Bob Dylan in 1976: a year of pause and reflection

By Tony Attwood

These short articles which aim to summarise what Dylan was up to in terms of songwriting have a particular problem in that sometimes in terms of new compositions Bob did very little indeed.  1976 is a year in point.

1975 was the year of a very productive collaboration which produced works of a totally different type from Dylan.   Looking ahead to 1977 we can see another productive period which gave us…

  1. Changing of the Guards
  2. Is your love in vain?
  3. Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)
  4. No Time to Think
  5. True Love Tends to Forget
  6. We better Talk this Over
  7. Where are you tonight?

Now these are songs that are of a very different type, and so the simple answer to the question of why he wrote nothing in the year inbetween such productive periods is that Bob needed time to stop and refresh.

But also we know that Bob and Sara divorced in June 1977, which means 1976 has to be seen as a year of turmoil and uncertainty, during which Bob almost certainly didn’t feel in any way at ease and relaxed enough to compose.   Not that the compositions of 1977 are very relaxed – far from it in fact – but sometimes anger and tension can be channelled into composition as much as love and relaxation.

So 1976 gives us one song: Seven Days a song of lost love, and nothing more.  But at least we now know, in the year after we got Bob the composer back again.

Dylan Year by Year, decade by decade

The Chronology Files: These files put Dylan’s work in the order written.  You can link to the files here

An index to every song reviewed on this site is on the home page – just scroll down.

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