Dylan songs of the 21st century

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.

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.



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.



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.


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.



  • 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.


Post 2016