Playlist: Bob Dylan by the numbers

dylan numbers

Playlist: Bob Dylan by the numbers

“I said “Fee, fie, fo, fum, Cassius Clay, here I come
26, 27, 28, 29, I’m gonna make your face look just like mine
Five, four, three, two, one, Cassius Clay you’d better run
99, 100, 101, 102, your ma won’t even recognize you
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, gonna knock him clean right out of his spleen”
– Bob Dylan, I shall be free No.10

A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, and so forth. A notational symbol that represents a number is called a numeral. In addition to their use in counting and measuring, numerals are often used for labels (as with telephone numbers), for ordering (as with serial numbers), and for codes (as with ISBNs). In common usage, the term number may refer to a symbol, a word, or a mathematical abstraction.
– Wikipedia

Dylan has been fascinated by numbers all his career, he sometimes put them at the start or at the end of songs, sometimes even in the middle. A lot of his songs have numbers in their titles, I’ve tried to collect them all, tell me if there are songs missing…

…and I’ve tried to put them in ascending order!


Positively 4th Street (not on Spotify, here in a great live version from Roseland in 1994):

Other playlists:
Bob Dylan sings the blues
Bob Dylan sings about Rivers, Oceans and Ships
Bob Dylan – Songs that could have been movies
Bob Dylan – Songs about real persons
Bob Dylan – Murder ballads
Bob Dylan Shadows in the night track listing and Sinatra Spotify playlist

– Hallgeir

6 thoughts on “Playlist: Bob Dylan by the numbers”

  1. Whenever I play “I Shall Be Free No. 10” I get a kick out of hearing the name Cassius Clay because I can still remember him prior to the February 1964 Liston fight, after which he changed his name to Muhammad Ali. It seems so long ago and reminds me of how far back Dylan goes as a figure in American culture.
    I loved hearing the live version of “Positively Fourth Street as well. This is one Dylan song which is so direct and full of emotions from a true-life experience. There’s no need for analysis and no metaphors to dissect. He and Suze Rotollo lived in an apartment on Fourth Street and I’ve always assumed that it deals with their breakup. Dylan displays one raw emotion here. He is pissed!!! If I ever had to choose just one Dylan song as my all-time favorite, this would be the one.

  2. Positively 4th Street, One More Night, 2 X 2, Million Dollar Bash, and Obviously, Five Believers.
    🙂 Love this post! Thanks!

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