The complete guide to Bob Dylan: A mammoth 55-hour, 763-track chronological playlist
“Behind every beautiful thing, there’s been some kind of pain.”―Bob Dylan.
Sometimes in life you just need to sit back, relax, and delve deeper and deeper into the world of Bob Dylan with a playlist like no other. At a time when millions of people remain quarantined at home as part of stringent social distancing measures, the words of Dylan can provide a calming soundtrack to self-isolation.
With 38 studio albums to his name, a collection which includes no fewer than 13 live albums, Dylan’s extensive back catalogue can be daunting for even the most avid fan and, if that wasn’t enough, the man himself has been rolling out his Bootleg Series which is 19 compilation albums with various different recordings, collaborations and more.
Having released his debut self-titled album in 1962, Dylan has been nothing short of prolific in his ability to consistently churn out hit records which, in many ways, have defined folk, rock and roll and blues music like no other and continued to blur the genre lines: “The thing about rock’n’roll is that for me anyway, it wasn’t enough,” he once commented. “There were great catch-phrases and driving pulse rhythms… but the songs weren’t serious or didn’t reflect life in a realistic way. I knew that when I got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing.”
Dylan added: “The songs are filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings.”
Having released his surprise new song, the dark and intense 17-minute epic ‘Murder Most Foul’ earlier this year, Dylan has ended the eight-year hiatus without new material. The song, which slowly but feverishly remembers 60 years of popular history, references everybody from The Beatles to Etta James while centring around the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy and led to the release of the full debut album Rough and Rowdy Ways.
The new number takes his song count well over 750 songs released across a 50-year period. With it, Dylan fans often find themselves swimming in the abyss of his iconic lyricism which swirls around themes of a political, social, philosophical nature that remains incomparable to those who he has influenced over the years.
Here, we traverse the Dylan landscape and follow his career from the very beginning.