In honor of Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday, I decided to listen to all of his “official” recordings in order. This is a bit trickier than it sounds, because: (a) I want to order them by recording date(s), rather than release date, and (b) I want to include all the Bootleg Series releases. So, for example, I’m treating the Basement Tapes as coming between Blonde on Blonde and John Wesley Harding and using the Bootleg Series version. I’m doing the obvious thing with concert recordings (including in the Bootleg Series), slotting them in by the date of performance. The tricky part is compilation albums, like Biograph and The Bootleg Series Volumes 1-3, which collect recordings from a range of time. My plan is to not commit to any particular strategy for these, but to listen to individual songs in their proper order. For example, I’ll listen to Blind Willie McTell with Infidels, Series of Dreams with Oh Mercy, etc.
There’s obviously no way for me to capture what it was like to listen to these albums as they came out. (By the way, I guess I started listening to Dylan about 1975, and I think the first album I got was Blood On The Tracks… I’m pretty sure I still have that LP. Probably Highway 61 Revisited, Bringing It All Back Home, and The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan came next, maybe in that order.) But I want to try to simulate this to whatever extent I can.
I don’t know how fast I’ll get through the albums, but let’s get started!