1. ‘Visions of Johanna’
“Voices echo, ‘this is what salvation must be like after a while’/But Mona Lisa must’ve had the highway blues/You can tell by the way she smiles.”
Widely acclaimed as Dylan’s greatest writing achievement, “Visions of Johanna” is a rich exploration of love subtly interlaced with mystery from his 1966 album “Blonde on Blonde.”
2. ‘The Times They are A-Changin”
“If your time to you is worth savin’/Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone/For the times they are a-changin’”
This song possesses an inherently uplifting nature, setting forth an enduring message of the positive value of change. Given the context of the turbulent mid-1960s when the song was released, Dylan’s lyrical power is incredible.
3. ‘Like a Rolling Stone’
“How does it feel/How does it feel/To be without a home/Like a complete unknown/Like a rolling stone?”
One of Dylan’s most popular songs, “Like A Rolling Stone,” contains relatable lyrics that convey his own weariness after his taxing tour of England in 1965.
4. ‘Shelter From the Storm’
“‘Twas in another lifetime, one of toil and blood/When blackness was a virtue and the road was full of mud/ I came in from the wilderness, a creature void of form”
These beautiful, expressive lyrics authentically convey Dylan’s raw emotion, weaving together a story of loneliness, chaos and isolation.
5. ‘Masters of War’
“Come you masters of war/You that build all the guns/You that build the death planes/You that build the big bombs/You that hide behind walls/You that hide behind desks/I just want you to know/I can see through your masks”
This song, written in 1963, sees Dylan at his most political, using the power of American folk-music to criticize the military-industrial complex. The song’s true power came later when the nation became embroiled in the Vietnam War.
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