My Top 70 Favorite Bob Dylan Songs

Robert Zimmerman turns 70 today. This could mean a lot or very little to whomever, but it is a mark that does not go unnoticed for Dylan fans and, quite frankly, every talented musician. Part of me wants to write a giant homage to Bob but this has been done. I have spent countless hours writing about him, writing while listening to him, and even issuing reviews of his last five albums. However, it is a blast to try and make a list of one’s favorite songs. It is also strange to make a list of 70 and still say “damn, there are a lot more that need to squeeze into this.” In making this list I didn’t place any sort of statistical importance on what songs I chose, I simply listed them for how much they’ve had an influence on me, how much I return to them. Just like his catalog of phenomenal albums–some days one is your favorite and another day one from ten years later is your favorite–these songs oscillate from endless play to dusty repose. After compiling the list the top three albums that I chose from (though perhaps not my favorites as a whole) Were Blonde on Blonde, Bringing it All Back Home, and John Wesley Harding. Let’s get some conversations started.

1)      Love Minus Zero/No Limit, Bringing it All Back Home

2)      Blood in My Eyes, World Gone Wrong

3)      She Belongs to Me, Bringing it All Back Home

4)      Don’t Think Twice it’s All Right, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

5)      4th Time Around, Blonde on Blonde

6)      Visions of Johanna, Blonde on Blonde

7)      Most of the Time, Oh Mercy

8)      New Morning, New Morning

9)      Idiot Wind, Blood on the tracks

10)   Moonshiner, Bootlegs Vol.1-3

11)   It’s alright Ma I’m Only Bleeding, Bringing it All Back Home

12)   It’s All Over Now Baby Blue, Bringing it All Back Home

13)   When the Ship Comes In, The Times They are a Changin’

14)   Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, Highway 61 Revisited

15)   John Wesley Harding, John Wesley Harding

16)   Love Sick, Time Out of Mind

17)   Baby Let Me Follow You Down, Bob Dylan

18)   Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest, John Wesley Harding

19)   Shelter from the Storm, Blood on the Tracks

20)   If You’ve Gotta Go, Go Now, Bootlegs Vol.1-3

21)   Blowin’ In the Wind, Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

22)   You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go, Blood on the tracks

23)   The Times They are a Changin’, The Times They are a Changin’

24)   Went to See the Gypsy, New Morning

25)   It Takes a Lot to Laugh it Takes a Train to Cry, Highway 61 Revisited

26)   Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat, Blonde on Blonde

27)   Hard Times in New York Town, Bootlegs Vol.1-3

28)   Mama, You Been on my Mind, Bootlegs Vol.1-3

29)   The Man in Me, New Morning

30)   If You See Her, Say Hello, Blood on the Tracks

31)   Man Gave Names to all the Animals, Slow Train Coming

32)   As I Went Out One Morning, John Wesley Harding

33)   All Along the Watchtower, John Wesley Harding

34)   I Want You, Blonde on Blonde

35)   Meet Me in the Morning, Blood on the Tracks

36)   If Not for You, New Morning

37)   A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

38)   Like a Rolling Stone, Highway 61 Revisited

39)   Simple Twist of Fate, Blood on the tracks

40)   Chimes of Freedom, Another Side of Bob Dylan

41)   Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands, Blonde on Blonde

42)   Not Dark yet, Time Out of Mind

43)   I’m Not There, The Basement Tapes

44)   Just Like a Woman, Blonde on Blonde

45)   Stuck Inside of Mobile With Memphis Blues Again, Blonde on Blonde

46)   I and I, Infidels

47)   Subterranean Homesick Blues, Bringing it All Back Home

48)   Most Likely You Go Your Way (And I’ll Go Mine), Blonde on Blonde

49)   Things Have Changed, The Essential Bob Dylan & Wonder Boys soundtrack

50)   Jokerman, Infidels

51)   Forever Young, Planet Waves

52)   Series of Dreams, Bootlegs Vol.1-3

53)   Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid

54)   Ballad of a Thin Man, Highway 61 Revisited

55)   It Ain’t Me Babe, Another Side of Bob Dylan

56)   Masters of War, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan

57)   Tweeter and the Monkey Man, The Traveling Wilburys

58)   Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window, Biograph

59)   Girl from the North Country, Nashville Skyline version with J.Cash

60)   Boots of Spanish Leather, The Times They are a Changin’

61)   Highway 61 Revisited, Highway 61 Revisited

62)   Buckets of Rain, Blood on the tracks

63)   I Dreamed I Saw St.Augustine, John Wesley Harding

64)   Mozambique, Desire

65)   Hurricane, Desire

66)   Shooting Star, Oh Mercy

67)   Tight Connection to My Heart, Empire Burlesque

68)   Where are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat), Street Legal

69)   Mr. Tambourine Man, Bringing it All Back Home

70)   Desolation Row, Highway 61 Revisited


3 thoughts on “My Top 70 Favorite Bob Dylan Songs

  1. Well, I guess I’ll chime in here with my own list (seeing as how no one else seems to have done so, as of yet). So I guess if I was to do a Top 70 List, this is probably more or less what it would look like:

    1. Abandoned Love
    2. Every Grain of Sand
    3. Tangled Up in Blue
    4. Love Minus Zero/No Limit
    5. Changing of the Guard
    6. No Time to Think
    7. I Want You
    8. Caribbean Wind
    9. Just Like A Woman
    10. Like A Rolling Stone
    11. Desolation Row
    12. Mr. Tambourine Man (Bootleg #5, Rolling Thunder Revue version)
    13. She Belongs to Me
    14. Shelter From the Storm (Hard Rain version)
    15. Dark Eyes
    16. Where are You Tonight (Journey Through Dark Heat)
    17. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)
    18. Black Diamond Bay
    19. It’s Alright, Ma (I’m only bleeding)
    20. Things Have Changed
    21. Hurricane
    22. Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again
    23. Tombstone Blues
    24. Absolutely Sweet Marie
    25. Honest With Me
    26. Rollin’ and Tumblin’
    27. Dreaming of You
    28. All Along the Watchtower
    29. Lay, Lady, Lay
    30. Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door
    31. A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall (Concert for Bangladesh version)
    32. Visions of Johanna (Biograph version)
    33. It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
    34. Cold Irons Bound
    35. Mississippi
    36. Up to Me
    37. Jokerman
    38. Neighborhood Bully
    39. It Ain’t Me, Babe (Real Live version)
    40. Idiot Wind
    41. We Better Talk This Over
    42. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts
    43. I and I (Real Live version)
    44. License to Kill (Real Live version)
    45. Simple Twist of Fate
    46. You’re a Big Girl Now
    47. I Don’t Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met)
    48. Love Sick
    49. I Believe in You
    50. Solid Rock
    51. Ain’t Talkin’
    52. Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
    53. Groom’s Still Waiting at the Alter
    54. Spanish Harlem Incident
    55. Girl From the North Country (Real Live version)
    56. Masters of War (Real Live version)
    57. Dignity (either MTV Unplugged or Greatest Hits Volume 3 edition)
    58. Political World
    59. Everything is Broken
    60. Born in Time (Tell Tale Signs version)
    61. Most of the Time (Tell Tale Signs version, just acoustic guitar and harmonica)
    62. Series of Dreams (Greatest Hits Volume 3 edition)
    63. Floater (Too Much to Ask)
    64. High Water (for Charley Patton)
    65. Tight Connection to My Heart
    66. When the Night Comes Falling From the Sky
    67. Fourth Time Around
    68. Only a Pawn in Their Game
    69. Heart of Mine (Biograph version)
    70. Subterranean Homesick Blues

    • Great list Louis! It’s wonderful to see other lists as it always makes me know that I missed a few. Not to mention that it’d be much easier to make a list of 100 and feel better, but then it would just continue on and on. Also important to reference the versions, as you do, as they vary so much. Cheers, Tyler

      • Yes, I agree with you that each time you increase the amount just a little more (like you said 100), then the next time after that would be more, and then more again, and on and on. With someone like Dylan, it is almost impossible to exhaust all of his musical works. Just do the best we can, is all. Another thing to consider is, I suppose at different times (when I am in different moods, etc), some of his song tracks will take on more significance than others. So, I am sure that the list is subject to changing once in a while. I don’t see anything wrong with this. The numbers might not necessarily be EXACT, but many of them are just guidelines to show approximately where I might rank a particular song of his.

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