Ranked: Bob Dylan Albums From Worst to Best

The author of a new Dylan biography assesses the canon.

By David Yaffe

Bob Dylan turns seventy today; in celebration, we're ranking his entire studio discography. Assembling the list is journalist and Professor of English at Syracuse David Yaffe, whose latest book, Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown, is just out from Yale.

 

32. Dylan (1973)

Columbia Records threw together this album of schmaltzy outtakes as revenge on Dylan for defecting to Asylum Records. The sole highlight is a goof on Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi."

Listen: "Big Yellow Taxi"

MP3

 

31. Down in the Groove (1988)

The '80s are passing Dylan by. "Silvio," co-written with Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, is a minor standout on this critically reviled album.

Listen: "Silvio"

MP3

 

30. Empire Burlesque (1985)

Producer Arthur Baker should be tried for crimes against music, burying some good songs in appalling '80s synths and drums. "Dark Eyes" is a sublime acoustic exception.

Listen: "Dark Eyes"

MP3

 

29. Knocked Out Loaded (1986)

A mostly disposable collection from Dylan's era of collaborating with Tom Petty. The outlier is "Brownsville Girl," a stunning collaboration with Sam Shepard.

Listen: "Brownsville Girl"

MP3

 

28. Self-Portrait (1970)

Dylan said he made this album to get the hippies off his lawn, which didn't work. High points are tracks from a performance at the Isle of Wight Festival with The Band, and the pirate anthem "Days of '49."

Listen: "Mighty Quinn (Quinn the Eskimo)"

MP3

 

27. Together Through Life (2009)

This record hit number one in 2009, but Dylan was Teflon by this point. Still, "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'" was morbid enough for True Blood, and Mike Campbell's guitar is a marvel.

Listen: "Beyond Here Lies Nothin'"

MP3

 

26. Bob Dylan (1962)

Dylan has said that he regretted his debut shortly after recording it, but "Song to Woody" opened the songwriting genie, and "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down" is worth following.

Listen: "Song to Woody"

MP3

 

25. Under the Red Sky (1990)

This slipshod effort that makes more sense when you learn that Dylan was writing nursery rhymes for his four-year-old daughter. That's George Harrison on the title track.

Listen: "Under the Red Sky"

MP3

 

 

Commentarium (113 Comments)

May 24 11 - 12:33am
Marc

Though I'd place Blood On The Tracks at #1, (and really, Nashville Skyline should be much higher) this is still an awesome list!

May 26 11 - 11:37am
pedro

The top five are right, Street Legal is too low, but not many people think Saved is in the same league as Slow Train Coming. Far too close together. And think of the tracks that aren't on any of these albums. The best dozen off the bootleg tapes and biograph would make the top ten easily.

May 24 11 - 2:15am
....

Regardless of how much of a shitshow this comments section will degrade into in the upcoming hours, I think we can all agree that Dylan was hot shit in his prime

May 27 11 - 10:34am
Shitty McShitson

Shit, yes.

Jul 15 11 - 11:47am
Pity Giver

I pity you Shitty. You'll never understand why, so dont worry too much.

May 24 11 - 3:41am
Frank

Love the "ranked" features...but there's always a couple changes I'd make, like putting Modern Times more on the better side. I'm sure others will weigh in on the rest.

The point I really want to make is about the brilliance of the Byrds' cover of My Back Pages. Seriously, their version is so good it almost made Dylan's painful to listen to.

Jul 15 11 - 7:08am
Joseph Shanks

Little point in arguing these points. It's really all a question of personal taste. Once upon a time I was drawn into these arguments. Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now.

Feb 23 12 - 5:27pm
John D Wilson

Ha what a brilliant reply

May 24 11 - 6:12am
Vinegar Bend

"Nashville Skyline" is pretty close to perfect, but the one thing that keeps it from ranking higher is that the whole thing is just about 25 minutes long.

Jul 15 11 - 1:03pm
david desmond

it's a great record. and I have heard many of the outtakes of the Dylan and Cash sessions then. A whole record could come of that. And Dylan even yoddels on it. Amazing stuff. Don't know where to tell you to find it. but a bootleg series could come from those tapes.

May 24 11 - 8:20am
Greg

Am I the only person in this world who truly enjoys Self Portrait? Granted I enjoy it as a guilty pleasure, but musically this is great...
I'd say the worst album is Empire Burlesque and Nashville Skyline and Modern Times are really great.

May 26 11 - 9:04pm
phil

No you're not the only person that likes Self Portrait . It is a great lp and Greil Mucus is a twat.

Jul 15 11 - 1:05pm
david desmond

the problem with Empire is the production, not the songs. I'll Remember You, Trust Yourself, Dark Eyes and others are great. Dylan needed to fire the producer. Yeah, Greil is a bore. Too dumb to understand at all Self Portrait but considers hisass a know it all. Forget the Dylan scholars. Listen to song by song. From whatever record.

May 24 11 - 8:59am
Mark

Agree with a lot of the list although I love Under The Red Sky and although there are some awful sounds on Empire Burlesque, Tight Connection to My Heart I always enjoy.

May 24 11 - 10:53am
Hermez

No respect for Christmas in the Heart?

Jul 15 11 - 1:06pm
david desmond

Christmas in the Heart is for charity. But it also shows Bob is not that far from all the rest of us. And I enjoy the videos from it. How can you be down on a guy trying to raise money for charity. Mitzveh

May 24 11 - 11:19am
Greg

Knocked Out Loaded is not that bad. It's a fun album from a bad era. I also enjoy Under the Red Sky but I don't know if I would call it a good album...

Bob's the best. Here's to another 70 years and albums...

Jul 15 11 - 1:08pm
david desmond

Under the Red Sky contains Where We Were Born in Time. Right up there with Johnny Mercer. A great song. I have a bootleg live recording of it. Amazing. On all these records that people are trashing there are remarkable songs.

May 24 11 - 11:28am
Yanqui

I won't call it the best, but if I had to pick one album to show young folks that Bob's brilliant, it would be "Blood on the Tracks"

May 24 11 - 1:03pm
Anonymous Doofus

Good list.

I'd put John Wesley Harding much higher (maybe as high as 3) and would also move Highway 61 up higher too (it'd probably be my number 2).

May 24 11 - 2:40pm
Drod

The Times They Are A-Changin' has to be #1, then The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, then Bringin' It All Back Home, no way are Blonde on Blonde or Blood on the Tracks better then any of those, they each have one or two good songs, but the whole album of The Times They Are A-Changin' is so powerful. However, as the dude would say "That just like...your opinion.. man".

May 24 11 - 3:01pm
Lilith

I have to agree with everyone who thinks Blood on the Tracks should be #1 - first and forever in my heart. ;) (Also, a little more respect for Nashville Skyline!)

May 24 11 - 5:34pm
Valerie

His worst album was "Christmas in the Heart" 2009. Unbelievably gross.

Jul 15 11 - 1:10pm
david desmond

No, it was done for charity and not gross. When a man gives to charity he helps elevate the universe. This was a big mitzvah for Bob. don't criticize a man who is giving to charity. This is the whole spirit of torah.

May 24 11 - 6:52pm
Sexy Minx

Lists are useless because it's all about what you and the culture are going through at the time the album comes out. (I guess you young ones haven't figured that out yet.) One thing is interesting though. This whole media hype of "Visions of Johanna" now being considered a "CLASSIC". Back in the day "Visions of Johanna" was filler on an otherwise great album. It's a dreary, plodding song that people would skip over to get to the better songs on the album. (if you don't know the 'better songs' on blonde on blonde-consult a list). The fact that 'Visions of J.' is now considered "REMARKABLE" (See Rolling Stones Mag, which this article freely steals from) is laughable. It's just a way of peaking the young people's curiosity so they'll go out and buy the record: my suggestion is to check the CD from the library and download it into Itunes, and save yourself $10. It's a completely overrated Dylan song, and when you listen to it in context to the other songs on the album, you realize, though not one of the worst, it's one of the more forgettable songs.

May 27 11 - 10:32am
OldSchoolIGuess

I never respond to these things, but one line of "Sexy Minx's" message I just couldn't let go. I can't believe nobody else has responded to it, but I suppose my age is showing (and I don't feel at all old at 50). Her comment about "check [out] the CD from the library and download it into iTunes and save yourself $10." It is just this attitude that we have the right to steal whatever music we want that shocks and amazes me. Why do so many people not even think twice about stealing music? Because let's face it, that's what everybody is doing. Is it just because it's so easy? Maybe I'm more in tune to this because I live in Nashville and know songwriters who can't make a living anymore, but this is not a good thing. The music industry has completely and irrevocably changed forever, and not in a good way. I think the stats are that 1 in 19 song downloads is actually paid for. Sickening. Sad. Shameful.

Jul 13 11 - 4:25pm
ceba

Checking out from the library is legal and free. It's borrowing, not stealing. Downloading from iTunes is purchasing- you pay for it. Again not stealing.
The way the writer means that you are saving money is that you can buy a song from iTunes instead of a full album. That way, according to him, the curious can purchase the song for a dollar and see it is no great shakes and then save their money on having spent a lot of money to hear something dreadful.

Of course we are talking about one of the best songs on one of the best albums from one of the best musicians of our time, so the whole comment was bizarre.

Dec 07 11 - 11:15pm
JohnBooth

No no no.... you misread SexyMinx's comment.. He said download it INTO itunes. Not FROM itunes... What SexyMinx is suggesting is in fact illegal.

Pretty sad that your whole argument is based on a misread. Your post is so vehement; you REALLY THOUGHT you were sticking it to OldSchoolIGuess, but you MISUNDERSTOOD SexyMinx's post... fucking idiot..

Dec 07 11 - 11:16pm
JohnBooth

Fucking stupid motherfucker. Why would you check a cd out from the library, then, at the same time, download it from itunes. What a stupid cocksucker you are..

May 24 11 - 7:09pm
Sexy Minx

I fought with my twin, that enemy within, 'til both of us fell by the way.
Horseplay and disease is killing me by degrees while the law looks the other way.
Your partners in crime hit me up for nickels and dimes, the man you were lovin' could never get clean.
It felt outa place, my foot in his face, but he should have stayed where his money was green.
I bit into the root of forbidden fruit with the juice running down my leg.
Then I dealt with your boss, who'd never known about loss, who always was
too proud to beg. (From Number #17 on this list- "Where are you tonight?")

May 25 11 - 9:19am
Fun

Love that song!

Jul 15 11 - 1:14pm
david desmond

St Legal is pure raunchy Dylan. Live in the studio on Main Street in Santa Monica. I saw him do two of the songs live in Toledo and it was overpowering. And Bob loves the record. If Empire was produced this way it would have been totally different. Thank God for Dark Eyes.

May 24 11 - 7:23pm
Insatiable Dragon

This is one of those "you disagree with my opinion; therefore you are wrong," or arguing about what you like to have for dinner. Having been around back in the day, I remember it a bit differently: skipping "Rainy Day Woman" and "Pledging My Time" to go right to "Visions of Johanna" (and the rest); I remember "Visions" as a monster in that day. Back in the day, the holy trilogy of sorts was Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 and Blonde on Blonde . . . with John Wesley Harding being received like Mana from Heaven. I think Nashville Skyline is way underrated here, and overall Planet Waves is hugely underrated here and overall. But, hey, just one Dylan-head's opinion; as always, your mileage may vary.

Jul 15 11 - 1:16pm
david desmond

Planet Waves is amazing. Morons underrate records. but from that session I got to hear Dylan sing, Except You on Tour 74 in Bloomington, IN. Maybe only one or two times he's sung it live. Should have been on the record. Nothing like Dirge or Wedding Song. and his art on the cover. People forget how hard it is to make a good record but so easy to trash. Except you.

May 24 11 - 8:30pm
Perry

The list is pretty good. Everybody has one song that is way and beyond their favorite, regardless of ranking. Mine is 1) 'Desolation Row', off #4. Followed by:- 2)'Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands" #2. 3). "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." I suppose I could go on, but almost 50 years of listening and singing is just too much to put in one packet. Thanks, Mr. Dylan (damned if if I know what I would have done without ya.)

May 24 11 - 9:37pm
Tony

Highway 61 Revisted and Blood on the Tracks for equal first... Both because there are a lot of songs on them I keep coming back to Time after Time... (sorry for the bad pun

Jul 15 11 - 1:20pm
david desmond

I still maintain Freewheelin is the most important of his records. Just look at the song list and quality of the songs. without those he couldn't have been taken so seriously. Just listen to the record. All of the songs. it proved suddenly this guy can write amazing songs. and many. from a clear blue sky. It doesn't have to be your favorite, but can anything stand up to that record.? It paved the way and it had amazing songs. Sometimes easy to forget.

May 25 11 - 9:27am
britt

so predictable. with the 'lower' ranked albums, i like the way there is a potshot accompanied by a tidbit of praise with almost every one. that will cover all the bases. takes some real balls to write stuff like that.

May 25 11 - 11:32am
Walter

I've never been as big on "Blood On the Tracks" as some, but it is undoubtedly a great album. Here's my 2 cents:

1. Blonde on Blonde
2. Highway 61 Revisited
3. Before the Flood
4. Bringing It All Back Home
5. John Wesley Harding
6. Blood On the Tracks
7. Desire
8. The Basement Tapes
9. The Freewheelin'
10. Nashville Skyline

May 08 12 - 3:42pm
Bellarudi96

I cant for the life of me understand why nobody has Desire at number 1,Blonde on Blonde is the only 1 that comes close,not 1 filler track on album and ends with the best love song ever.

Jul 31 12 - 1:38pm
djb

That really is the best love song ever. "So easy to look at, so hard to define..."

May 25 11 - 4:53pm
Richard

May I put in a word for World Gone Wrong and Good As I Been To You? I think they should both stand a little outside the other albums as they are ALL cover songs. But if you (like me) also love Bob as a singer and guitar player, please check them out. Sloppy as some cuts may be, I think they sound fantastic.

May 26 11 - 6:35am
Kevin

Rankings are a terrible waste of time for both writers and readers

May 27 11 - 11:43am
Really

As a conversation starter they're great. As a search for the One True Truth, they miss the point. I think both the author and most of the commenters get that.

May 26 11 - 8:16am
Carl

Empire Burlesque is a favorite of mine. One of my most listened albums.

May 26 11 - 8:53am
Jakob Brönnum

Very well done! As difficult a task as building a seven story card house. Acknowledging the fact that Bringin' really is a better album than the otherwise absolutely perfect Highway 61 shows the craftmanship behind this list. And the whole point is of couse that the masterpieces begin at a rather high number. Desire and Times must be better than Freewheellin' though, apart from composition skill, including also intensity, clarity and professionality as parametres. Liveworks are excluded, but Before the Flood, Hard Rain and Budokan released in close succession, with interpretations miles apart, shows something about the artist that the list doesn't.

May 26 11 - 11:29am
Alon

Love And Theft is a masterpiece.

May 26 11 - 11:36am
The Jesus Years

Great, Yaffe adds insult to obsessive compulsive Zimmerman idolatry with a worthless repeat of the cliches every other critic parasite of the last fifty years. Down In The Groove is so awful, wah wah blah blah--and anyone knows it's got several great songs--and "Blood On The Tracks" is akin to the Books Of Moses, when who wants to hear rank bathos like Twist Of Fate or If You See Her ever again?

What a wank.

I concur that these rankings are the handiwork of the sexless set, but at least rank them in some sort of novel way other than the juvenile and totally opinionated cliche of "Worst" and "Best."

How about according to acts of plagiarism?

Sep 13 12 - 12:25pm
dan

you didnt even get the song title right.

May 26 11 - 11:43am
Jimmyo

Highway 61 is better than bringing it all back home!....listen to both again, your ears will make that a fact! And the ' times they are a changing' is pretty boring!...I sat it so it must be so

May 26 11 - 1:09pm
martyalen

What a dumb list! He left off "Revolver," "Astral Weeks," "All Mod Cons," "Gravity's Rainbow," "Sketches of Spain," "Goldberg Variations," "Cantos," "Elvis's Christmas Album," "Workingman's Dead," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," Game 5, "Guernica," "Sistine Chapel," and "A Farewell to Arms"! And those are just the ones off the top of my head -- I'm sure there are others. Better watch out, Professor Laffe. If Bob ever plays Syracuse again, he just might pull his motorhome into your parking spot.

May 27 11 - 11:44am
Really

Where's the like button when you really need one?

May 26 11 - 1:11pm
Reinier_

Can't find ' knocking on heavens door'... Where is Pat Garrett and Billy the kid??
Strange... And Modern Times is way to low on the list.

May 26 11 - 2:49pm
PhilD

Without getting into whether this or that album is properly ranked (which is of course subjective), my quibble is that none of the Bootleg Series albums are included. Even if you exclude the live sets, there is an enormous amount of excellent material on these sets. In fact, Tell Tale Signs is, in my view, every bit as good as the albums from which that material was left off (Oh Mercy, Time Out of Mind, Love and Theft, etc.) and really includes some of his best work, EVER.

May 26 11 - 3:29pm
LlaryZ

Living in the past.......I think that Dylan's recent work is as interesting as anything he has ever done! Rock on Bob!

May 26 11 - 8:23pm
Rabel

I love Christmas in the Heart, its the best Christmas album ever after Elvis', I love all his albums, its impossible to pick a favourite, but if i had to choose just one, it would have to be Highway 61 Revisited.

May 26 11 - 8:28pm
Rabel

Then again Love and Theft is a fair contender, if i had to just pick one.

May 26 11 - 9:30pm
Texas Pete

I guess what strikes me is that most artists would love to have 1 album as good as any one of Dylan's. Even his worst albums have at least 1 song better than just about anything anyone else has ever written.

Jul 15 11 - 1:25pm
david desmond

yeah, I agree. and so did Bruce Springsteen live on TV. It is so easy to kind of under rate some of Bob's stuff because much of his stuff is ethereal. I found one person trashing Dylan. Sure, it's outtakes. But do you know it was a million seller? People loved it. It's just Bob and the boys running through some stuff. Don't take it so seriously. Lot of good songs on it. But not meant for human consumption. Lily of the West is amazing.

May 27 11 - 10:40am
Steven

It takes a lot of nerve and a lack of perspective to compile this list. Dylan's work should be judged by his songs, not his albums. Are poets judged by their books or by the power of each poem? Most American songwriters/singers would give their right arm to write just one song that would approximate the power in any one of Dylan's 100 best songs, or even a throwaway line in one of Dylan's best. There is a reason that Dylan is perhaps the most "covered" singer/songwriter in popular musical history; because he is the best. I imagine critics feel pumped up to be able to critique an entire album in two or three near-meaningless sentences, but it only demonstrates Dylan's power as a writer, and the weakness of the musically untalented and poetically challenged critic.

May 27 11 - 11:35am
Marc

I thought America was the beautiful... I could be wrong, thanks,,,,,,

May 28 11 - 10:18am
Jimbob

I love empire burlesque, under the red sky, knocked out loaded, down in the groove, shot of love, saved, infidels, street legal. In fact most of these would be in my top 10 listened to albums. Am I odd?

Dec 26 11 - 3:19am
Theodore

I agree, I would definately put Knocked out loaded, Empire Burlesque and Shot of love in the top 25. And would put Highway 61 revisited at number 1, Bringing it all back home at 2, Blood on the tracks at 3 and the Basement tapes at 4 before Blonde on Blonde. In fact I find that Blonde on blonde turgid at times and is 60% ok, 40% filler.

May 30 11 - 12:58am
Really!?

Pat Garret and Billy the Kid!?!?!?!?!?!?

Jun 05 11 - 4:42am
Nice List

Slow Train Coming is a fantastic album! Also, the best guitar playing Mark Knopfler had ever comitted to tape.

Jun 11 11 - 3:50pm
Dreama

Kudos! What a neat way of thiiknng about it.

Jun 11 11 - 9:12pm
Navid

What a joy to find such clear thinnkig. Thanks for posting!

Jun 12 11 - 10:01am
Addrienne

Posts like this brgihten up my day. Thanks for taking the time.

Jul 15 11 - 3:50am
Mark

Could this list be any more bland and orthodox?

Jul 15 11 - 7:05am
david desmond

it's fun to read these arbitrary lists and read the comments. I don't know how anyone knows Blood on the Tracks is about divorce. Or that he'd given up Christianity on Infidels. I talked with Dylan the day he made the video for Political World, and I told him that Shot of Love and Street Legal were two of my favorite records. He said, Yeah, they kinda captured my sound. I also enjoy Under the Red Sky. He was making the Wilburys at the same time. SelfPortrait has some real gems but not the live stuff from Isle of White. sp? I don't have a favorite Dylan record. Like Billy the Kid alot but the movie was bad. My approach is to take Dylan song by song from whichever album. As for most important record, that could be Freewheelin as it really established him as a great song writer. I have to say one of my favorite Dylan recordings is When Did You Leave Heaven. It's on Down in the Groove I think. But I've never grown tired of Self Portrait. It was way ahead of the time. The hippies were doing acid and Bob was looking back into music that came way before the sixties. People simply didn't know HOW to appreciate it.

Jul 15 11 - 7:22am
huckelberry

Love and Theft is too high up on the list

Jul 15 11 - 10:19am
dcravens

Copper Kettle is a masterpiece, and judging from the autobiography, Self Portrait may be a very accurate reflection of Dylan's real state of mind at the time; taken in context & in the spirit of defining success as the artist's ability to effectively communicate his emotional life, that album may indeed be among his best.

Jul 15 11 - 10:52am
craig werner

Glaring mistakes Modern Times way underrated Saved is overrated

Jul 15 11 - 1:13pm
kbb

I, too, am among the "Self Portrait" clan. I love that record start to finish. Also dig "Under the Red Sky". "Knocked Out Loaded" has some killer cuts, like "Maybe Someday". "Down in the Groove" has 90 MPH Down A Dead End Street. A cover, I know, but great performance.
Anyway, there's a right time for any of Dylan's albums on my turntable. It's amazing that one artist has created such a vast, changing landscape of songs.

Jul 15 11 - 1:39pm
Carl

Still can't believe Empire Burlesque is No. 30. Great CD. Gonna put it in the player now.

Jul 15 11 - 2:13pm
Phil

We can all quibble with the rankings, but here are two things that are indisputable. One - Most artists would (or should) give their right arm to produce works as good as even Dylan's worst albums. Two - this list doesn't even include any of the Bootleg Series albums. The Live ones - in particular 1975 and 1966, are essentiually masterpieces; the studio ones - in particular Volumes 1- 3 and Tell Tale Signs - contains studio material every bit as good, if not better, than the released (i.e., ranked) albums. Frankly, Tell Tale Signs, the most recent of the (mostly) studio outakes, is a masterpiece that would rank in the top five and, again, is better than the even the best recorded works of Bob's contemporaries and anyone else. Long Live Bob!

Jul 15 11 - 3:21pm
Aedanm

1) Before the Flood 2) Blood OTT 3) Bringing IABH 4) Blonde on Blonde
Just my 2c ... IMHO Visions of Johanna is a masterpiece, describing it as filler
is perverse

Jul 15 11 - 4:21pm
bob

uhhh.... "days of 49" is about digging for gold in 1849, not about pirates

Jul 15 11 - 4:26pm
bob

also, putting shot of love and saved above modern times and together through life is ridiculous, IMO.

of course, that's just a matter of opinion.

Jul 15 11 - 5:39pm
McKee

Any list that claims that there are 3 albums better than Highway 61 is seriously flawed. There aren't 3 albums that have ever been recorded that exceed the content of Highway 61. Dead heat with Blonde on Blonde - photo finish. John Wesley Harding should be closer to the top.

Jul 15 11 - 6:39pm
El Turko

We all have our favorites and less-favorites. It's all just opinion. My only quibble with the top half of the list is "Another Side" is a bit high. I liked "Empire" for the songs but agree the production showcases the worst of the 80's. "Loaded" is about the only one I can't find any redeeming value in. I'd rate that last. Hwy 61 should be higher. Blonde is #1.

Jul 15 11 - 7:46pm
me

Blonde on Blonde,perfect choice.

Jul 15 11 - 9:20pm
jzsnake

Nobody thinks Together Through Life was ranked too low?

Jul 16 11 - 12:58am
HisNibs

I'd certainly agree with you that 'Together Through Life' deserves a much higher ranking...but these types of lists are so personal that they're not really very meaningful...just fun to read. I thought some of the song selections were quite good though, such as 'Every Grain of Sand' and 'Where are You Tonight', which many overlook but have always been on my personal lists of favorites.

Jul 16 11 - 2:32am
frank

hwy 61 is his "best" album .dylan said it himself.pat & billy is a great film as well in its more complete versions.the album may have been stronger with some different selections though it still deserves a mention here.

Jul 16 11 - 1:34pm
not_a_BD_obsessive

To the many people who said that most artists would give an arm to have written one of Dylan's less celebrated songs (or some variation thereof), I ask you: who really cares about "most" artists? The challenge is to seek out what's best. I must have several hundred albums that are better than many of the Dylan albums on this list. Why scrape the bottom of the Dylan barrel when you could be listening to great music by Tim Buckley, Simon & Garfunkel, Ian & Sylvia, Richard & Mimi Farina, Jim Croce, Nick Drake, Pentangle, The Byrds, Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell.... the list goes on and on. Dylan is great, but there is a whole universe of other greats out there.

Jul 16 11 - 7:29pm
jason

What an odd sensation to be quoted in a book on Dylan and then disagree so deeply with the author's rankings. I guess feelings about Dylan are so personal that I'd probably disagree with anyone's list. The top 10 or so here are indisputable, but there are some great albums that are almost dismissed here and Under The Red Sky belongs in the penultimate bad spot just ahead of Down in the Groove. I also don't get the seemingly universal love for Oh Mercy. Most of the Time is one of Dylan's finest songs but, though in my younger years I wrote a play based on Man in the Long Black Coat, the rest of the album is almost a throwaway for me. Of course, my finger is not exactly on the pulse. I've worn out about 10 copies of Dylan just from my love for singing along with the enthusiastically delivered Sara Jane.

Mar 06 12 - 4:11pm
drowning too

Although when reviewing this entire list, it might be interesting to consider another song I personally really like from Oh Mercy--"What Was It You Wanted?" For example "Whatever you wanted, what could it be, did somebody tell you you could get it from me?"

Jul 16 11 - 7:30pm
jason

I know this is not a popular opinion but I also adore Empire Burlesque. But you know, ain't no use in talkin to me; it's just the same as talkin to you.

Jul 17 11 - 5:32pm
Schevling

The true joy is discovering the unreleased outtakes and sublime live renditions although it all starts with the Columbia stuff.

Jul 22 11 - 5:26am
Burchard

Just cause it's smilpe doesn't mean it's not super helpful.

Jul 23 11 - 5:48pm
GOBsaysCOMEON

I like these lists as conversation starters.

My 6 favorite Dylan albums are the top 6 on the list, so it's difficult for me to complain.

Blood on the Tracks and Freewheelin' are neck and neck for #1, followed by Bringing it All Back Home, Blonde on Blonde and Another Side. Highway 61 comes in 6th for me. That album is treated somewhat unfairly because I love Desolation Row so much that I usually can't get through the rest of the album without skipping to that song.

Sep 08 11 - 10:32pm
Jack

Call me crazy but I think the self tittled album "Bob Dylan"(duh) deserves maybe a bit more lovin then it got on this list.

Sep 14 11 - 4:19am
the gman

We aint never gonna agree on this list.

Oct 24 11 - 11:08am
Bruno Cruz

This is just right!

Oct 28 11 - 2:56am
mikec

when i was a bit low at college (the departed girl-friend syndrome!) i used to go to sleep with Sad Eyed Lady of the lowlands playing all night (with the auto-change arm up and over, constantly repeating) so I'd wake up to it too.
Little did I guess that 45 years later I be shown to have such excellent taste.

Nov 21 11 - 4:26pm
FuckRollingStone923

Am I the only one that loves Dylan, Self Portrait, New morning? They are Brilliant!!

Dec 07 11 - 11:25pm
EarlBradley

This is my top 10 as of today:

1. Highway 61
2. Bringin' it all back home
3. Blonde on Blonde
4. Blood on the Tracks
5. Another Side of Bob Dylan
6. John Wesley Harding
7. Desire
8. The Freewheeling Bob Dylan
9.The Times they are a Changin
10. Time out of Mind

Jan 20 12 - 8:01pm
Ross

Bootleg Series 4, nuff sed

Jan 29 12 - 5:56am
Justin Yu

Bootleg series is patchy.....nuff sed!!!!!!!!!

Mar 01 12 - 2:57pm
Paddy Purcell

Can't accept that only his old were his only. Sorry been a Dylan fan for over 40 years and cannot see how you down played "Modern Times" or more of the late 90's 20's album.
Anyway thanks for all the good work and what do I know [would agree with your 1,2 by the way "Blonde on Blonde" is a masterpiece

Mar 18 12 - 4:24pm
Marc

"Modern Times" didn't rip off anything. Some of the music was borrowed yes. Some of the words were borrowed yes but so what? Borrowing music is an actual music tradition. All of the old folk songs were borrowed from other songs. Melodies and lyrics are passed down and changed and passed down again through time. Bob was obviously inspired by those songs and that is why he used them to make some of the songs on "Modern Times." Borrowing is not stealing or even illegal so why does everyone mention it? Everyone who writes about "Modern Times" acts as if they personally discovered that Bob borrowed from other songs but god knows the people who write about music rarely know the history of it and thy never play it themselves.

Mar 24 12 - 2:43am
Matthew

If there were a ranking of best songs by his Bobness, I'd have to put "Jokerman" in that spot. Of course this would be a much harder list...

Apr 05 12 - 3:33pm
Tommy

Something irresponsibly close to the truth is in stark negligence to the outwardly tyrannical nature of the town in which we reside. Do we need someone to clean our houses and our mother's bowels? No, because that would be grossly incandescent and involuntarily corrangulative. Something is wrong with the world when we need someone to force-feed us the fruits of a dieing hero in the battle for a bottle of bologna. How? I stress this, yet somehow, I do not condone this. It really resounds in one's mind-set when we really think about why we live and why we hate and why this specificational grassy knoll is on the greatest albums list of all millenia. Bravo I say! And may I just add, a spanking new year!

Jun 16 12 - 11:00am
Collier

I'm a noob fan but I really do like Blonde on Blonde...

Jun 19 12 - 3:47pm
Kenny Grebe

I followed Dylan and philosophies since 1966 to date and he is the best man to capture great moments in time and inspire the future. I also am a big follower of Cohen, Nick Cave. Don't forger Joan Baez and Donovan. Zappa also had his own brilliance with lyrics and erotic abandon.Stones and Beatles and even Eric Burdon cannot be discounted but Dylan was the fearless leader of modern times.

Jun 30 12 - 9:03pm
Lou

I have to agree with Richard's comments on World Gone Wrong and Good as I Been to You. Yes, he did not pen these songs but he stamps them beautifully with trademark Dylan. Stripped and raw he displays true musicianship. Single takes no studio prestidigitation. Others daren’t expose themselves in such a manner. I feel these recordings deserve more admiration. However, gun to my head and I had to pick my number 1 it would be Blood on the Tracks. Dylan is THE greatest songwriter of our time arguably ever.

Jul 16 12 - 3:50pm
Arthur Awesome

I agree almost exactly with this, although i'd put Highway 61 at No. 2 rather than blood on the tracks. I like his earlier stuff. The albums from John Wesley Harding to Planet Waves I find boring. Blood on the tracks was a good comeback though. :)

Jul 17 12 - 7:58pm
Richardrls

My favorite Dylan song? Easy...the last one I listened to....and by God, just think...in just a few weeks, I will be able to listen to 10 new songs!!...thank you, Bob Dylan...

Jul 19 12 - 11:03pm
Rob from BC

I love each of Dylan's periods, but I think his '80's work is greatly overlooked in the Dylan legacy. He put out some potent songs which may have suffered from poor production, but stand up very well. I especially have high regard for "Infidels" which contains three killer tracks in "Sweetheart...", Licence to Kill" and "Jokerman". I would rate this album in his top ten. I also agree with comments about his two acoustic early 90's recordings: stripped down and shows Bob's formidible guitar skills. My least favorite albums? "Together Through Life", "Saved" and "Street Legal". His live stuff should receive mention too, with "Real Live" being a treat--the version of "Masters of War" on that record is my personal favourite.

Aug 23 12 - 3:37am
MC

Good to see Another Side rated highly. 61 and Bringing it all back home recoreded in same year. Had that been a double would have outclassed every album ever produced by anyone anywhere!!

Aug 31 12 - 12:51pm
Rich

Got to say, I personally think that New Morning is a fantastic and often overlooked album. On long car journey's me and my girl have had many a happy singalong to it.

Sep 17 12 - 5:50am
Carmicvision

um.. can we talk about his new album Tempest? Because this man is seriously impressive if he can still make music that great. (watch duequesne whistle)