By now, Bob Dylan has ascended to a status beyond legendary, and with a 60 year and counting musical career, an Oscar, and a Nobel prize to name but a few accolades, it’s fair to say he’s a revered figure.
The man’s back catalogue is immense - there’s undeniably some chaff in there, but his hits are among the world’s most beloved in genres from rock to folk to protest to country.
With a discography this stuffed, though, some gems are always going to fall by the wayside. We’re not talking here about his duff tracks, of which there are plenty, nor his filler, of which there is plenty more. These are the diamonds that even the most ardent Zimmerman fans don’t get around to praising, being as there is so much great music to discuss first.
Some of these tracks are hidden deep on legendary albums, their shine diminished by the sheer stature of some of the records’ other songs. Some come later in his career when Dylan had slipped from the spotlight, others still from soundtrack work in the artist’s truly prolific days.
The argument over Dylan’s finest songs can rage on into eternity, but these are the tracks that will rarely find their way into such exalted company.
10. Bob Dylan's 115th Dream
Bringing It All Back Home is a landmark album for Dylan as he makes his controversial jump from electric to acoustic. The first half of the record contains some of his most famous early rockers, the second half some devastating classic folk.
He actually illustrates the jump at the midpoint on the comical but delightful “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream”, a wild retelling of the “discovery” of America, with allusions to The Beatles, Moby-Dick, and the singer’s pancake preference.
For most artists, trying to be funny is a big mistake, but Dylan’s lightness of touch, freewheeling lyrics, and joie de vivre makes “115th Dream” the perfect palette cleanser for an album that deals mostly in anger and formal daring.
It also features one of the most charming moments in the singer’s career. Dylan starts off the track as normal, just him and his guitar, before something tickles producer Tom Wilson, who bursts into laughter, stopping the take. Dylan calls an audible, and they restart, this time with a full band backing him up.
It’s a changing of the guard in the most incongruous of fashions.