Bob Dylan’s Best Albums
Compiled by Madeline Cramer
“I hold a beast, an angel, and a madman in me,” said Dylan Thomas (the poet who inspired Robert Allen Zimmerman to legally change his last name at 19), and perhaps Bob Dylan’s poetry and music has achieved its legendary, timeless status by encompassing those three parts of the human experience so well.
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The Gospel according to Bob Dylan
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(Albums arranged in the order they were released… )
Blonde on Blonde
Blonde on Blonde completed what many critics view as the “trilogy” that began with Bringing it All Back Home. Each of the three albums took revolutionary leaps both in Bob Dylan’s evolution as an artist (from folk to rock to blues) and also for the depth and distinctiveness of his somehow simultaneously poignant, humorous, wise, and cynical lyrical poetry. Blonde on Blonde hits upon both his humor with “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” and “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and his emotional depth with “Visions of Johanna” and “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands” (the first verse and refrain below):
With your mercury mouth in the missionary times,
And your eyes like smoke and your prayers like rhymes,
And your silver cross, and your voice like chimes,
Oh, who do they think could bury you?
With your pockets well protected at last,
And your streetcar visions which you place on the grass,
And your flesh like silk, and your face like glass,
Who could they get to carry you?
Sad-eyed lady of the lowlands,
Where the sad-eyed prophet says that no man comes,
My warehouse eyes, my Arabian drums,
Should I put them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?
Listen to the whole song here: