Dylan songs of the 1960s

Dylan in Chronological Order of writing (not in the order of recording)

On this site there are reviews of Dylan’s compositions from all parts of his life, up to the most recent writings.  As part of this work I decided to put the songs in the order in which they were written, and this, to me, gives a huge additional insight into the way in which Dylan was working, year by year.

Additionally I am adding a short over view of each year, and a very brief comment on the “Highlight of the Year”.  These are of course totally personal reflections, but in case you have an interest they are being gathered together in the “Year by Year; Decade by Decade” file.

Here’s the index to the Chronology Series

Dylan songs of the 1960s…

1961

Dylan in 1961: The Overview

Highlight of the year:  Talking Bear Mountain – Dylan took an existing format and used it in a completely new way – not a bad move for a 20 year old.  But “Song to Woodie” although not original music is a profound way to start your career as a lyricist.

  1. Song to Woodie
  2. Talkin New York 
  3. Talking Bear Mountain Picnic Massacre Blues.
  4. Talkin Hava Negeilah blues
  5. Man on the street
  6. Hard times in New York Town

 

1962 

Dylan in 1962: The Overview

Highlight of the year: Ballad for a friend.  This little known blues song is utter perfection, using rhythm and lyrics to give the blues format a new twist and hold our attention totally throughout.

  1. Ballad for a friend (Blues; Death)
  2. Poor Boy Blues
  3. Rambling Gambling Willie
  4. Standing on the highway (Blues)
  5. Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues (Right wing protest)
  6. Death of Emmett Till
  7. The Ballad of Donald White (social commentary)
  8. Let me die in my footsteps
  9. Blowing in the wind  (It’s not the world, it’s the way you see the world)
  10. Corrina Corrina (Lost love)
  11. Honey just allow me one more chance
  12. Rocks and Gravel
  13. Quit your Lowdown Ways
  14. Baby I’m in the mood for you (Absolute desire)
  15. Down the Highway (Lost love, Song of Leaving)
  16. Bob Dylan’s Blues  (Comedy)
  17. Tomorrow is a long time (Lost love)
  18. Ain’t gonna grieve (civil rights)
  19. Long Ago Far Away (nothing has changed)
  20. Long Time Gone (moving on)
  21. Hard Rain’s a gonna fall (War protest)
  22. Ballad of Hollis Brown (Rural protest)
  23. John Brown (War protest)
  24. Don’t think twice (Song of Leaving)
  25. Mixed up confusion (Rock n roller is confused)
  26. I’d hate to be you on that dreadful day (Bob gets the ship ready to come in)
  27. Paths of Victory. (The future will be fine)
  28. Train A Travellin’  (Stand up and protest about what’s going on around you)
  29. Walking Down the Line
  30. Ye Playboys and Playgirls  (Stand up and change the world)
  31. Oxford Town (Racism Protest)
  32. I shall be free (comic talking blues)
  33. Kingsport Town (lost love, moving on)
  34. Hero Blues
  35. The Ballad of the Gliding Swan
  36. Whatcha Gonna Do? 

1963 

Dylan in 1963: the overview – Dylan the storyteller

Highlight of the year: When the Ship Comes In.  Part religious, part protest, this has all the vigour and vitality of change and reform that “Times they are a changing” (written soon after) doesn’t get close to with imagery that is utterly new within this type of music.

  1. Masters of War (War protest)
  2. Girl from the North Country (Lost Love)
  3. Boots of Spanish Leather (Song of Leaving)
  4. Bob Dylan’s Dream (Lost love)
  5. Farewell (a song of leaving)
  6. Talkin Devil (talking blues, the Devil is real)
  7. All over you (comedy alternative to talking blues)
  8. Going back to Rome (there is something about Italy)
  9. Only a Hobo (moving on)
  10. Ramblin Down Thru the World (moving on)
  11. Who killed Davey Moore?  (Boxing, Inequality)
  12. Walls of Red Wing
  13. New Orleans Rag (sometimes known as Bob Dylan’s New Orleans Rag)
  14. You’ve been hiding too long. 
  15. Seven Curses
  16. With God on our Side (Protest)
  17. Talking World War III Blues (Protest, surrealism)
  18. Only a pawn in their game  (Social commentary, protest)
  19. Eternal Circle (Nothing changes)
  20. North Country Blues (Rural protest)
  21. Gypsy Lou  (Art, Protest)
  22. Troubled and I Don’t Know Why (everything is wrong)
  23. When the ship comes in  (Protest)
  24. The Times they are a-Changing (Protest)
  25. Percy’s Song
  26. The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll (Protest, racism)
  27. Lay Down your Weary Tune
  28. One too many mornings (Song of Leaving)
  29. Restless Farewell

1964 

Bob Dylan in 1964: the overview. Dylan the storyteller.

Highlight of the year: It’s all right ma.   Line after line of indictment of the modern age delivered with such power and passion.  No one ever wrote a song like this before.

  1. Guess I’m doing fine (I’m hurting)
  2. Chimes of Freedom (Protest)
  3. Mr Tambourine Man (Surrealism; the way we see the world)
  4. I don’t believe you (She acts like we never have met) (Lost love)
  5. Spanish Harlem Incident (Love)
  6. Motorpsycho Nightmare  (Humour)
  7. It ain’t me babe (Song of Farewell)
  8. Denise Denise  (Taking a break, having a laugh)
  9. Mama you’ve been on my mind (Lost love)
  10. Ballad in Plain D  (Lost love)
  11. Black Crow Blues (The sadness of lost love and moving on)
  12. I shall be free number 10  (Talking Blues; humour)
  13. To Ramona (Love)
  14. All I really want to do (Song of Farewell; Individualism)
  15. I’ll keep it with mine (Don’t follow leaders; individualism)
  16. My back pages (Individualism)  See also Bob Dylan’s “My Back Pages”. He was so much older then.
  17. Gates of Eden (Protest, Individualism, A world that makes no sense)
  18. It’s all right ma – 2013 review (Protest; Individualism, A world that makes no sense)  It’s all right ma – 2015 review
  19. If you’ve gotta go, go now (Song of Farewell; Individualism)
  20. Jack o Diamonds (This song was evolved from the sleeve notes to the “Another Side” album and the date of writing those is uncertain).

1965

Bob Dylan in 1965: the year Dylan invented two totally new forms of music.

Highlight of the year: Impossible to choose.  “Subterranean” gave beat poetry a place in pop and rock, Love Minus Zero took love songs into the world of the unsayable, “Rolling Stone” created the songs of disdain, “Desolation Row” took political protest to a totally new level and “Johanna” took music into impressionism.

  1. Farewell Angelina (Song of Farewell)
  2. Love is just a four letter word (Is love real?)
  3. Subterranean Homesick Blues (Beat Poetry as rock music)
  4. Outlaw Blues
  5. Love Minus Zero (Love)
  6. California (blues)
  7. She Belongs to Me (Love)  See also “She Belongs to Me – the reinterpretation of Greek Mythology”
  8. It’s all over now baby blue (Song of Farewell)
  9. Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream (Beat poetry as rock music)
  10. On the Road Again
  11. Maggie’s Farm
  12. It takes a lot to laugh it takes a train to cry (aka Phantom Engineer)*see below
  13. Sitting on a barbed wire fence
  14. Like a Rolling Stone (Song of Disdain)
  15. Why do you have to be so frantic (Lunatic Princess). 
  16. Tombstone Blues
  17. Desolation Row (Political protest; It’s not the world, it’s how you see the world)
  18. From a Buick 6 (I got this woman who does everything)
  19. Can you please crawl out your window? (Song of Disdain)
  20. Positively Fourth Street (Song of Disdain)
  21. Highway 61 Revisited (Blues)
  22. Just like Tom Thumb’s Blues
  23. Queen Jane Approximately
  24. Ballad of a thin man
  25. Jet Pilot
  26. Medicine Sunday
  27. I wanna be your lover
  28. Long distance operator (Panic because he can’t get through on the phone)
  29. Visions of Johanna (Mystical people in the half light)

*DYLAN AND IT TAKES A LOT TO LAUGH: the series

1966 

Dylan in 1966 the overview: writing songs while the band patiently waits

Highlight of the Year: One of us must know.   Not most people’s choice, indeed probably no one’s choice by mine, but this song takes one of the three fundamental themes of pop (lost love – the other two are love and dance) and gives it a totally new twist. A completely new way of saying farewell.

  1. Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
  2. “Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands”.   See also  Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands
  3. Tell Me Momma
  4. Fourth Time Around
  5. Leopard skin pill-box hat
  6. One of us must know (sooner or later)
  7. She’s your lover now (disdain)
  8. Absolutely Sweet Marie
  9. Just like a woman
  10. Pledging my time
  11. Most likely you go your way and I’ll go mine
  12. Temporary Like Achilles
  13. Rainy Day Women
  14. Obviously Five Believers
  15. I want you
  16. Definitively Van Gough (hotel song)
  17. Don’t tell him. (hotel song)
  18. What kind of friend is this? (hotel song)
  19. If you want my love (hotel song)
  20. If I was a king (hotel song)
  21. I can’t leave her behind (hotel song)
  22. On a rainy afternoon (hotel song)

1967

Dylan in 1967: the overview.   A year of two, or maybe three halves.

Highlight of the year: Drifter’s Escape.  It has but one line of music, but takes the impressionism of Johanna into a totally new context at yet another level.  This world is not real.  This world makes no sense.  This world offers hope to the lost: the problem is finding the door.

In terms of the Basement Tapes songs, I am taking the comment on page 40 of the accompanying notes which says, “We’ve decided to place all the tracks in relatively chronological order based on Garth Hudson’s numbering system. A bonus disc was added for the tracks that are of historic importance but have very poor sonic quality.”

Because most of the time I don’t have other information as to the time of recording the songs on the “bonus disc” [disc six] I can do no more than list the songs in the order that the appear on that disc.  To show that they may be completely out of sequence (although obviously taken from the Basement Tape period of recordings) I have marked them with an asterisk.

I must particularly acknowledge Pat Sludden’s help with this part of the sequence of Dylan’s songwriting, and indeed with his encouragement and support for the whole project.

We are currently adding the songs from the New Basement Tapes Collection.  Since we have no indication of the order that these lyrics were written in I’m just listing them in the order we have them from the album.

  1. Down on the Bottom
  2. Married to My Hack (NBTC)
  3. Kansas City
  4. Spanish Mary
  5. Liberty Street
  6. Nothing To It
  7. Golden Tom Silver Judas
  8. When I get my hands on you (NBTC)
  9. Duncan and Jimmy
  10. Florida Key
  11. Hidee Hidee Ho #11
  12. Lost on the River No 12
  13. Stranger
  14. Card Shark
  15. Quick like a flash
  16. Hidee Hidee Ho #16
  17. Diamond Ring
  18. The Whistle is Blowing
  19. Six Months in Kansas City (Liberty Street)”
  20. Liberty Street
  21. Edge of the Ocean
  22. One for the road
  23. Roll on Train
  24. Under control
  25. I’m guilty of loving you
  26. I’m a fool for you
  27. See you later Allen Ginsberg (1 and 2). 
  28. Tiny Montgomery
  29. Big Dog
  30. I’m Your Teenage Prayer
  31. One’s Man’s Loss
  32. Lock your door
  33. Baby wont you be my baby
  34. Try me little girl
  35. I can’t make it alone
  36. Don’t you try me now
  37. Million dollar bash
  38. Yeah heavy and a bottle of bread
  39. Please Mrs Henry
  40. Lo and behold
  41. Crash on the Levee
  42. Dress it up, Better have it all
  43. I’m not there (lost love, regret)
  44. You ain’t going nowhere
  45. This Wheel’s on Fire
  46. I shall be released
  47. Too Much of Nothing
  48. Tears of rage
  49. Quinn the Eskimo – The Mighty Quinn (surreal characters)
  50. Open the Door Homer
  51. Nothing was delivered
  52. Sign on the cross
  53. Sante Fe
  54. Odds and Ends
  55. Clothes line saga
  56. I’m alright (note: the dating of this song is just a guess).
  57. Apple Suckling Tree
  58. Get your rocks off
  59.  Silent Weekend
  60. Don’t ya tell Henry
  61. Going to Acapulco
  62. Bourbon Street
  63. My Woman She’s a Leavin’.
  64. Mary Lou I love You Too
  65. What’s it gonna be when it comes up?
  66. It’s the flight of the Bumblebee
  67. All you have to do is dream
  68. Wild Wolf
  69. Gonna Get You Now
  70. Two dollars and 99 cents*
  71. Jelly Bean*
  72. Any Time*
  73. Down by the station*
  74. That’s the breaks*
  75. Pretty Mary*
  76. The King of France*
  77. She’s on my mind again*. Note 56 & 57 are reviewed in the same article
  78. On a rainy afternoon* Note this is not the same as  the 1966 song of the same title
  79. I can’t come in with a broken heart*
  80. Next time on the Highway*
  81. Northern Claim*
  82. Love is only mine*
  83. Bring it on home* Note “Bring it on home”, “The Spanish Song” and “The Hidden Song are all reviewed in the same article
  84. The Spanish Song* – see “Bring it on home” above
  85. The Hidden Song** – see “Bring it on home” above
  86. The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest
  87. Drifter’s Escape (There is no cause and effect)
  88. I dreamed I Saw St Augustine
  89. All along the watch tower
  90. John Wesley Harding
  91. As I Went out one Morning
  92. I am a lonesome hobo
  93. I pity the poor Immigrant
  94. The Wicked Messenger
  95. Dear Landlord
  96. I’ll be your baby tonight (original) I’ll be your baby tonight (second thoughts)
  97. Down along the cove

*Songs may not be in the order of composition – see above

**This song appears on the CD but is not listed in the accompanying documentation as being part of the CD.  Either they forgot or were trying to be funny.

1968 

Bob Dylan in 1968.   As his country pulls itself apart, Dylan takes a year out.

Highlight of the year: Dylan can stop.  And stop he did.  After over 100 songs in the past seven years, at a time when it looked as if everything from the arts to politics was changing forever, Dylan just stopped.

  1. Lay Lady Lay

1969 

Bob Dylan in 1969: everything is lovely

Highlight of the year: Dylan can change.  I can’t pick a song from the list of new compositions because nothing here matches what has gone before, and nothing really grabs me as original, new, or overwhelmingly beautiful.  But it was the experimentation with country music that brought Dylan back to songwriting.  Without that twist, he might never have written again.

Please note that the dating of Minstrel Boy is uncertain.  Musically I think it fits in 1969 but it is impossible to prove.  There is more about this in the review

  1. Minstrel Boy
  2. I threw it all away
  3. I don’t want to do it
  4. I’d have you anytime
  5. To be alone with you
  6. One more night
  7. Peggy Day
  8. Country Pie
  9. Tell me it isn’t true
  10. Tonight I’ll be Staying Here With You
  11. Wanted Man
  12. Champaign Illinois
  13. Ballad of Easy Rider
  14. Living the blues

Elsewhere on Untold Dylan

Index of all the songs on the site

Dylan’s opening lines: an index

How Dylan writes songs, and other articles.

The Bob Dylan Project is a jukebox of every Dylan song – and like Untold Dylan it is free.  I hope you enjoy that site too, as they have found us, and adopted us (so to speak).