mission: impossible.

so it all began the day before my big move to la. my dad called me with one seemingly simple request: make a cd of your favorite dylan. i had about 30 minutes to finish packing, get dressed for my last sf hoorah, and complete this daunting task. so i haphazardly threw 15 tracks onto a playlist and was on my way. the following day, in our bright yellow penske truck, we popped in the cd…

spanish harlem incident…
i want you…
buckets of rain…

father: ‘so these are your favorite dylan songs?’
me: ‘favorite? no. but some of the goodies, yes. i don’t know if i could pick my favorites.’

and with that, our mission was born: choose the top ten. to the average joe, this is a ridiculous task but let me clarify–my father is what you may call a “dylan-ist” and so, being his spawn, i guess you can say i’m pretty obsessed as well. so when you have a musician as talented as mr. zimmerman, with a catalogue as large, it’s nearly impossible to narrow it down to a measly ten. but after 8hours of conversation&contemplation with his ballads blaring in the background, we both had a pretty good idea. and two weeks later, we’ve both come to our conclusions. so without any further ado, let me present to you: the ten.

my ten:
(in listening order–coming up with 10 favorites was hard enough, it would be absurd to pick an actual favorite)

visions of johanna.
blonde on blonde, 1966.
ain’t it just like the night to play tricks when you’re tryin’ to be so quiet?
we sit here stranded, though we’re all doin’ our best to deny it.

tangled up in blue.
blood on the tracks, 1975.
but all the while I was alone.
the past was close behind.
i seen a lot of women.
but she never escaped my mind.

something there is about you.
planet waves, 1974.
something there is about you that strikes a match in me
is it the way your body moves or is it the way your hair blows free?
or is it because you remind me of something that used to be?

desire, 1976.
lying next to her by the ocean,
reaching out and touching her hand.
whispering your secret emotion.
magic in a magical land.

idiot wind.
blood on the tracks, 1975.
now everything’s a little upside down, as a matter of fact the wheels have stopped.
what’s good is bad, what’s bad is good,
you’ll find out when you reach the top–you’re on the bottom.

queen jane approximately.
highway 61 revisited, 1965.
now when all of the flower ladies want back what they have lent you,
and the smell of their roses does not remain,
and all of your children start to resent you,
won’t you come see me, queen jane?

went to see the gypsy.
new morning, 1970.
a pretty dancing girl was there and she began to shout:
“go on back to see the gypsy.
he can move you from the rear–drive you from your fear
bring you through the mirror–he did it in las vegas and he can do it here”

buckets of rain.
blood on the tracks, 1975.
i seen pretty people disappear like smoke.
friends will arrive, friends will disappear.
if you want me, honey baby, i’ll be here.

on a night like this.
planet waves, 1974.
on a night like this–so glad you’ve come to stay.
hold on to me, pretty miss.
say you’ll never go away to stray.
run your fingers down my spine–bring me a touch of bliss.
it sure feels right–on a night like this.

i don’t believe you ( she acts like we have never met).
another side of bob dylan, 1964.
it’s all new t’ me, like some mystery,
it could even be like a myth,
yet it’s hard t’ think on that she’s the same one that last night I was with.
from darkness, dreams’re deserted–am I still dreamin’ yet?
i wish she’d unlock her voice once an’ talk.
’stead of acting like we never have met.


and my father’s:

new morning.
new morning, 1970.

tangled up in blue.
blood on the tracks, 1975.

just like tom thumb’s blues.
highway 61 revisited, 1965.

love minus zero/no limit.
bringing it all back home, 1965.

it’s all over now, baby blue.
bringing it all back home, 1965.

a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.
a freewheelin’ bob dylan, 1963.

desolation row.
highway 61 revisited, 1965.

visions of johanna.
blonde on blonde, 1966.

she’s your lover now.
the bootleg series.

forever young.
planet waves, 1974.

and so it is settled. now onto the top 25…




6 thoughts on “mission: impossible.

  1. super hard. but ten in no particular order:

    love minus zero – no limit (bringing it all back home)

    oh sister (desire)

    sara (desire)

    you’re gonna make me lonesome when you go (blood on the tracks)

    if you see her, say hello (blood on the tracks)

    dark eyes (empire burlesque)

    tonight i’ll be staying here with you (nashville skyline)

    hazel (planet waves)

    not dark yet (time out of mind)

    goin’ to acapulco (the basement tapes)

  2. in an order:

    my back pages // another side of bob dylan

    i want you // blonde on blonde

    you’re a big girl now // blood on the tracks

    one more cup of coffee // desire

    abandoned love // biograph, but bootleg version from ‘live at the bitter end’ is the best guy

    death of emmett till // the freewheelin’ bob dylan outtakes

    i dreamed i saw st. augustine // john wesley harding

    went to see the gypsy // new morning

    going, going, gone // planet waves

    boots of spanish leather // the times they are a-changin’

  3. In compiling a list of my favorite Bob Dylan songs, it becomes clearer to me that there’s more to Bob than just his status as brilliant lyricist. I mean, you can’t say that a melodramatic song like Romance In Durango is among his best lyrics, but his performance of it is incredibly passionate. Likewise, Solid Rock is a forgettable song, but, damn, what a groove. Anyhoo, here’s my Top Ten.

    The Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
    A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
    My Back Pages
    Romance In Durango
    Subterranean Homesick Blues
    Solid Rock
    It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
    It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
    Tears Of Rage

  4. In order.

    Tangled up and blue

    Boots of Spanish Leather

    Don’t think twice, its all right

    Lay lady lay

    It ain’t me babe

    Shelter from the Storm

    Its all over now baby blue

    Just like a woman

    Ballad of a thin man

    Maggie’s Farm

    Love you.

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