Dylan songs of the 1980s

Dylan songs 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, 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.

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).

And you might also enjoy

Dylan’s opening lines: an introductory index

How Dylan writes songs, and other articles.

The 80s…

Undated: Steel and Feathers.  The closest anyone has got to dating this song is to say it comes from the “Shot of Love period” – but such an assertion is not backed up by any evidence.  The best we can do is put it here.


Following the article in which we invented an album called “Dylan 1980” we have made a YouTube video of the songs of this year in the order of composition.  so you can now hear the album as we imagined it.  Just go to our Youtube page and click on Dylan 1980

And the articles that consider this year in depth


Now our normal review of the year


Dylan in 1980: moving from the Christian songs into beauty and confusion.

Highlight of the year:  “Caribbean Wind” with “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Alter” and “Yonder Comes Sin,” running a close second.  “Making a liar” was added in October 2017 when the recording first became available, after the review of the year was written.  In terms of lyrics it is up there with the very best, but it does re-use earlier music.

  1. Street Rock (date uncertain)
  2. Are you ready?
  3. I will love him
  4. Cover Down 
  5. Ain’t gonna go to hell for anybody
  6. Property of Jesus
  7. Every grain of sand
  8. Caribbean Wind
  9. Groom’s still waiting at the alter
  10. Yonder comes sin
  11. Let’s keep it between us
  12. Making a liar out of me
  13. City of Gold


Dylan in 1981: the last gospel songs and the search for a new direction

Highlight of the year: Lenny Bruce, not least for the implications within the song about the role of the outsider in our society.

  1. Shot of Love
  2. You changed my life
  3. Angelina
  4. Heart of Mine
  5. Is it worth it?
  6. In the summertime
  7. Need a woman
  8. Almost Persuaded
  9. Borrowed Time
  10. On a Rocking Boat
  11. Fur Slippers
  12. Give him my all. Date uncertain
  13. Hallelujah Date uncertain
  14. High Away (Ah ah ah)
  15. Wind Blows on the Water
  16. Magic
  17. Dead Man Dead Man
  18. Trouble
  19. Don’t ever take yourself away
  20. Watered down love (wrong link corrected 15 April 2017)
  21. Lenny Bruce
  22. Jesus is the one
  23. Thief on the Cross – the last gospel song


Bob Dylan’s songs of 1982/3: how to ignore a masterpiece.

This article also explains the problems with tracking the chronological order during this two year period.

Highlight of the year:  Blind Willie McTell.  An absolute masterpiece

  1. Jokerman
  2. I and I
  3. I and I – an alternative vision
  4. Clean Cut Kid (Empire Burlesque)
  5. Union Sundown
  6. Blind Willie McTell
  7. Don’t fall apart on me tonight
  8. License to Kill
  9. Man of Peace
  10. Sweetheart like you
  11. Someone’s got a hold of my heart / Tight connection to my heart
  12. Neighbourhood Bully   See also “Neighbourhood Bully: the heart of the matter”
  13. Tell Me
  14. Foot of Pride
  15. Julius and Ethel
  16. Lord Protect my Child
  17. Death is not the end


Bob Dylan in 1984: a brilliant song only once performed.

Highlight of the year:  I once knew a man.  Only performed once, but oh what a song! The new edition of “Tangled up in blue” deserves an honourable mention too.

  1. I once knew a man
  2. Who loves you more
  3. Almost done
  4. I see you around and around
  5. Dirty lie
  6. Enough is enough
  7. Go way little boy
  8. Drifting too far from shore
  9. New Danville Girl / Brownsville Girl
  10. Something’s Burning Baby 
  11. Night after Night (this comes with a health warning)
  12. Tangled Up in Blue:  “Real Live” version (not an original song of course, but enough of a transformation to make it worth mentioning).
  13. I’m ready for love


1985: The year of Dylan not drowning in someone else’s wine

Highlight of the year:  Dark Eyes, although run a very close second with the co-written Well Well Well.

  1. Maybe Someday (Knocked out loaded)
  2. Seeing the real you at last  (Empire Burlesque)
  3. I’ll remember you (Empire Burlesque)
  4. Trust Yourself  (Empire Burlesque)
  5. Emotionally Yours (Empire Burlesque)
  6. Steel Bars 
  7. Well well well
  8. Howlin at your window
  9. All the way down
  10. Moving on the water
  11. Tragedy of the trade
  12. Time to end this masquerade
  13. Worth The Waiting For (date uncertain)
  14. Nothing here worth dying for (date uncertain)
  15. 26 Storeys High (date uncertain)
  16. Won’t go back til they call me back again (date uncertain)
  17. Straight A’s in Love
  18. The Very Thought of You
  19. Baby coming back from the dead (Exact date unknown)
  20. Waiting to get beat (Empire Burlesque outtake)
  21. When the night comes falling from the sky (Empire Burlesque)
  22. Never gonna be the same again  (Empire Burlesque)
  23. Dark Eyes (Empire Burlesque)
  24. Shake (Farm Aid)
  25. Under your spell (Knocked out loaded)
  26. Find Me (After the Empire)
  27.  Right Hand Road Blues (date uncertain)


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

Highlight of the year:  To fall in love with you.  An incomplete and abandoned work of beauty.

  1. Band of the Hand (It’s hell time man)
  2. Rock em Dead
  3. You wanna ramble
  4. Got my mind made up
  5. Jammin Me
  6. Had a dream about you baby
  7. Ride This Train.
  8. To fall in love with you
  9. Silvio*
  10. Ugliest girl in the world*

*These two tracks come from “Down in the Groove” which was recorded between 1983 and 1987.  For the moment I can’t find evidence as to when these songs were written – so I’ve taken my best guess as being 1986 – but even if that is right I can’t say when this year.  If you know please do write in.



Three different but connected triumphs

Highlight of the years:  What good am I, although it could be the final three songs of the year as a trilogy.

  1. ?You can blow mind mind if you want to (Date and provenance uncertain)
  2. Love rescue me (1987)
  3. Congratulations
  4. Political world
  5. What good am I
  6. Dignity 
  7. Handle with care
  8. Dirty World
  9. Heading for the night
  10. Last night
  11. Margarita
  12. Not alone anymore
  13. Rattled
  14. Tweeter and the monkey man
  15. Like a Ship
  16. As we sailed into Skibreen: a Leven / Dylan collaboration. (No exact date for lyrics)


1989: Bob Dylan stalked by the darkness

Highlight of the Year:  Man in a Long Black Coat – the dark takes over

  1. Born in Time
  2. God Knows
  3. Disease of Conceit
  4. What was it you wanted
  5. Broken Days / Everything is Broken
  6. Ring them Bells
  7. Series of Dreams
  8. Most of the Time
  9. TV Talking Song
  10. Where teardrops fall
  11. Shooting Star and see Shooting Star and Hendrix
  12. Man in a Long Black Coat