Dylan poll results

by Chris Bertram on April 6, 2004

Norm has published “the results of his Dylan songs poll”:http://normblog.typepad.com/normblog/2004/04/bob_dylans_best.html . A very good list it is too. I’m struck by the fact that the majority of the top 21 come from just three (consecutive) albums: Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 and Blonde on Blonde. There’s also only one post-1976 song on the list. This is as it should be IMHO.



Walt Pohl 04.06.04 at 5:46 pm

I’m surprised that my 3 favorite Dylan songs came in on top. I knew two of them were universally loved, but I’m surprised that “Visions of Johanna” is as popular as it is.

I’m also surprised that there are people on Earth who like “Lay Lady Lay”.


duaneg 04.06.04 at 9:06 pm

A good list indeed, how could it be otherwise?

The ones I voted for that didn’t make the list were Romance in Durango, and Ballad in Plain D. I chose the former because it was the high point of the Hammersmith Apollo concert I went to last year, and one of the most mind-blowing concert moments in my life. When we heard “hot chilli peppers in the blistering suuuun…” the crowd just exploded.

Ballad in Plain D is one of favourites because it is so simple and so moving. The imagery is very powerful, but unless you really listen to it you don’t even notice. It doesn’t have the self-conscious brilliance and sparkling word-play of something like It’s Alright Ma or Visions of Johanna, but his genius is still there beneath the surface.


Ted 04.06.04 at 11:48 pm

Mr. Dylan appears to have retired about 25 years ago, judging from the preferences of Normblog’s nostalgic voters.


Mr Ripley 04.07.04 at 6:52 am

Well, the post-1976 song that made the top 21 is the greatest from that era. IMO. And the post-1976 songs that made the top 53 are pretty good too –disappointing not to see anything from Love and Theft made that top 53 though. “Sara” and not “Mississippi”? Ow.


john b 04.07.04 at 10:57 am

I’d question “nostalgic”… I wasn’t born in 1976, but all my votes were for pre-76 songs simply because Bob’s output after then isn’t (with some exceptions) as good.

Rainy Day Women not getting a look-in is just mysterious, however.


Backword Dave 04.07.04 at 11:31 am

Maybe it was everyone’s sixth favourite song. ;)


Ted 04.07.04 at 6:25 pm

Walt, you’re missing a whole slice of the Dylan audience that might be called the “Bad Bob” section. The first Bob albums I heard as a kid were “Self Portrait” and “Nashville Skyline,” by universal consensus his most execrable output before “Under the Red Sky.” That was the Bob I fell in love with, and ever since, along with a whole lot of my fellow post-boomer Bob fans, while duly in awe of his greater works, I’ve had a severe weakness for the stuff that just didn’t work out. “Lay Lady Lay” could be the anthem of this crowd. “Listen and cringe” could be our motto.

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