Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan

A song list to celebrate the music poet’s 80th birthday

Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday kind of sneaked up on me. While as I have noted before my sentiments are mixed about his music, there is no doubt Robert Zimmerman is one of the most significant artists of our time. I feel Dylan’s life has been extensively covered, so instead of putting together yet another biographical write-up, I’d like to celebrate the music poet’s birthday with a list of songs I dig.

It’s hard to believe Dylan has had a close to 60-year recording career. That’s just mind-boggling! I’m generally more drawn to his early work. I will also admit I’m much less familiar with his post mid-’70s catalog. This playlist starts with the first Dylan song I ever heard many moons ago: Blowin’ in the Wind. I still think it’s great. The post wraps up with a tune from his last album Rough and Rowdy Ways, a true late career gem that really surprised me!

Blowin’ in the WindThe Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (May 1963)

The Times They Are a-Changin’The Times They Are a-Changin’ (January 1964)

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue Bringing It All Back Home (March 1965)

Like a Rolling StoneHighway 61 Revisited (August 1965)

Just Like a WomanBlonde on Blonde (June 1966)

Lay Lady LayNashville Skyline (April 1969)

Knockin’ on Heaven’s DoorPat Garrett & Billy the Kid (July 1973)

Tangled Up in BlueBlood on the Tracks (January 1975)

HurricaneDesire (January 1976)

Goodbye Jimmy ReedRough and Rowdy Ways (June 2020)

Sources: Wikipedia; YouTube

25 thoughts on “Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan”

  1. It’s another rainy day in Vienna. Today I spent little time listening to my (only) three CDs of Bob Dylan.

    “The Freewheelin'” is my favorite. I think “Blowin’ in the wind” was also my first Bob-Dylan-song I ever heard or was it “The times they are a-changin”? It’s been a long time…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ironically, Dylan was one of my biggest concert disappointments when I saw him in the late ’80s. After opening his set with “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”, he only played songs I had never heard before. Luckily, Roger McGuinn and Tom Petty who were also on the bill saved the night.

      Perhaps naively, I had make the mistake to “prepare” for Dylan’s gig by listening to his 1974 “Before the Flood” live album over and over again and expecting the show would essentially mirror it. Big mistake!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I never saw His Bobness live and I wouldn’t do it because I don’t have enough knowledge about him.
        I also remember read a post in the German Springsteen forum years ago in which a member wrote that Bob left the stage only after 35 minutes.
        And meanwhile it’s very very very expensive to afford a concert of him.

        I can feel the situation of preparing a concert. I did it with Dave Matthews Band and I ended up with songs which are not on the four or five albums I had. Luckily the tix was affordable and it was a nice concert.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. While I honestly don’t remember how much I paid back then, it must have been fairly affordable. I was a university student at the time on a limited budget.

        When I shared my experience with my dear music buddy from Germany who also is a huge Dylan fan and has seen him multiple times, he smiled and said, ‘that’s typical Bob.’ I was like, ‘gee, I wish I had known that in advance!’

        On the other hand, Roger McGuinn and Tom Petty were great, so I’m still glad I went to see that show.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I heard “Lay Lady Lay” in the school bus for the very first time when I was 14, and I instantly loved it 🥰 I hardly remember song firsts, but I remember that one!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So Zimmy finally hit the big 8-0. Good for him. Very tough to pick favorites, but my top 5 are probably: 1) Hazel, 2) Tangled up in Blue, 3) Isis, 4) Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat, and 5) Masters of War

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t it unreal? And the fact he’s released records for close to 60 years? That’s more than twice the time Jim Morrison lived!

      My knowledge of Dylan’s music clearly is spotty, as evidenced by the fact that based on titles, I only recognize “Tangled Up in Blue” from you picks. BTW, that’s one of my favorites! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The lyrics of Isis are mesmerizing and the violin seals the deal for me. I wanted to have one directly political song in my list, and Masters of War is pretty unequivocally political.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. My ten favourites are:

        Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
        Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
        Tangled Up In Blue
        Love Minus Zero/No Limit
        Subterranean Homesick Blues
        Like A Rolling Stone
        Visions of Johanna
        Isis
        Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?
        Shelter From The Storm

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I didn’t realize it was Dylan’s 80th till today and I posted something about it for my (otherwise good people but musically indifferent) Facebook friends. . Good tribute here. I may do a belated one. Not sure exactly in what format. A list? An album review or a fresh look back at an older album? I guess I’ll know when I figure it out.

    Liked by 1 person

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