Bob Dylan, the greatest songwriter of all time.
I said it.
I’ve got an actual migraine after spending an evening mulling over other suitors. Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, as well as many others, all took part in a bloody battle hosted in my mind. Dylan however came out victorious, blood dripping from the harmonica he wields.
For me, (let’s just emphasise that point, this is in my pointless, irrelevant, opinion) Bob Dylan just has an edge, particularly more evident in his earlier work. The simple, infectious acoustic guitar, the harmonica, and the cherry on top being the snarl of one of the most recognisable voices in the world.
Dylan was influenced by the godfather of folk, Woody Gutherie, and the topical tracks of Pete Seeger. His words ranged from metaphors of sheer beauty, to lines of all out protest, in a turbulent 1960’s America. He was a mouthpiece not just only for folk, but also war, peace, and freedom.
So, my top 5.
5) Subterranean Homesick Blues
This was a big song for Bob, as it indicated a potential new musical direction. It was a step away from the solo acoustic folk sound that had brought him such critical acclaim. Dylan attempts to connect with younger generations, and paints a picture of a battle between dogma and individualism.
It’s fun, catchy, and sends a message. The epitome of Bob Dylan.
“Twenty years of schoolin’ and they put you on the day shift”
4) Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright
Bob Dylan’s heartbreaking lullaby. It depicts the tale of a guy packing up and leaving, expressing soft resentment at the failures in his relationship.
“Goodbye’s too good a word, babe, so I’ll just say fare thee well”
Bob Dylan at his folky, heartbreaking best. Adele eat your heart out.
3) Blowin’ In The Wind
Dylan’s “Hey Jude”. Arguably his most recognisable work. His “piece de resistance”, if you will.
A song filled with rhetorical questions surrounding peace, war and freedom. In an America divided by the controversial Vietnam war, Dylan offers his thoughts on its validity.
His lyrics provoke thoughts of mortality and also morality.
Fuck knows why it was the soundtrack to the Co-op’s advert campaign a few years back like.
2) Mr Tambourine Man
One of Bob’s more widely covered pieces of work, most notably by The Carpenters. The meaning of this abstract folk tale is still heavily debated to this day. Drugs? Is the Tambourine man a personification of inspiration? The interpretations are endless.
If his poetic capabilities were ever in question prior to this tune, then the question marks were surely banished following this.
“Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow”
A track that takes you somewhere far away, somewhere beautiful, but far.
1) The Times They Are-A Changing
The ultimate protest song. The embodiment of Bob Dylan. It encapsulated the feelings of a despondent youth, with an anti-establishment mindset. Many of the lyrics are indirectly related to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s.
The sentiment of the song could arguably be applied today, with such political disparity in the world.
“The order is rapidly fading, and the first one now will later be last.
Oh the times, they are a-changing”