Dylan in Chronological Order of writing
On this site there are reviews of Dylan’s compositions from all parts of his life, up to the most recent writings, but of late I have been trying to put these into chronological order, and fill in the gaps as I work. Originally there was one file, but this got so large I am now breaking it down into decades.
- Dylan songs of the 1960s
- Dylan songs of the 1970s
- Dylan songs of the 1980s
- Dylan songs of the 1990s
- Dylan songs of the 21st century (below)
On this page I am working on Dylan songs written in the 21st century. Of course we know that many of the songs from this period were borrowed from the work of earlier artists (hence the title of the Love and Theft album, which came from a book which appeared in 1993, according to Heylin), but I’m leaving the argument about how many of these are Dylan songs for others to work on.
Also, by this time Dylan’s life had changed, and while it was possible to work out when new songs were written from incidental events, and to trace many songs that were tried out (for example in the sound checks to concerts, or in trial runs in the studio) but never used on record. By the 21st century much of this had gone, songs were harder to create (it seems) and Dylan, as befits an older man, was slowing down.
Highlight of the year: Honest With Me. Love and Theft is a most apt title for the album, but its total Americanisity means that it is hard for non-Americans to be able to associate with it in full. The date for the writing of King of Kings is uncertain although certainly before September 2001.
- King of Kings
- Summer Days (“Love and Theft”)
- Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
- Honest with Me
- Lonesome Day Blues
- Bye and bye
- Floater (Too much to ask)
- Po’ Boy
- High Water (for Charley Patton)
- Cry a While
- Sugar Baby
- Waitin’ for You
Highlight of the Decade: Tell Ol’ Bill. Dylan had tried for decades to match the extraordinary way in which Visions of Johanna had expressed the feeling of the the scene and people he explored in one song, and now finally established it with a perfect balance of lyrics, melody and accompaniment. Where are there, part of the scene. An extraordinary piece of music.
- Tell Ol’ Bill
- Dylan’s “Tell Ol Bill”: roots in a blues ballad, rhymes from the Romantic poets
- Can’t escape from you
- Waiting for the morning light. A possible Bob Dylan / Gene Simmons collaboration
Highlight of the Year: Nettie Moore. At a time when Bob was, by his own admission writing random verses, this evolution of the traditional song takes us back to an earlier Bob, when he thought of men in long black coats and the like.
- Thunder on the Mountain
- Spirit on the water
- Spirit on the water; Riding on the bus. Bob Dylan reinterpreted.
- Rollin and Tumblin
- When the deal goes down
- Someday Baby – Modern Times
- Someday Baby – Tell Tale Signs
- Working Man’s Blues #2: the meaning of the music and the lyrics
- Workingman’s blues # 2 / Bob Dylan. A very personal interpretation
- Beyond the Horizon: the sources and the meaning
- Beyond the horizon / Bob Dylan. An improbable future
- Nettie Moore
- The Levee’s Gonna Break
- The Levee’s Gonna Break / Rain on Love. Reconsidering Dylan’s song.
- Ain’t talkin’
- Huck’s Tune (and When the deal goes down)
Highlight across the two years 2008/9: It’s all good. Bob sums up everything that is wrong with the world in one song based on one chord. This really does tell it as it is, and by and large it is pretty much all over.
- This Dream of You
- Beyond here lies nothing
- My wife’s home town
- If you ever go to Houston
- Forgetful Heart
- Shake Shake Mama
- I feel a change comin on
- It’s all good
- The Love that Faded by Hank Williams and Bob Dylan. (The dating of this is uncertain. The compilation album that included the song to which Dylan wrote the music appeared in 2011.)
For the moment these songs are listed in the order that they appear on the album “Tempest” not in the order they were written. I have at present no details of out takes, or other songs from the era – so if you know of any please do drop me a line: Tony@schools.co.uk
Highlight of the two years: 2011/12: Narrow Way and Long and Wasted Years. Even after all this time Bob can still come out with not just one by two radical re-inventions of the form. Both songs have unique elements in them in themselves make them songs of note – but they are both work so well as pieces of music, it is hard to find words to express what they mean. “Narrow Way” in particular must be one of his greatest blues pieces of all time.
- Duquesne Whistle
- Soon After Midnight
- Narrow Way
- Long and Wasted Years
- Pay in Blood
- Scarlet Town See also Scarlet Town: Tracing Dylan’s song from Pepys to Barbara Allen and The Byrds
- Early Roman Kings
- Tin Angel
- Roll on John