I did it. It’s wasn’t easy to stick with, but I did it. I listening to a selection of twelve albums and fifty songs from the vast catalogue of living legend Bob Dylan. I wouldn’t say I am now a super fan, but I certainly have a greater appreciation for his longevity and tremendous output of creativity. If you missed my original post setting this up go here: My 60 Day Summer With the Music of Bob Dylan Otherwise, on to the results!

Of the twelve albums I came out with a solid Top 5. One initially disappointed me, but I’m going to stick with it because of its universal acclaim. I’ll likely purchase all of the Top 5, two of them on vinyl if I can get my hands on them. Here’s the select albums I gave a few spins to each…Top 5 below it.

Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)

Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Bringing it All Back Home (1965)

Blonde On Blonde (1966)

Nashville Skyline (1969)

Blood On The Tracks (1975)

Slow Train Coming (1979)

Saved (1980)

Time Out Of Mind (1997)

Modern Times (2006)

Tempest (2012)

Rough and Rowdy Ways (2020)

My Top 5 after 60 days…

1. Blood on the Tracks (1975)

5 Stars

2. Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)

4.5 Stars

3. Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

4 Stars

4. Bringing it all Back Home (1965)

4 Stars

5. Blonde on Blonde (1966)

4 Stars (for now)

Some observations/comments:

  • I prefer early Dylan most. Although the Top 20 song list will include selections from most of the albums, I like his early acoustic guitar folk albums.
  • He could have used some editing of his work to cut down on the superfluous length of a lot of his work. Six, seven, and eight-minute track times should be reserved for the occasional tune in my opinion. Too much of a good thing when the music doesn’t change much.
  • He’s a tremendous lyricist. (No duh, Sherlock)
  • His vocals are hard to latch onto for his extended periods. I’ve grown accustomed to it for the most part but I’m never likely to enjoy it or go with back-to-back album listens of his work. Less is more all across the board for him.
  • I had my hands on a vinyl copy of Blood on the Tracks at a record shop but they hadn’t processed it into stock yet so they wouldn’t sell it to me. Rats! I’m keeping my eyes peeled though, if I only own one Bob Dylan on vinyl aside from his greatest hits it going to be Blood on the Tracks no matter what Jack Black’s High Fidelity character thinks of me.
  • I snapped up a used copy of his Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan on cd for 5.99 the same day as the near vinyl miss, so it mitigated my disappointment.
  • I didn’t care for his “Christian” trilogy. Like at all. 🤷‍♂️ I left it largely underwhelmed aside from the two songs I had heard from other artists covering them. (When He Returns and Gotta Serve Somebody)
  • Not connecting with Blonde on Blonde was my biggest disappointment overall. But I’m not giving up…I’m close.
  • All in all, I’m glad I did this but that’s a lot to try to take in and give a fair shake to so I may have to shorten the time from 30 days and pick a smaller discography if I do this again.

My Top 20 Favorite Songs in No Particular Order

“Lay Lady Lay” – Nashville Skyline (1969)

“Blowin in the Wind” – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)

“Like a Rolling Stone” – Highway 61 Revisited (1975)

“Ballad of a Thin Man” – Highway 61 Revisited (1975)

“Mr. Tamborine Man” – Bringing it All Back Home (1965)

“Subterranean Homesick Blues” – The Times They Are a’changin (1965)

“The Times They Are A’Changin” – The Times They Are A’Changin (1964)

“It Ain’t Me Babe” – Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964)

“Make You Feel My Love” – Time Out of Mind (1997)

“Knocking on Heavens Door” – Pat Garret & Billy The Kid (1973)

“Gotta Serve Somebody” – Slow Train Coming (1979)

“When He Returns” – Slow Train Coming (1979)

“Girl from North Country” – The Freewheelin Bob Dylan (1963)

“Tangled Up in Blue” – Blood on the Tracks (1975)

“Simple Twist of Fate” – Blood on the Tracks (1975)

“Shelter From the Storm” – Blood on the Tracks (1975)

“Lovesick” – Time Out of Mind (1997)

“Standing in the Doorway” – Time Out of Mind (1997)

“When the Deal Goes Down” – Modern Times (2006)

“Nettie Moore” – Modern Times (2006)

A playlist if you want to listen along: Top 20 Essential Bob Dylan

That’s it! Happy listening! – Josh