Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Forever Young

Excuse the very obvious title, but today is a special post since Bob Dylan turned 65 today (May 24th)! Its about time Bob kicked back and collected some of his hard earned Social Security checks. But he wont do that - he's Bob Dylan. The man who, in my opinion, is the greatest musical artist who ever to lived (yeah I'm talking to you Mozart!).

So to celebrate Bob's b-day I bring you my favorite Dylan albums post 1967. I broke it up this way since they beginning of his career has some of the most influential albums in rock history (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A Changing, Another Side of Bob Dylan, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde) and saying I like "Bringing It All Back Home" is kind of like saying "I like Tom Hanks". Well who doesn't?

Top 5 post 1967 Dylan albums
(release year in parentheses)
Blood on the Tracks
(1975): Quite possibly my favorite album of all-time. Dylan wrote this after a divorce which left him reflecting on what he did right and wrong. At the 11th hour Dylan stopped the release of the album and reworked many of the tracks. What we got is simply the perfect album. Perfect.
Tracks you know: Tangled Up In Blue, Shelter From The Storm

Tracks you should know: She’s a Big Girl Now, Idiot Wind and Simple Twist of Fate

Live 1966 (1998): The best live album ever made. Famously bootlegged for years as the “Royal Albert Hall Concert” the show was actually recorded at the Manchester Free Trade Hall. During this time Bob played the first set solo acoustic. The second set he came out with The Hawks (who later went onto fame as The Band) and played a electrifying rock and roll set that could stand up with any rock band today. You have to realize at this time he was a massive folk singer and icon. For him to plug in and play rock is the equivalent of Rage Against the Machine coming out with a country album. It REALLY pissed people off. This album famously documents when a fan shouted “Judas!” before closing with “Like a Rolling Stone”. Bob declared “I don’t believe you! You’re a liar!” and turned to The Band and said “play if fucking loud”. And they did. And rock and roll was never the same again.

Tracks you know: Mr. Tambourine Man, Just Like a Woman, Like a Rolling Stone

Tracks you should know: Visions of Johanna, 4th Time Around, Ballad of a Thin Man

Live 1975 (2002): Another in the great official “Bootleg Series” albums. This was recorded after Bob had been in seclusion for several years. Suddenly he comes back with a traveling circus on the Rolling Thunder Review tour. They would pop up in one city with little notice, set up show, and several artists would perform. The best part of this album is the reworked versions of songs you think you knew, like “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”. For years to come Dylan would be famous for essentially recreating his older songs using new melodies and in some cases new lyrics. Some fans complain they don’t recognize the classics, others just go along for the ride.

Tracks you know: Knockin on Heaven’s Door, It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

Tracks you should know: reworked versions of Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You, The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll and Blowin’ In The Wind

Time Out Of Mind (1997): Almost 10 years after releasing his last decent album (Oh Mercy in 1989) Bob comes back in a big way. He actually won the Grammy for this for Best Album in 1998 giving the Academy about five second of credibility (for the record Celine Dion won in 1997 – that says it all). Released after Bob almost died of a heart infection it has some of my favorite song on it.

Tracks you know: Til I Fell In Love With You (covered by Garth Brooks and Billy Joel)

Tracks you should know: Not Dark Yet, Standing in the Doorway, Love Sick

Desire (1976): An album that features Isis should make this list all on its own. Better known for its opening track “Hurricane” written about Rueben “Hurricane” Carter, the album features the electric violin. Many of the songs were written with Jacques Levy, marking a rare period of collaboration in Dylan’s career. The closing track, “Sara”, was a peace offering to his ex-wife that inspired Blood On The Tracks. “Sara, Sara, Lovin' you is the one thing I'll never regret.”

Tracks you know: Hurricane

Tracks you should know: Romance In Durango, Isis, Sara

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