He didn’t sell as many records as The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, but Bob Dylan might very well have been the most influential musician of his generation. His songs defined the 1960′s, a decade marked by social chaos and a rising counter culture.
Dylan began his career as a folk singer in the mold of Woody Guthrie, and soon became known his protest songs, which were championed as anthems by the younger generation. Despite the acclaim, Dylan continued to change his musical approach, consciously distancing himself from his “finger-pointing” songs as he described them, and began exploring more complex and mature works. Strongly influenced by beat poets such as Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, Dylan’s lyrics were marked by his incredible ability to weave poetry into both his topical works and his later stream of consciousness narratives.
Dylan irrevocably altered the parameters of popular music in a way few performers ever have. He brought a sense of seriousness, poetry, and ambition that changed the way pop songs were written.
When going through his immense collection of albums, thirty five in all, the most important qualities to take into account were the significance, lasting, musical attributes, and lyrical merits of each particular album. Of couse given how many classic albums Dylan has turned out, many of them could just as easily have made an appearances but in terms of the aforementioned criteria, these are the top five he ever turned out.
This article was first posted on May 26, 2013