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The Worlds Best Songwriter

In my opinion, Bob Dylan is the greatest songwriter/lyricist of modern times. The following are my picks for his best top ten songs of all times – not including songs from his newest album,  Rough and Rowdy Ways. 

I know. Many people will disagree but as I said, these are my personal choices. Dylan wrote so many songs and provided many song ideas to other performers, the Byrds for example, that I think every Dylan fan on the planet will have his or her own top ten. And everyone will be correct. It all boils down to personal choice. 

By the way, this list is in no particular order of importance. Any one of these tracks could be number one. 

Times They Are A-Changing:   This song has never gone out of vogue. It is as relevant today as it was when first released back in 1964.

Girl From the Red River Shore:  A great love song, sung in one of the many ever-changing voices of Bob Dylan. A very nice cover of this unique song is done by Jimmy Lafave

Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts:  I always thought a movie could be made from this song. The story is compelling and one just has to sit back, eyes closed, and let the words work on your imagination.

Thunder on the Mountain: I am always amazed at how Dylan can create such musical treats from a few basic chords and write lyrics like this.

I was thinkin’ ’bout Alicia Keys, couldn’t keep from crying 

When she was born in Hell’s Kitchen, I was living down the line

I’m wondering where in the world Alicia Keys could be 

I been looking for her even clear through Tennessee

To Ramona:  Dylan has a thing about women’s names. I fell in love with this song the first time I heard it back in 1964 and though Dylan has never sung To Ramona the same way twice, every variation is unique and colorful. A beautiful cover of this song is by the Irish singer Sinead Lohan. A wild bootleg video can be seen at this YouTube link. 

Visions of Johanna: Another song to women or a woman. A great bootleg version of this song can be seen on YouTube that also provides a sample of Dylan’s great and unique guitar skills. 

Billy:  Dylan’s music crosses all lines and genres. This is one of his best western songs and is beautifully covered by the great Gillian Welch and David Rawlings.   

Romance in Durango:  One of Dylan’s “Mexican” songs and again a woman is involved. This time the song centres on Magdalena and again, it is a song that just conjures up a movie in your head.

Forever Young:  This song takes away any doubt that Dylan did not deserve the Nobel Prize.  There is nothing I can say about Forever Young that has not been said many times before. Magic.

Subterranean Homesick Blues:  Who else but Dylan could write a song like this. The lyrics are timeless, enduring, fun and at times make a lot of sense. This song is somewhere in my top ten. It is also one of the shorter tracks that Dylan wrote. 

If you haven’t seen it, check out one of the few movies Dylan stared in called Pat Garret and Billy the Kid. Dylan wrote the theme music and there is a wonderful acoustic version at this YouTube link. 

If you have any comments, disagreements, or additional information on this post, please contact me either through Pippies, or through my website.

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Image Post Credit: Weston MacKinnon, Unsplash

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Written by Michael Trigg

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