it is possible (and in this case it happened) that these elements can be in place and yet whatever it is that makes the song meaningful can still be missing.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)


Released June 23, 1980
Recorded February 11–15, 1980
Genre Rock, gospel
Length 42:39
Label Columbia
Producer Barry Beckett and Jerry Wexler

Saved was the second album of Dylan’s “Christian trilogy”, following his conversion to born-again Christianity. It expanded on themes explored on its predecessor Slow Train Coming, with gospel arrangements and lyrics extolling the importance of a strong personal faith.

The album hit No. 3 on the UK charts, reached No. 24 on the US charts and did not go gold. CCM Magazine described the album as an “open declaration of Dylan’s deepening faith.”

Cover Art

The cover of Saved originally featured a painting by Tony Wright of God‘s hand reaching down to touch the hands of his believers. However, this cover was subsequently replaced by a painting of Dylan on stage performing during that time period in order to downplay the overtly religious nature of the original cover. It has since been changed back on some re-releases. A quote inside the sleevenotes reads: “‘Behold, the days come, sayeth the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah’ (Jeremiah 31:31)”.


Track listing

All songs written by Bob Dylan, except where noted.

Side one
  1. “A Satisfied Mind” (Red Hayes, Jack Rhodes) – 1:57
  2. “Saved” (Tim Drummond, Dylan) – 4:00
  3. “Covenant Woman” – 6:02
  4. “What Can I Do for You?” – 5:54
  5. “Solid Rock” – 3:55
Side two
  1. “Pressing On” – 5:11
  2. “In the Garden” – 5:58
  3. “Saving Grace” – 5:01
  4. “Are You Ready” – 4:41

bob dylan saved back


  • Bob Dylan – guitar, harmonica, keyboards, vocals
Additional musicians
  • Carolyn Dennis – vocals
  • Tim Drummond – bass guitar
  • Regina Havis – vocals
  • Jim Keltner – drums
  • Clydie King – vocals
  • Spooner Oldham – keyboards
  • Fred Tackett – Guitar
  • Monalisa Young – Vocals
  • Terry Young – Keyboards, Vocals
Technical personnel
  • Barry Beckett – production
  • Gregg Hamm – engineering
  • Bobby Hata – mastering
  • Mary Beth McLemore – assistant engineering
  • Arthur Rosato – photography
  • Jerry Wexler – production
  • Paul Wexler – mastering supervision
  • Tony Wright – artwork

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4 thoughts on “June 23: Bob Dylan – Saved was released in 1980”

  1. This album was a good companion through the sweaty summer of 1980. Some hard truths here; “to search for love, that ain’t no more than vanity” — and some words of hope too.

  2. “Covenant Woman,” “Pressing On,” “In the Garden,” — These three are the cream of what is a terrific album, IMO. Bob’s singing has rarely been better, likely because he delivered the lyrics with the conviction he not often duplicates any more. When Dylan puts his heart into a song — think “Idiot Wind” on Hard Rain — it’s just unmatched.

  3. I think the ones I like best are …In the Garden…. and Saving Grace… . That’s just me , how I feel now. You gotta be ready for this album and that’s what Bob says on the last song. Saw him on this tour in Portland, Maine…it was a great venue and an intimate show .

  4. I’ve always felt than anyone who didn’t like this album didn’t understand gut-bucket back hills gospel. Oddly enough, this is the album that totally cemented Dylan’s genius status with me. A genre album as good as a life long practitioner could put out.

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