Friday, May 8, 2009

Bob Dylan 8: Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits

With their cash cow laid up in Woodstock, either a brain-damaged vegetable or on the verge of signing with MGM, Columbia made sure to keep Dylan on the charts with that old standby, the greatest hits album. At least this time they came up with something listenable, which wouldn’t always be the rule.
All but three of the songs chosen for Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits had actually been released as singles in the US, so the title wasn’t totally misleading. But in many of the cases, the average radio listener would have been more familiar with the more commercial versions by the likes of the Byrds, the Turtles and Peter, Paul & Mary. (To this day it’s not uncommon to hear people say they like Dylan songs when sung by anyone but their author.)
Even so, each of the ten tracks has passed into the general vernacular. Protest anthems like “Blowin’ In The Wind” and “The Times They Are A-Changin’” sit comfortably alongside such electric hits as “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and “Like A Rolling Stone”. The stark “It Ain’t Me Babe” contrasts nicely with “I Want You” and “Just Like A Woman”. And besides being a very well-sequenced compilation, with songs collected from six different records, it also includes the first album appearance of “Positively 4th Street”, another stinging putdown disguised by a relatively pleasant keyboard accompaniment.
For the mildly curious, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits is a great place to start. But once you’ve worn it out and moved on to the albums proper, this one may not get pulled out of the rack as often. But it will, and it will be enjoyed.

Bob Dylan Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits (1967)—4

4 comments:

  1. This was the first album I owned (but not the first I heard), so it still gets pulled out.

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  2. The iconic Milton Glaser poster that was included with the album deserves mention.

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  3. Liuzhou: I've amended the post accordingly.

    Gary: my copy of the LP (purchased some time after original release) didn't have it, but I did acquire it. And I believe it's reproduced in the current CD packaging, yes?

    Thanks for the input, folks! Keep reading!

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  4. Just came from a lawn sale where I purchased this album for 1.00. Low and behold the iconic poster was still inside in pristine condition. I just can't stop smiling. It will hang in my daughter's room where it greet her upon her return from college. She is into Dylan, Mitchell, CSNY and lots of my old music. I purchased 22 great old albums. I feel as though I have found a long lost friend.

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