Why ‘Blood on the Tracks’ Is Bob Dylan’s Greatest Album of All Time

By 1975, even fans of Bob Dylan at that time would have agreed that he had passed his peak. He embarked on a pretty successful tour in 1974 with his band, but it felt like the inevitable reunion tour to pander to old-school fans of his greatest hits up until that point. He had some killer recent hits like “Forever Young”, but the albums just weren’t charting the way fans (and, probably, Dylan) would have liked.

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Sometimes, it just takes a little bit of personal life drama (and trauma) to create an incredible piece of art. Dylan changed the minds of his detractors and bored fans alike with the release of Blood on the Tracks in 1975. It was Dylan’s 15th album to date, so you wouldn’t expect it to be any artist’s best release. However, it’s widely considered to be the best piece of work of his career.

The Enduring Legacy of ‘Blood on the Tracks’

Blood on the Tracks was written about Dylan’s divorce from his wife, Sara. Just as well, tracks like “Simple Twist Of Fate” and “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” are clearly about his age-old affairs with Suze Rotolo and Ellen Bernstein, respectively. 

And of course, Dylan has implied that the album is not a very personal one. He even made the claim that they were simply inspired by stories by Russian playwright Anton Chekhov. But that, honestly, can’t be true. Dylan’s own son didn’t even believe it.

“The songs are my parents talking,” Jakob Dylan said of the album.

There’s no denying it. The album is an emotional rollercoaster written from the perspective of a man who has loved and lost.

Blood on the Tracks drips with heartbreak and pain. The title of the album is very appropriate for what listeners were in store for. The one link between each and every song is the agony that comes with falling in love and watching that love shrivel up and die.

It’s the pinnacle of breakup albums, and it’s by far Dylan’s magnum opus. Even if he doesn’t want to admit it.

Photo by PL Gould

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