|Bob Dylan performing in Rotterdam (Wikipedia)|
Everyone will agree that Bob Dylan has become more than just one of the greatest American musicians of all time but succeeded to reach the status of a true legend during his lifetime.
He has changed the course of popular music to the point where there is now a time before and a time after Bob Dylan in contemporary music history.
While I am one of his millions of followers that will defend the fact that he is the best singer-songwriter of all time, when the question of "what songs are actual Bob Dylan hits" was raised at a friend's party late last Saturday night, everyone was pretty confident they had the answers.
His #1 hits would have to be: Mr. Tambourine Man, Knocking On Heaven's Door and Like A Rolling Stone.
Well I did some research a little while after and came up with these more or less surprising facts ... and let's get this straight right away: I will only be talking here about songs written and interpreted by Bob Dylan, and my research is limited to the US top 100 chart.
1) The first fact I discovered is that the greatest singer-songwriter of all time never actually reached the number one spot, ever. But our assumptions as to which songs are Bob Dylan's ultimate hits were part right.
His top song, peaking at #2, is indeed Like A Rolling Stone (which stayed 12 weeks in the charts while the other song he has that ranked similarly but lasted only 10 weeks is Rainy Day Women #12 and 35). Knockin' On Heaven's Door is his 5th greatest hit peaking at only #12 while Mr. Tambourine Man never made the top 100 chart.
2) Besides the above mentioned Like A Rolling Stone and Rainy Day Women #12 and 35 that both ranked at #2, Bob Dylan has only two other songs that made the top 10 which are: Lay Lady Lay (peaked at #7 and stayed 14 weeks in the chart) and Positively 4th Street (also reached #7 but only lasted 9 weeks).
3) Bob Dylan's most hit-loaded album is unsurprisingly Blonde on Blonde, considered by many as his masterpiece, with the following tracks besides Rainy Day Women #12 and 35: I Want You, Just Like A Woman, and Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat (respectively reaching #20, 33 and 81).
Second comes Nashville Skyline with 3 songs making the top 100 which are, apart from Lay Lady Lay: Tonight I'll Be Staying Here With You reaching number 50 and I Threw It All Away taking the last spot on Bob Dylan's greatest hits list at #85. His third album with the most hits is Desire with singles Hurricane (Part I) (#33) and Mozambique (#54).
While it is clear that there are not so many actual Bob Dylan hits and that the man is not one of the best selling artist of all time he remains the greatest proof that a real artist can have a huge success and still stand above such figures.
If you like Bob Dylan than you might also check out Frans Schuman. His first two albums are made of harmonica and guitar only tracks. Some are folk songs and some have a different feel. But I think you might like it. Click here to download a copy of his latest single for free.
Cheers, Johnny Clark.
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