Like a Rolling Stone (List) May 17, 2011Posted by Matt in top ten.
Tags: All Along the Watchtower, best songs, Bob Dylan, Don't Think Twice It's Alright, Forever Young, Highway 61 Revisited, I Shall Be Released, Mississippi, Rolling Stone, Subterranean Homesick Blues, Tangled Up in Blue, top 10, Trying to Get to Heaven, With God On Our Side
We live in a time often described in the easily digestible, yet hotly debated, terms of lists and I admit that oftentimes I am quick to read the latest list devised by so-called experts, while devising my own competing list. The latest list to capture my attention comes from new issue of Rolling Stone magazine and it is one that will no-doubt be highly divisive and will start numerous online conversations such as the one I’m engaging in right this minute.
So, what is this latest controversial list? In honor of Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday, the magazine has compiled the 70 greatest Dylan songs from his 50 year recording career. I could not find the complete list online, but here are the top 10 songs, according to the panel of experts:
10. Every Grain of Sand (Shot of Love, 1981)
9. Visions of Johanna (Blonde on Blonde, 1966)
8. Mr. Tambourine Man (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)
7. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)
6. I Shall Be Released (Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, 1971)
5. All Along the Watchtower (John Wesley Harding, 1967)
4. Just Like a Woman (Blonde on Blonde, 1966)
3. Tangled Up In Blue (Blood on the Tracks, 1975)
2. A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1963)
1. Like a Rolling Stone (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)
So, I thought it through for a few minutes and came up with this list of my ten favorite Dylan songs:
10. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Bringing It All Back Home, 1965)
Why? Well, because the song rocks. It also doesn’t hurt that some people look at it as a precursor for modern rap music. The first lines, “Johnny’s in the basement mixing up the medicine / I’m on the pavement thinking ‘bout the government,” set up this fast-talking tune and it never lets up.
9. Mississippi (Love and Theft, 2001)
A beautiful, rambling love song that to my mind ranks among his best and I must admit that there have been so many times that his refrain of having “stayed in Mississippi way too long,” hits home.
8. Highway 61 Revisited (Highway 61 Revisited, 1965)
What can I say, I love the imagery of God and Abraham on this famous Mississippi Delta road.
7. Trying to Get to Heaven (Time Out of Mind, 1997)
I think oftentimes that Time Out of Mind is overlooked as the later career masterpiece that it is, but certainly it deserves a spot among his better works. When he croaks out, “I’m trying to get to heaven / before they close the door,” you can’t help but root for him.
6. All Along the Watchtower (John Wesley Harding, 1967)
Sure, the definitive version of this song is Jimi Hendrix’s, but Dylan’s is not to be overlooked, particularly in his ominous ending, “Two riders were approaching / And the wind begins to howl.”
5. Forever Young (Planet Waves, 1974)
Maybe I’m just getting soft now that I’m a father and well into my 30’s, but this song gets to me every time I hear it.
4. I Shall Be Released (Greatest Hits, Vol. 2, 1971)
This anthem for deliverance is one that will stick with you and it’s one that everyone should hear and know.
3. Tangled Up in Blue (Blood on the Tracks, 1975)
A strange and rambling tale of love and love ending that jumps around in perspectives and time in way that is as beautiful as it is unique.
2. With God on Our Side (The Times They Are A-Changin’, 1964)
One of the most damning statements ever recorded about claiming God’s providence for one’s actions, this should be required listening in the United States.
1. Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, 1963)
This ode to a relationship’s end has been one of my favorite songs ever since I first started listening to Dylan some 15 years ago and it remains one of my favorites today.
What about you? What are your favorite Dylan songs?