12 Songs To Get You Hooked On Bob Dylan

A little while back me and a colleague went to a film festival screening of “I’m Not There”, I’m a minor Dylan obsessive, he didn’t know a lot more than the average person might about Dylan. The film piqued his interest in more detail, but in conversation afterwards it became clear that the sheer size of the back catalogue proved something of an obstacle. Just where do you start? The conversation concluded with me set a challenge, come up with a list of 12 tracks which would help him test the waters.

Now you can debate exactly what such a list should be, is it the “best of”, is it my personal favourites?, is it the most popular? Or perhaps the 12 best examples of each of Dylan’s various styles? I eventually boiled it down to this. For me Dylan is something of an addiction, so for me the list had to be Dylan in his “purest, most concentrated form”, the songs where I don’t want them to end. This by and large meant the songs which initially hooked me on Dylan.

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Somebody Has Already Said It Better*

I don’t know which way i’m going, i don’t know which way i’ve come

and all the roads we have to walk are winding, and all the lights that lead us are blinding

no direction home, a complete unknown like a rolling stone

everyone seems to know the score, they’ve seen it all before

i came in from the wilderness a creature void of form

how can I know that and not know who i am?

so let us not talk falsely now the hour is getting late

but all my words come back to me in shades of mediocrity

i offered up my innocence and got repaid with scorn

look at what they make you give

well I know what i’ve been told, gotta break free to break the hold

i wanna know if all you need is love

try imagining a place where it’s always safe and warm

put your hands in your pockets looked away and smiled


Slightly different from my usual posts, the above is a poem that I ‘composed’ during a university module on identity. Thought I’d post it up here because it speaks to how much TV, Film & Music can shape the language we use to discuss ourselves and the things around us.

*even that

I’m Not There

Just re-watched “I’m Not There“, love that film, sums up perfectly everything I love about Dylan, the idea of constantly trying to find yourself, figure out who you are, trying to be a better you, whoever that is. That will probably sound like waffle to a lot of people, probably to a lot of Dylan fans as well. Some Dylan fans may even think i’ve completely missed the point of most of Dylan’s music and the film, since they get a completely different message from Dylan’s music, for me the fact that different people hear different messages and take different things away is the point.