Rolling Stone Magazine loves Bob Dylan… and so do I.

As of quite recently, Rolling Stone Magazine came out with another typical “list” magazine.

And I purchased it.

Well, to be more specific, I was wandering the Cancun airport as my wife and I were preparing to head back to Vancouver and knowing that we were going to be sitting on a jet for almost 6 hours, I knew I had to purchase some reading material.  Something inside me told me that it wasn’t worth taking the chance on the in-flight movies to keep me entertained the whole flight home, (that voice inside was right, as Eat Pray Love and Big Momma’s House were the movies of choice) so as I scanned the magazines in the airport, the latest Rolling Stone Mag with a picture of Bob Dylan circa mid-1960s caught my eye: “The 70 Greatest Dylan Songs”.

Turns out that Robert Zimmerman, aka. Bob Dylan, turns 70 this year so Rolling Stone paid him tribute by doing the impossible and breaking down his discography into a list of his 70 best songs.  I agreed with the list for the most part, but what was more interesting to me were the write-ups done for each song selected, and a handful by artists such as Bono, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Lenny Kravitz, etc.

Of course, Like a Rolling Stone held the #1 spot, as it did in RS mag’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. And there were only a few omissions I was a little surprised didn’t make the cut, but overall, a solid list. 

So once again, I shall compare my Top 10 with Rolling Stone Magazine‘s Top 10 and see who agrees! (I know you are all very excited about this, ha!). [You can click the link link above to see RS Mag’s Top 10]

DYLAN’S (me) TOP 10:

10. From A Buick 6 — Perhaps a relatively unknown tune, this track has an underrated groove; one of Bob’s best, in my opinion and it blows me away how he can disguise a 12-bar blues progression with such a groove.

9. Tweeter & the Monkey Man — Yes, this was never on a Dylan solo album, but is found in the Traveling Wilburys discography and written by Bob; not to mention that the vocals were recorded in one single take.

8. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat —It’s been covered by Beck, among others. Yes, it’s an odd title, but it’s the first Bob Dylan song I ever tried to cover as the blues guitar and silly lyrics were too much to resist.  An a-typical “Bob Dylan apathetic vocal moan and groan” on this one.

7. All Along the Watchtower — Sort of self-explanatory… My former guitar teacher hooked me on the Hendrix cover, and then I discovered that it was a Bob Dylan tune.  Dylan’s version has the wailing guitar solos traded in for apocalyptic harmonicas and gypsy winds.

6. Buckets of Rain — Hmm.  Yes, that’s right, I covered this one, too.  Why?  The simple, yet flawless finger picking in open E major tuning caught my ear, the bass line tickled my fancy and the lyrics put an imprint on my soul.  That’s why.

5. Love Minus Zero/No Limit — I adore Bob, but have never been a huge fan of his ballads [ie. Just Like A Woman, Forever Young, Make You Feel My Love].  This song (if you consider it a ballad) is by far my favourite love-y, dove-y ballad.  Lyrically, it really isn’t much of a ballad and more of a rhyming word puzzle, but it’s still beautiful in every way.

4. Positively 4th Street — I purchased my first Bob Dylan album in 2008 with his greatest hits release, simply titled Dylan when I was in Brandon, Manitoba at a Starbucks.  This song was the first to really catch my ear and mesmerize me.  I then listened to it around midnight after a night of drinking with friends and family and quickly dubbed Bob Dylan as “the best music to listen to when inebriated.” 

3. The Times They Are a-Changing — Hard to believe that Bob was in his early 20’s when he wrote this masterpiece. It comes from a soul that’s much older and wiser.  It possesses a melody that has stood the test of time. Legendary, really.

2. Like a Rolling Stone — So maybe my Top 10 isn’t completely different from RS Mag’s, but how can you put this tune anywhere else on a list?  The first time I heard this song was in the mid-90’s when The Rolling Stones had covered it for a tribute album of sorts and I always dug it. Then I heard the Dylan version and, well, the rest is history.

1. Tangled Up in Blue — Dylan’s been quoted as saying that “this song took 10 years to live and 2 years to write”.  Tangled Up in Blue is a tale of many things, but it’s central theme is relationship and next to political messages, this was Bob’s bread and butter.  Also, this gem is one of his least vocally offensive.

There you have it, my 10 favourite/highest-rated Bob Dylan tunes.  If you’re at all like I was, you wrote Dylan off based on pre-conceived notions and minimal listens, and haven’t really given his music a fair chance.  I ask you to give some of these tunes a chance, and discover what I took too long to discover.  I used to say that Bob Dylan was heard best through the artists that cover his music, but after getting into his discography, I have discovered otherwise.  His songs are timeless and there will never be another Bob.


~ by DR on June 11, 2011.

One Response to “Rolling Stone Magazine loves Bob Dylan… and so do I.”

  1. dylans best is ….adieu angelina recorded in 1967 by nana mouskouri…nuff said

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