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Solid New Release Recalls Bob Dylan's Ten Best Albums

Updated on June 28, 2020

How Does It Feel To Be The Greatest Album Ever?


Thirty nine came at 79, and hopefully we fans will see number forty at some future point. Rough and Rowdy Ways, released just a few weeks after his 79th birthday, is the 39th studio album in Bob Dylan's long career.

Reception of the new disk has been mostly positive, as evidenced by the fact that Dylan became the oldest artist to ever hit number one in the United Kingdom. Thanks to the early release of the single "Murder Most Foul," the album has also done well in the United States.

How it ranks among the other works in Dylan's extensive catalogue has yet to be determined but, as good as the new record might be, it may never crack his top ten. Most of his best material came during a fifteen year run in the Sixties and Seventies, which gave us what I consider his most enduring albums.

1. Highway 61 Revisited from 1965
From opening track "Like a Rolling Stone" to the cleverly acerbic "Ballad of a Thin Man" to the eleven minute closer "Desolation Row," this album is the greatest blend of poetry and catchy folk rock in the history of music.

2. Blonde on Blond from 1966
Its best tracks were not huge hits, but most fans appreciate "You Go Your Way I Go Mine," "One of Us Must Know" and the delightfully enigmatic "Fourth Time Around."

3. Blood on the Tracks from 1975
"Tangled Up In Blue" kicks it off, while cuts like "Idiot Wind" and "Shelter from the Storm" help mark it as one of Dylan's finest comebacks.

4. Another Side of Bob Dylan from 1964
You could tell he was close to adopting a rock format on this record, highlighted by "Motorpsycho Nitemare," " My Back Pages" and "It Ain't Me Babe."

5. Bringing It All Back Home from 1965
Side A has electric gems like "Subterranean Homesick Blues" and "Maggie's Farm" while the back half comprises acoustic epics such as "Gates of Eden" and "It's All Over Now Baby Blue."

6. Freewheelin' from 1963
"Blowin' in the Wind" and "Don't Think Twice It's Alright" are just a few of the classics herein, even though my favorite is the humorous "I Shall Be Free."

7. John Wesley Harding from 1967
His return to pure folk is evident from the opening title track to "As I Went Out One Morning" to "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest," yet its most famous song became a rock classic when Jimi Hendrix covered " All Along the Watchtower. "

8. The Times They Are a-Changin' from 1963
Imagery proved to be the outstanding feature on the title track, as well as on other poignant numbers like "With God On Our Side" and "When the Ship Comes In."

9. Infidels from 1981
When Dylan asks why a sweetheart is in a dump like this, he answers the question with the memorable line "Steal a little and they'll throw you in jail but steal a lot and they'll make you king." Before we even reach that hit, however, we are treated to the masterpiece of " Jokerman. "

10. Desire from 1976
Rubin Carter's arrest inspired its opening track, "Hurricane," which later inspired a motion picture. Better than that, however, are tunes such as " Isis, " "One More Cup of Coffee" and "Mozambique."


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