August 5, 2007

"World is lucky to have Bob Dylan and his voice."

I'm a little pleased with myself for knowing why it's funny to phrase it that way. That is, I see a reference to a Dylan song in that headline to a column about a Mojo Magazine list of the 100 Greatest Bob Dylan Tracks. ("How good do you have to be to have a list of your 100 greatest songs?")
Mojo’s critics picked the following Dylan songs for their top 10: 1. “Like A Rolling Stone,” 2. “Positively 4th Street,” 3. “Sad Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands,” 4. “Desolation Row,” 5. “Blind Willie McTell,” 6. “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” 7. “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” 8. “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” 9. “Mississippi,” 10. “Just Like A Woman.”

Mojo’s readers picked these 10: 1. “Like a Rolling Stone,” 2. “Desolation Row,” 3. “Visions of Johanna,” 4. “Mr. Tambourine Man,” 5. “Tangled Up In Blue,” 6. “Positively 4th Street,” 7. “Idiot Wind,” 8. “Blind Willie McTell,” 9. “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” 10. “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”

It looks like the critics and readers agreed on five.

Now let’s look at Uncut Magazine’s list that came out in 2002: 1. “Like A Rolling Stone,” 2. “Tangled Up In Blue,” 3. “Visions Of Johanna,” 4. “A Hard Rains Gonna Fall,” 5. “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” 6. “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” 7. “Desolation Row,” 8. “I Want You,” 9. “Idiot Wind,” 10. “Sad-Eyed Lady Of The Lowlands.”

What do you think? Do you agree or not? What are your favorite Dylan songs?

Don’t ask me. Two of my favorites “If Not For You” (64) and “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)” (100) didn’t even make the top 50 on the Mojo readers’ list.

I am really not very good at picking top 10 lists when it comes to music. It always seems to be a struggle for me.

I guess that I am just too much of a music fan to make up my mind. It also depends on what day it is.
I'm always looking for "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat."

Maybe I just like the fashion theme. What are the great songs about fashion? And I mean songs with lyrics that focus on a particular item (or items) of clothing. So don't all of you just shout out this one:

A good answer for this assignment would be "Raspberry Beret." But you don't have to restrict yourself to hats.

And don't slight the other questions raised here:

1. What Dylan song does the headline refer to?

2. "What are your favorite Dylan songs?"

3. "How good do you have to be to have a list of your 100 greatest songs?" -- i.e., which other artists are worthy of a list of 100 greatest songs?

4. How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand? And what does it sound like when doves cry?

5. What was the question I had here under point #5 that I had to take out because I just don't want that much trouble?

6. And lest you've forgotten: What are the great songs about articles of clothing?

Now, go get dressed!


Anonymous said...

Jockstrap Boogie.

Bissage said...

And I mean songs with lyrics that focus on a particular item (or items) of clothing.


Ron said...

clothing songs...
"itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini" of course....

"cheap sunglasses" from ZZ Top,fitting yesterdays "glasses" post...

"Baby's in Black" and "Old Brown Shoe" from the Beatles...

Ron said...

"Blue Suede Shoes" Duh!

Meade said...

1. We both heard voices for a while, now the rest is history,
Somebody's got to cry some tears,
I guess it must be up to me.

ONE OF US MUST KNOW (Sooner or Later)

3. Smokey Robinson

4a. Seven times seventy
4b. Like people talking without speaking, like
people hearing without listening, like people
writing songs that voices of their generation
never share because no one dare embarrass
himself with such an out-of-the-mainstream

5. I don't know.

6. I don't care.

Not only am I already dressed, I've flossed, brushed, and showered.

Now you go get dressed. Otherwise, sooner or later, one of us must know...

Meade said...


Obscure fact about me: It was my beloved hippie wannabe older sister who, in the mid 60's, taught me to appreciate Bob Dylan and his sound.

Of course even that good deed would not go unpunished as, true to my bratty little brother form, I would later get myself on her last nerve by singing Lay Lady Lay... lay across my big wet bed...

amba said...

Ron: first thing that came to my mind.

Dylan favorites not mentioned yet: "Memphis Blues," "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," quite a bit of "New Morning," the recent "Things Have Changed."

What it sounds like when doves cry: This.

Modern Otter said...

A handful--

1. "Chimes of Freedom" ("For the countless confused, accused, misused, strung-out ones and worse./And for every hung-up person in the whole wide universe...")

2. "Mama You Been on My Mind" (I'd just be curious to know if you can see yourself as clear./As someone who has had you on his mind."

3. "Standing in the Doorway" ("Yesterday everything was going too fast/Today, it's moving too slow")

4. "I'll Keep it With Mine" ("Everybody will help you/Discover what you set out to find./But if I can save you any time,Come on, give it to me/I'll keep it with mine.")

5. "Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window?" ("While his genocide fools and his friends rearrange/Their religion of the little tin women")

A while back I listened to Blond on Blond for the first time in quite a few years. Before, I was alway put off by the length of "Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands," a whole side of the 2-LP set, which probably affected my judgment of it. A combination of time (a/k/a age) and the single-CD format made me re-visit the song, and I found myself enjoying it in a way that surprised me.

Cedarford said...

1. My favorite of all was "Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall". I have never experienced a song that fit so many original and traditional with a different bent - ideas, images - together. 40+ years old song, before I was born. Still pure, still vivid and amazing to me. I sing along with it as being about the world of today with all the mental pictures and ideas to chew on...
The call to individual committment, the duty to make a stand....

2. It's Alright, Ma (I'm only bleeding) - another song that I don't think any other artist out there could have woven such poetic complexity of thought into lyrics.

3. Forever Young. A blessing. Popularized by Rod Stewart.

4. Positively 4th Street.

5. Hurricane. The thug was a killer, sorry Bob, but one of your few true great tub-thumping songs.

6. Sad-Eyed Lady of the Lowlands.

7. Tangled up in Blue.

8. Lay lady, lay. (For his very different, haunting voice in this one).

9. Idiot Wind.

10. Shelter from the Storm

11. Sara.

12. If Not For You.

13. She Belongs to me.

14. Stuck Inside of Mobile.(With the Memphis Blues Again)

15. Knocking on Heavan's Door

16. Highway 61 Revisited.

17. It Ain't Me, Babe.

18. Subterranean Homesick Blues.

19. Mozambique. (Because I like the fiddler-gal and upbeat theme)

20. Modern Times.

Now, though they are obviously among his best, or best ever from anyone - "Like a Rolling Stone, All Along the Watch Tower, Blowing in the Wind" - just get played to death, so they aren't on my favorites list anymore than "Born in the USA" or "Yesterday" are..

Thanks, Ann. I thought about the list and realized I haven't heard a few of them in a long, long time so I'm looking through a box of CDs for a Dylan fix.

amba said...

6. Does "Nights in White Satin" count? Or is that sheets?

Skeptical said...

What, no Rainy Day Women #12 and 35?

Lindsay said...

One of the all-time great songs about the Law:

Hurricane by Bob Dylan

(the song is far better than the movie)

TMink said...

Many of my favorite Dylan songs are from versions sung by someone else.

The shame.

And "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" from Zappa.


Revenant said...

What are the great songs about fashion?

Pink Shoelaces, of course!

As for Dylan, well... I don't care about Dylan.

PeterP said...

"Jewels and binoculars..."

That can't be beat.

The only way to do this is to ask yourself which songs you could leave behind if marooned on the mythical desert island. You don't include, you exclude.

By that process it comes down to:

1. The aforementioned Visions of Johanna, which is what Nietzsche really wanted to say only didn't quite know how.

2. Desolation Row - though not the 'unplugged' version without the melodic lead guitar line 'cos then it's a really dull 10 minutes.

3. Simple Twist of Fate for we men who have slept with women who left for no good reason other than to have songs written in their honour.

Maxine Weiss said...

I don't like a single Bob Dylan song. I don't think he has talent.

The poor man's Mick Jagger.

Maxine Weiss said...

I don't like a single Bob Dylan song. I don't think he has talent.

The poor man's Mick Jagger. Tom Petty and Mick Jagger are better singers.

John Stodder said...

"She Wore a Hat Like Princess Marina," by the Kinks.

"Bad Sneakers," Steely Dan

"An Old Raincoat Will Never Let You Down," by Rod Stewart

"A White Sport Coat and a Pink Carnation" -- Marty Robbins

"Hats Off to Larry" -- Del Shannon

"Ballad of the Green Berets" -- Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler

And of course all the songs about footwear like

"Blue Suede Shoes" -- Carl Perkins
"These Boots Were Made for Walking" -- Nancy Sinatra
"Soul Shoes" -- Graham Parker
"(I Don't Want To) Hang Up My Rock and Roll Shoes," -- The Band

lee david said...

Sailin Shoes (Little Feat)

Though I never thought of it before, it's beginningto look like shoes get a disproportionate amount of attention in songs.

John Stodder said...

There are very few Bob Dylan songs I don't like. The ones I keep going back to are "Positively 4th Street," "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry," "Visions of Johanna" and "Tangled Up in Blue."

Here are some really good ones that are less famous:

"Million Dollar Bash"
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
"Dear Landlord"
"Tell Me That It Isn't True"
"Never Say Goodbye"
"Where Are You Tonight?"
"The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"
"Heart of Mine"
"Neighborhood Bully"
"What Was It You Wanted"
"Everything is Broken"
"Standing in the Doorway"
"Summer Days"
"Po' Boy"
"Sugar Baby"
"Lonesome Day Blues"
"Spirit on the Water"
"Thunder on the Mountain"

lee david said...

Thirsty Boots (Eric Anderson)

John Stodder said...

And well, Bob Dylan, "Boots of Spanish Leather."

lee david said...

I wouldn't say that the world is lucky to have his voice. His voice in itself is not very good but he does put all he's got into it. I would say that the uniqueness of his voice made him stand out from much of the competition at the time that he started to make it and therefore drew attention to many of his other better attributes.

The phrasing, intonation, and the cadence of his delivery ripped apart the standards for how pop songs should and could be approached as a vocalist. The drama of the delivery overcame the relative deficiencies in his voice as a singer.

The sheer volume of his songwriting output may be unparalled. The number of his songs that have been recorded by him and others would have to be up at the very top of the list of writers having their songs recorded and released.

This is evidence of his massive talent as a musician and a writer that is sometimes clouded by the same qualities of his voice that stood him apart in the beginning.

My bet is that if he isn't already, he will be the most covered single writer in music history.

Ann Althouse said...

"And "Brown Shoes Don't Make It" from Zappa."

Makes me remember: "Bow Tie Daddy."

There must be a lot of "dress" songs... like "Devil With the Blue Dress."

There's a Donovan song: "I Love My Shirt."

lee david said...

She wore Blue Velvet.

Bluer that blue were her eyes.

lee david said...

I've got a band new pair of roller skates.

lee david said...

Tight fittin jeans (Conway Twitty)

John Stodder said...

The great Maria McKee has at least three great "dress" songs:

"If Love is a Red Dress (Hang Me in Rags)" by Maria McKee, which is on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.

"Drinking in My Sunday Dress," which was recently covered by budding country star Susan Haynes.

"This Perfect Dress"

Jeremy said...

For the "people worthy of being in a top 100 greatest songs list":

There are probably others, but Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Jacques Brel, and Phil Ochs (for "Crucifixion," a song you probably haven't heard, and more's the pity) deserve to be on such a list.

There are a lot of amazing Bob Dylan songs, but my two current favorites are probably "Girl From the North Country" and "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)."

lee david said...

She was a "long cool woman" in a black dress (Hollies)

lee david said...

Long black veil (The Band and Johnny Cash did the most popular versions)

Chip Ahoy said...

Black Diamond Bay

Ann Althouse said...

"Venus In Blue Jeans."

marklewin said...

1. IDK

2. "Sweatheart like you"
"You're gonna make me lonesome when you go".

3. Van Morrison, Hoagy Carmichael, Rogers and Hammerstein, Stevie Wonder, Of course Lennon and McCartney, Bacharach and David, George Jones, Harold Arlen, someone already mentioned Smokey Robinson, but I'll add Holland-Dozier-Holland of Motown fame

skip to 6. Cheap Sunglasses

Hoosier Daddy said...

I still contend that Bob Dylan sounds like a castrated cat who drank too much Southern Comfort.

But music appreciation was never my strong suit.

Amexpat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amexpat said...

In answer to some of the questions.
1. I'm stumped and I didn't see an answer in the postings. I don't think the answer hinges on any of the key words; "world", "lucky" or "voice"
2. I've never had one song that has been an all time favorite. There are at least 50 songs that I consider to be top shelf Dylan songs.
3. Very good. I think Dylan's top 100 would compare favorably to the other composers mentioned here.
4. ...

amba said...

"Chantilly Lace" . . . doesn't say what garment it is, but like "Nights in White Satin" that makes t''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
(that was actually me falling asleep! Performance art?) that makes it more intriguing.

Amexpat said...

Don’t ask me. Two of my favorites “If Not For You” (64) and “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)” (100) didn’t even make the top 50 on the Mojo readers’ list."

The Mojo list was for the greatest songs, which I view as being different than favorite songs. I consider a song like, "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll" to be a great song, but it is not one of my favorites to listen to. Conversely, a song like "The man in me" is not a great song, but I enjoy listening it to it.

LutherM said...

I grow old … I grow old …
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.
I do not think that they will sing to me.

"Blowin in the Wind"
"Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright"
"Mr. Tambourine Man"

"Silver Dagger"
"El Preso Numero Nueve"
"Love Is Just A Four Letter Word"
"Diamonds And Rust"

M. Simon said...

The ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her face.

Modern Otter said...

I don't like a single Bob Dylan song. I don't think he has talent.

The poor man's Mick Jagger. Tom Petty and Mick Jagger are better singers.

Bob on Mick?:
Well now your dancing child with his shiny suit/I spoke to him/I took his flute/Though I wasn't very cute to him/Was I?/But I did it because he lied/Because he took you for a ride/'Cause time was on his side...

M. Simon said...

"It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train To Cry,"

Made me learn harmonica.

On a good day I can keep up with Dylan.

bill said...

3. "How good do you have to be to have a list of your 100 greatest songs?"

The question is false and misleading. The correct answer is you don't have to be good at all. Writing a lot of songs has no correlation with writing good songs.

bill said...

If you want to hear some good Bob Dylan, then get Robyn Sings (iTunes), a collection of Bob Dylan songs performed by Robyn Hitchcock. Better musician and singer than Mr. Bob.

bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill said...

Dedicated Follower of Fashion (youtube), The Kinks.

Ann Althouse said...

bill -- I love that song, and have had the 45 since the day it came out, but there is only one item of clothing mentioned in it: "frilly nylon panties."

bill said...

Just some foot fetish action:

Red Shoes, Tom Waits
Turtle Shoes, Bobby McFerrin
In These Shoes?, Kirsty MacColl
My Little Suede Shoes, The Robustos
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes, Paul Simon
Picasso's Shoes, Mrs. Fun
The Shoes Of The Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers, Charles Mingus
Seven Thirty Seven/Shoe Glue, Mighty Mighty Bosstones
Blue Suede Shoes, Carl Perkins
A Shine On Your Shoes, Mandy Patinkin
Shoehorn With Teeth, They Might Be Giants

Hazy Dave said...

#6 - I listened to Randy Newman's song "Pants" from from the fine overlooked Born Again album (available on iTunes) a couple times last weekend. Something of a distant relation to "You Can Leave Your Hat On"...

Steve Barton said...

{1. What Dylan song does the headline refer to?}

Did Meade get this right with "Up to Me"? If not, I'll offer "Lay Down Your Weary Tune" and the line "no voice can hope to hum."

{2. "What are your favorite Dylan songs?"}

"Paths of Victory"

The trail is dark and dusty
The road it's kind of rough,
But the good road is a-waiting
And boys it ain't far off.

Trails of troubles,
Roads of battles,
Paths of victory,
We shall walk.

{4. How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand?}


{And what does it sound like when doves cry?}

A breathy Minnesotan.

{6. And lest you've forgotten: What are the great songs about articles of clothing?}

I know someone who could make a great radio show out of the answer to this question. He's the host of something called "Theme Time Radio Hour." Maybe he'll tackle this one next season.

-- Steve Barton, Dunwoody, Georgia

p.s. Sure there are lots of better Dylan songs, but my steadfast opinion is that victory is know...important.

Ann Althouse said...

The answer to question #1 is -- this is just my opinion -- "I like Fidel Castro and his beard," a line from "Motorpsycho Nightmare."

Well, I couldn't leave
Unless the old man chased me out,
'Cause I'd already promised
That I'd milk his cows.
I had to say something
To strike him very weird,
So I yelled out,
"I like Fidel Castro and his beard."
Rita looked offended
But she got out of the way,
As he came charging down the stairs
Sayin', "What's that I heard you say?"

I said, "I like Fidel Castro,
I think you heard me right,"
And ducked as he swung
At me with all his might.
Rita mumbled something
'Bout her mother on the hill,
As his fist hit the icebox,
He said he's going to kill me
If I don't get out the door
In two seconds flat,
"You unpatriotic,
Rotten doctor Commie rat."

YAMB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
YAMB said...

"Thank you for writing the best songs/Thank you for righting a few wrongs."

"A savior's a nuisance to live with at home."

ak said...

My favorites Dylan songs are "Tomorrow Is a Long Time," "Girl from the North Country," "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," and "Knocking on Heaven's Door."

Re songs about clothing: Zoot Suit Riot by the Squirrel Nut Zippers or Big Bad Voodoo Daddy or whoever.