Thursday, August 31, 2006

The 11 Best Bob DylanSongs (Part 2 of 3)

No one has had a career like Bob Dylan. The guy has 3 Greatest Hits collections all comprised of different songs (and one of them is a double album!). Some bands are barely lucky enough just to get to release 3 albums in their entire career, let alone build an archive of over 60 hits. So how do you slim down a list of over 500 songs to 11? Very carefully. I have decided to split Dylan's career into 2 phases. All songs prior to "Time Out of Mind" and all song that came after. So without much further ado, here are the 11 best Dylan songs.

1. Hurricane (Desire) - Though Rolling Stone is the universal favorite, it has become dated. On the other hand, Dylan's protest song for boxing great, Hurricane Carter, sounds as fresh and as alive as anything on radio today. It's ability to stay contemperary is the reason it remains as the most purchased Dylan song on itunes. The song sounds like it could be found tucked in on an Kings of Leon or a Drive-By Truckers album. Of course, either of those bands would be doing flip-flops to write a song one-tenth this good.
2. Like A Rolling Stone (Highway 61 Revisted) - After bagging on it, I'll still place it in here at number 2. Despite it's aging, the song is still an epic 6-minute pop masterpiece about...of all things...aging. Who ever thought throwing the bums a dime would be so singable?
3. Tangled Up In Blue (Blood on the Tracks) - When great artists go through gnarly break-ups and divorces that can only mean one thing for music fans...a deluge of brilliant songs. T.U.B. was written when Dylan's divorce was falling apart and instead of feeling sorry for himself, he broke out with one of his most energetic songs to date.
4. Lay Lady Lay (Nashville Skyline) - Dylan's froggy stage may have turned away a few folk fanatics but LLL became (and still is) a radio staple across all genres: country, rock, oldies, smooth hits, hip-hop (okay not the last one).
5. Knockin' On Heaven's Door (Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid) - The audio template to Sam Peckinpah's seldom seen movie is an emotional race car ride down that long dark tunnel to the bright light at the end. The scene in the film where the song is used, is one of the saddest, yet most touching moments in 70s cinema. It's worth the rent for that 2-minute clip.
6. Wedding Song (Planet Waves) MP3 - Dylan's serenade to love is as dark as it is romantic. Even the Masters of War were given a tune with lighter spirits. What's Dylan's saying about love? Everything and nothing. "I love you more than love, you mean that much to me."
7. It's All Over Now, Baby Blue (Bringing It All Back Home) - Best known for it's destruction of Donovan's ego in the film "Don't Look Back." Of course, if any song has the power to destroy another artist's career, it belongs on this list.
8. Don't Think Twice, It's Alright (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan) - One of the most simple Dylan songs has the weight of a freight train. As Dylan's lyrics encompass loss of life and love at the same time, the music provides tongue-in-cheek traveling music. Touching? Absolutely. A tear jerker? Let's just say I dare you to listen to this one when saying good-bye to someone you love.
9. All Along the Watchtower (John Wesley Harding) - When Hendrix covered this song, he transformed it. But to Dylan, what Hendrix did was pre-determined. Dylan always believe it was Hendrix's song and he was the one covering it. It's rare an artist can openly give away something so personal as one of his creations to another artist to own. And it wasn't just talk, since Hendrix's version was released Dylan has gone to perform the song in Hendrix's style and never his own. That's class.
10. Idiot Wind (Blood On The Tracks) - A poem to a stupid woman. Shakespeare did it with flair, don't expect anything less from Dylan on this sarcastic 7-minute epic to the lesser intelligent.
11. Dignity (Greatest Hits Volume 3) - This was the last song Dylan recorded before his rebirth. In a sense, a farewell track to the personna he had donned for the past thirty years. The song is a celebration of his life looking forward to the future with a bright smile. It's dances it lives and it finds Dylan writing some of his freshest lyrics in over a decade.

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