In two weeks time, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century will celebrate a major milestone. On his 70th birthday, Bob Dylan will have already outlived many of his contemporaries (Jerry Garcia, George Harrison), but the man continues to produce amazing work that truly illustrates his influence on generations. The father of modern rock, pop and folk will soon step into his 7th decade of life on May 24th, and what better way to honor him than to share our favorite Dylan records. These are the ones that if you don’t own, you should. Is there really any better way than to celebrate? Sure, we could get bombed. This was just more fun.
5. Bob Dylan – Modern Times (2006)
Let’s look back at what I had to say about this album when it took the number one spot on our Top Albums of 2006 poll:
“Modern Times is surprisingly beautiful, incredibly simple. The real question: how is it that a man who should be 30 years past his songwriting prime is writing music that is hands down better than anything else (in 2006)? Sure, Arctic Monkeys were brash and bold. TV on the Radio slapped mainstream audiences in the mouth and tried to impact rock stations across the country, but no one holds the nation in their palm like Bob Dylan. A masterpiece.”
Standout tracks: “Someday Baby,” “When The Levee Breaks,” “Things Have Changed”
4. Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
Prior to this effort, Dylan had dabbled with rock-infused music, but it was on his 6th studio album, Highway 61 Revisited, that can be considered his first “rock” album.
Standout tracks: “Desolation Row,” “Like A Rolling Stone”
3. Bob Dylan – Blonde on Blonde (1966)
Highway 61 showed Dylan could finally cross over with his folk-rock, Blonde on Blonde was Dylan’s breakout rock album. This masterpiece was the one where he married his poetic lyrics with the rock sound he’d created.
Standout tracks: “Just Like a Woman” and “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”
2. Bob Dylan – Time Out of Mind (1997)
Dylan’s 41st(!) album saw Bob Dylan teaming up with the great producer and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Lanois. With the release of Time Out of Mind, Dylan once again rejuvenated the roots/blues rock that he created and once again illustrated his influence on the greatest lyricist of the 20th century.
Standout tracks: “Standing in the Doorway,” “Make You Feel My Love”
1. Bob Dylan – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
With his second album, Dylan grabbed the hearts and minds of the youth movement in America at the most tumultuous of political times. The album made him more than a younger version of Woody Guthrie (as so many criticized him for being at the time), allowing his words and rhythms to shine through for the brilliance that they were.
Standout tracks: “Blowin’ In The Wind,” “Masters of War”
Did we miss something? Have a favorite track? Let’s hear it! Remember to follow Radio Exile on Twitter