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…


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.

*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.


1989: Bob Dylan stalked by the darkness

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