Bob Dylan – Blood On The Tracks: #326 of best 1,000 albums ever!

So why is Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

I’ve been on a Martin Scorsese binge of late, though in truth it’s never long before I’m drawn back to one of his films – particularly Goodfellas, which for decades has been my favorite movie of all time.

With the buzz around his latest, Killers of the Flower Moon, I felt a desire to go a little deeper into his catalog than I ever have before. I finally watched Raging Bull all the way through (and could not have been more impressed), and revisited Gangs of New York, which I had only seen once (and don’t think I’ll ever sit through again, I’m all good there).

I also watched the documentary, Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story, for the first time.

The documentary itself is more interesting than enthralling, but if you’re a fan of Bob Dylan, it’s a must watch for the live concert footage. It’s Dylan at his mesmerizing peak, and I was completely blown away by his intensity and presence on stage.

I was so impressed, in fact, that had I seen Rolling Thunder Revue prior to completing the crazy ranking process for this here best 1,000 albums ever project, I’m pretty sure Desire (#462 of best 1,000 albums ever), released in 1976, would have been ranked considerably higher.

Blood On The Tracks, considered by many to be a Dylan masterpiece (and there it sits all the way up at #9 on Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums list), was released a year earlier in 1975, and is a somewhat quieter affair all told versus Desire or the Rolling Thunder tour. It’s usually referred to as a breakup album of sorts (Dylan was estranged from his wife, Sara, at the time), though the typically opaque Dylan has denied that the album is autobiographical in nature.

As the lengthy “Hurricane” is the iconic all-timer on Desire, I find the nearly eight-minute long “Idiot Wind” to be the towering achievement on Blood On The Tracks. The rollicking organ meshes incredibly well with a Dylan performance that reminds me some of his Rolling Thunder intensity, and the melody feels in line with his greatest 1960s hits.

I find “Tangled Up In Blue,” the album’s opener, to be end-to-end gorgeous, with vintage Dylan narrative lyrics. Each little story ends with the song’s title: tangled up in blue.

I muttered something underneath my breath
She studied the lines on my face
I must admit I felt a little uneasy
When she bent down to tie the laces of my shoe
Tangled up in blue

If there’s a single 1970s song that’s associated with Dylan to this day, it may well be “Shelter From The Storm.” I like it fine, but it’s not nearly my favorite ‘70s Dylan song, and that even goes for Blood On The Tracks. In terms of the quieter material, I far prefer the sweet and moving “Buckets of Rain,” which has the feel of an old timey folk blues number.

Some stats & info about Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Singer Songwriter, Album Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – #9
  • All Music’s rating – 5 out of 5 stars
  • When was Blood On The Tracks released? 1975
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #326 out of 1,000

Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Idiot wind, blowing every time you move your mouth, blowing down the back roads headin’ south.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.