Bob Dylan in 1986: Experiment, experiment, experiment, genius, ignore

By Tony Attwood

Going back over the songs of 1986 and re-reading my reviews has been very frustrating, as the links I provided to the two highlights of the year are now broken.  The songs in question are Rock em Dead and To fall in love with you – the latter being the absolute highlight of the year.

The other three songs are ok, but have all the hallmarks of taking other people’s work and playing with.  As indeed does Rock em Dead, but the version I found before (more than the extract that is up now) really was a great piece of live Dylan.

So there’s nothing particularly wrong with the other three songs, but they were just not anywhere up to the standard of the first and last song.  They are…

So a year of Dylan not really knowing where he was going, I guess, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, producing this wonder “To fall in love with you” which he just abandoned unfinished.

Yet it is a moving piece of work, with a great melody, and such words as can be made out, really sound as if they might lead onto something although what, I don’t know.

Thus it is far, far, far from being a finished song but nevertheless we can get the idea of where Bob was wanting to take us to.

A tear goes down my day is real
But your dying eye upon the shame
Each needs a road for me from you
What paradise? What can I do?
That die for my and the day is dark
I can’t believe for the end of time
What I could find oh time is run
If I fell in love to fall in love
To fall in love with you

Far and away the masterpiece of the year, even if it is unfinished, but the full version of Rock em Dead (if you can find it) is worth keeping too.

What is on the site

1: Over 390 reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.

2: The Chronology.  We’ve taken all the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums.  The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site.  We have also recently started to produce overviews of Dylan’s work year by year.     The index to the chronologies is here.

3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.

4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.

6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews.



  1. And yet this year was when Dylan performed the worst piece of music in his entire life imo!

    Street Rock by Kurtis Blow features a rap by Dylan that has to be heard to be believed…I assume he wrote his part but can’t find any info on this…it’s on Spotify on the Kurtis Blow album Kingdom Blow…check it out, if you dare!!!

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