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Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits
Label: Columbia Records
Release: 1999

Rainy Day Women #12 & #25
Blowin’ in the Wind
The Times They Are A-Changin’
It Ain’t Me, Babe
Subterranean Homesick Blues
Mr. Tambourine Man
Like a Rolling Stone
I Want You
Positively 4th Street
Just Like A Woman

Bob Dylan
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When Robert Zimmerman, a young lad in his teens decided to purchase a cheap electric guitar from a Sears’ catalogue in the early 50’s one must wonder if even he knew that in a mere ten years he would be transformed to an internationally known and respected singer and songwriter named Bob Dylan.

     Moving from Minnesota to New York at the age of 18 to establish himself in the folk community, long since trading his electric guitar in for an acoustic, Bob Dylan would eventually visit his elderly hero Woodie Guthrie. Singing him renditions of Guthrie’s own recordings and Dylan’s original work including a tribute to the man named ‘Song for Woody.’ It was in these moments that Bob Dylan discovered his own style as he would move from various Café’s in New York to play for people who would happen to stop by to stadiums and arenas worldwide. Seven albums later, it is all documented here.

     Ten songs to represent seven albums might seem adequate for any other artist, but for Dylan you can’t help but feel short changed. However, as legendary as he is, he has never had a number one single. While a lot of these songs are forever etched in our hearts and memories one might feel as if Dylan just didn’t get fair attention back in his formative years.
     Also, during these 7 years Dylan took huge evolutionary steps in his music. On what is arguably one of his best albums, Bringing It All Back Home, Dylan introduced a back up band into his music, with what would upset many folk purists from then on, electric guitars. It is now standard practice in most cases for folk singers to use electric guitars but in the 60’s it provoked audiences to attempt to move Dylan from stages with boo’s and other torments. Perseverance is one of Dylan’s strengths, he stayed on stage and got through it, and blasted the folk purists who put him down on his next album with the legendary song ‘Positively 4th Street.’

     No Bob Dylan collection would be complete without the inclusion of ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘The Times They Are A-Changing.’ Two songs that would forever change the outlook of the youth that heard them, inspiring revolutionary thoughts and actions. While Dylan will quickly put down any comments on him being a revolutionary or a politically charged songwriter, the influence is undeniable.

     The songs from perhaps Dylan’s finest moment ‘Blonde on Blonde’ never cease to amaze. ‘I Want You’ with is quirky and humorous lyrics always proves to be a good listen. ‘Just Like A Woman’ provides the perfect soundtrack music for any morning-after when a special someone has proved not to be the person you thought she was. Arguably the craziest moment in Dylan’s musical career appears here as well. In the late 60’s Dylan packed his bags and moved to Nashville. This is where work on ‘Blonde on Blonde’ would begin. Frustrated with his heavily Christian influenced back up band that would seemingly never just ‘cut loose,’ he proposed they all smoke pot before entering the studio. The end result was ‘Rainy Day Women #12 and #25.’ It is hilarious hearing the sound of the band, Dylan included, laughing and yelling, sounding as if they are having the greatest of times together.

     Seeing Dylan perform in 2003 at the Forest National in Brussels and The Hammersmith Apollo in London, in 2003; some marriages, career dissapointments, and general upsets later, there seems to be little lost but his voice, which, while faded, can still deliver beyond most expectations. And with the release of his latest work in the year 2000; ‘Love And Theft’ Dylan shows that it is still well within his ability to write a great song. Throughout his 40+ years of making music Bob Dylan is still a relevant part of the music industry and still continues to use his genius and ingenuity to create brilliant and original masterpieces. This is but a mere showcase of one reason why he’s heralded as a legend.

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