Changing of the Guards

Jonathan Cott asked Dylan the following question about songs on his recent release Street-Legal during a November 16, 1978 Rolling Stone interview: “As in a dream, lines from one song seem to connect with lines from another. For example: ‘I couldn’t tell her what my private thoughts were / But she had some way ofContinue reading “Changing of the Guards”

Can’t Wait

1997’s Time Out of Mind is an album of push and pull between Dylan and the album’s producer, Daniel Lanois. Lanois is an illustrious producer who has worked with a roster of who’s who in recorded music: Brian Eno, Peter Gabriel, U2, Emmylou Harris, the Neville Brothers, and on and on. Lanois produced Dylan’s OhContinue reading “Can’t Wait”

Brownsville Girl

When I first started listening to Dylan, the received wisdom was to ignore his mid-80s music and to focus on the major works in the 60s and 70s. The consensus was that by the mid-80s, he had lost his fastball. Albums such as Empire Burlesque, Knocked Out Loaded, Down in the Groove – the periodContinue reading “Brownsville Girl”

Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door

Unlike “Billy 4” which was written before the movie Pat Garret & Billy the Kid went into production, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” was inspired by the movie itself.  The song plays during the death scene of the sheriff who dies in a shootout alongside his wife. The sheriff is played by cowboy movie character actorContinue reading “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door”

Billy 4

Released in 1973, Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid was a Western directed by Sam Peckinpaugh. Dylan’s involvement in the film apparently started when he ran into novelist and screenwriter Rudy Wurlitzer, who told Dylan that he was writing a screenplay about the relationship between Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett. Hearing about the projectContinue reading “Billy 4”

Blind Willie McTell

There’s a running joke for those of us who regularly listen to WTF with Marc Maron Podcast. Maron talks for an hour twice a week with comedians, actors, and musicians. The joke is the understanding that when he talks with a musician, eventually, Maron will talk about how music always comes back to the blues,Continue reading “Blind Willie McTell”

Ballad of a Thin Man

“Who is Mr. Jones?” Nora Ephron and Susan Edmiston asked Dylan in an August 1965 interview. Dylan responds: “He’s a real person. You know him, but not by that name….He’s actually a person. Like I saw him come into the room one night and he looked like a camel. He proceeded to put his eyesContinue reading “Ballad of a Thin Man”

Angelina

ConcertinaHyenaSubpoenaArgentinaArena When I was first getting into Bob Dylan, I laughed about this song with my old friend and Dylan running mate Mike Vago (author of the Wiki Wormhole column and host of the podcast Why Is This Not a Movie?). Namely how this song seemed like a dare: “Hey Bob, write a song withContinue reading “Angelina”

Ain’t Talkin’

“Ain’t Talkin’” is a supreme work, the last song in the sequence of Modern Times. Released in 2006, it is one of a few songs on our list released in the 21st century and the most recent one in Dylan’s catalog that we will be considering. Modern Times is a mixed bag of a record,Continue reading “Ain’t Talkin’”

Abandoned Love

Officially released nearly 10 years after the studio recording, this song of doomed love marks a transition between Blood on the Tracks, released in January 1975, and Desire, which came out exactly a year later in January 1976. “Abandoned Love” demonstrates traits from both projects. The only known performance of the song was July 3,Continue reading “Abandoned Love”