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The 10 Most Underrated Bob Dylan Hits

Everyone's heard of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Like a Rolling Stone," but these 10 songs are some of Dylan's greatest lesser-known hits.

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10. Country Pie

Album: Nashville Skyline (1969)

Listen: here.

Review: I don’t know what it is; the catchy guitar riff and honky-tonk piano only add to the simplicity of the song’s lyrics, but I have fallen in love with this little masterpiece. Dylan brings physical proof that he can create an amazing work of art from almost nothing. He may mention nine different pie flavors and spout a few simple rhymes, but it’s a catchy and danceable song. At a quick minute and a half, Dylan’s “Oh me, oh my’s” feel genuine and fun -- an invitation to kick back on the porch, open a beer, and tap your feet along with good ol’ Bobby D. What more can you ask for?

9. Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again

Album: Blonde On Blonde (1966)

Listen: here.

Review: This song will get stuck in your head. One of Dylan’s most catchy song leads listeners through a seven minute instrumental journey while giving them a chance to appreciate his lyrical genius. For example, plays on words like, “Smoked my eyelids / and punched my cigarette” as well as compelling, concrete images -- “With twenty pounds of headlines / stapled to his chest” -- play out as the organ and guitar juxtapose nicely with the driving 4/4 beat.

8. I Want You

Album: Blonde on Blonde (1966)

Listen: here.

Review: No surprise that Dylan’s two catchiest songs are right next to each other on this list: not only does the track start with an explosive harmonica riff-raff, but the infectious beat and guitar line will have you singing “I Want You” to yourself for days on end. Understandably, the toe-tapping nature of the song is one of its best features, but the imagery created in the song’s lyrics and his lackadaisical, slurring vocal style serve as perfect complements. “But it's not that way / I wasn't born to lose you” he drips as the snare rolls along with the driving beat: “I want you so bad.”

7. Forever Young

Album: Planet Waves (1974)

Listen: here.

Review: One endearing song, two completely different styles. Dylan’s blessings upon his listeners give way to a wish for a youthful life. Back in 1964, Bob Dylan was caught up in an introspective metamorphosis in “My Back Pages;” “I was so much older then / I’m younger than that now” he sang in Another Side of Bob Dylan, but his tone is now gracious and matured in Planet Waves. One of the best parts, though, is the two different versions on the album -- one slow and reassuring, one lively and upbeat -- a complete flow that embodies much of what Dylan’s music would become after 1974.

6. Tombstone Blues

Album: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Listen: here.

Review: Dylan sure can jam; in “Tombstone Blues,” a grimy blues guitar rides along a driving snare and hi-hat, securing the blues rock motive of this impeccable piece. His lyrics are not only filled with numerous Biblical and historical references, but Dylan adds a surreal beauty to them: “The geometry of innocence, flesh on the bone,” may have caused “Galileo’s math book to get thrown,” but Dylan’s unfounded sense of time and place only makes this musical masterpiece that much better.

5. Desolation Row

Album: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Listen: here.

Review: Oh -- that sweet, beautiful guitar. The American Southwestern-style guitar brings images of the American steppes, cowboys, and saloons as Dylan weaves together stories of Biblical, historical, and fictional characters in an epic tale of urban decay and chaos. “Everybody is making love / Or else expecting rain” he sings, pitting his lyrical subjects against the expectations of modern day’s culture -- documenting their eventual fall at Desolation Row. At over 11 minutes long, this meaningful tale secures Dylan’s storytelling ability and impressive musicality.

4. Positively 4th Street

Album: Positively 4th Street 7" Single (1965)

Listen: here.

Review: Not a well-known Dylan hit, but “Positively 4th Street” is one of his best songs. A song about jealousy, rumors, and backstabbing “friends,” Dylan’s cynical tone drips forth from the microphone as a syncopated organ line creates a mirthful tone to the tune’s otherwise begrudging topic. “No, I do not feel that good when I see the heartbreaks you embrace,” he roars, adding “You say you lost your faith, but that's not where it's at / You have no faith to lose and you know it.” A classic middle-finger tune, beautifully executed in all of the grace and power granted by the storyteller’s dissatisfaction.

3. Love Minus Zero/No Limit


Album: Bringing It All Back Home (1965)

Listen: here.

Review: When he’s not rocking out or pointing fingers, Dylan sure knows how to create some of the best love songs of all time. Tranquil, appreciative and slow, Dylan paints a fantastic portrait of his perfect girl. “My love she laughs like the flowers,” he crows, “Some speak of the future / My love she speaks softly.” And softly he does too -- his lyrics are sweet, narrative and true. The determining factor of his relationship with this woman rests on her calming qualities and unconditional love.

2. Queen Jane Approximately

Album: Highway 61 Revisited (1965)

Listen: here.

Review: The quintessential Bob Dylan song. Staccato piano riffs, howling organ chords, and Dylan’s unadulterated cries pour forth a true vision of what it means to create a compelling, lyrical story. An oft-forgotten hit, Dylan pours out his heart in an attempt to give mercy and to notice the lives of those who lost hope. The crying harmonica solo, the pained rhythm guitar, and the vocal variety Dylan uses in this song only make this crude love song even more endearing.

1. Buckets of Rain

Album: Blood On The Tracks (1975)

Listen: here.

Review: Buckets of Rain dances to a lonesome E Major guitar riff base -- a waltzing, melodic love ballad from start to finish. The lyrics are from a man remembering various points of his relationship with a woman who had once loved him, yet not anymore. From sad, to stoic, to nostalgic love pangs, Dylan covers a variety of emotions felt at the end of a lasting relationship. The ending stanza is a familiar farewell -- bringing sorrow, regret, yet a sense of possibly moving on. “Life is sad / life is a bust” but the love remains even though they’re not together anymore. This is one of Bob Dylan's best songs, a beautiful track that evokes emotion and brings music to life.

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