Continuing the chronological presentation of my 25 favorite songs…
‘Tangled Up in Blue (Demo)‘ – Bob Dylan (1974)
This song is one of two selections on my list of 25 that refers to a specific version different from the official release. To be fair, Bob Dylan’s ‘Tangled Up in Blue’ would certainly make this list in its initial full-band Blood on the Tracks incarnation as well.
As with Ben Folds, the presence of Bob Dylan on this list of desert island songs was a no-brainer, but the specific song was the struggle.
I was tempted to go with a track from one of Dylan’s early albums — specifically The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan or Bringing it all Back Home — because those are the records I devoured as a young teenager first discovering the Bard.
My favorite tracks on Bob Dylan’s first Bootleg Series release are the demo versions of two other Blood On the Tracks classics.
The first is ‘Idiot Wind,’ which I featured on the blog nearly two years ago. That slow, aching version of a song that became so frantic and angry on the finished record, is one of the finest Dylan recordings I’ve heard.
It’s partner is today’s track, ‘Tangled Up in Blue,’ which hews closer to the final version but is equally enchanting.
In 1975, nine years had passed since the release of Bob Dylan’s last undisputed masterpiece, Blonde on Blonde. During those nine years he had released seven studio albums, two greatest hits collections and a live album.
He had matched his pre-1966 output but it would be hard to argue that any of those seven albums were equal to his first seven. Could it be his best days were behind him?
The answer, which came in the form of Blood on the Tracks, was a resounding no.