A Bob Dylan Birthday Celebration in 5 Songs

Bob Dylan backstage at De Montfort Hall on his visit to Leicester, May 1965 | Getty

On May 24, 1941, American legend of song Bob Dylan was born. His music is gold and his lyrics are pure poetry. For example, Bringing It All Back Home, released March 22, 1965 was poetry in motion. The song “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding),” features some of the most captivating lyrics of the century, including “he not busy being born is busy dying.” I’m pretty sure this was in one of my college English literature books. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” is another poetic masterpiece from the album, the instant hit “Mr. Tambourine Man” was widely loved, and the last track, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” is a perfect ending to the album.

Without a doubt, much if not all of his work heavily influenced our culture, but today I’m celebrating Bob Dylan’s birthday with five songs that made a marked impression on me, starting with “Girl from the North Country.”

1) Girl from the North Country

“Girl from the North Country” was released May 27, 1963, on the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Dylan re-recorded the song as a duet with Johnny Cash in February, 1969. I love both and tend to gravitate toward the duet, but today for something a little different, here’s a live version from 1963 recorded at WNBC Studios NYC.

2) Simple Twist of Fate

A long time favorite of mine, this has had many spins in the car and plays on the jukebox. “Simple Twist of Fate” was released on Blood on the Tracks in January 1975.

3) Shelter from the Storm

Another classic I’ve always loved was “Shelter from the Storm,” also from Blood on the Tracks. This one because it may have been the first Bob Dylan song I fell in love with.

4) Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.

From 1963’s The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, this is probably the best break-up song ever, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” This song has been covered by so, so many musicians.

5) Boots of Spanish Leather

Happy birthday, Bob Dylan. Here is another hauntingly sentimental song, “Boots of Spanish Leather” from 1964’s The Times They Are a-Changin’.

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