50 Shades of Blonde


So – following on (belatedly) from the vexed question of whether The Beatles’ White Album could do with a bit of pruning. The equally puzzling (not to say pointless) question of whether Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde would have made a perfectly serviceable single album. Or possibly an EP.

I think there’s something like a consensus that B on B hasn’t stood up as well as Highway 61 as a coherent, self-contained piece of work. Still, everyone (who likes Dylan) has some favourite tracks. Visions of Johanna is sometimes cited as his best lyric.  Just Like a Woman was ranked at 232 in a Rolling Stone list of “Greatest Songs of All Time”. Erm… Some of the others are quite good too.

Keepers? Throw-awayers? Do you ever play the thing all the way through any more? Or just pick out the songs you like on iTunes? Or what?


“Bob? Do you ever feel like you’ve got the highway blues?”


There is also – once again – a Youtube playlist of cover versions. I have omitted James Blunt’s version of “I Want You” even though I quite like it myself. What I’ve ended up with is, I think, a bit less varied than the Beatles’ covers. Which probably reflects the original albums. Both rather sprawling but one veering wildly from genre to genre and the other ploughing a straighter furrow. The first makes for more intriguing covers I reckon. I think I prefer the female singers, especially the Black female singers take on the Dylan songs. Maybe you disagree…

Suggestions and links to versions I should have included welcome. I have finished with two different versions of Sad Eyed Lady. Both, in my opinion, better than the original. There, I’ve said it.

Let the apathy commence.






16 thoughts on “50 Shades of Blonde

  1. I like ‘I Want You’ but it’s a long way from my favourite Dylan album and I don’t feel qualified to comment much really!

  2. Having admitted I’ve never heard The White Album I have to admit I’ve never heard Blonde on Blonde either. I’m not much of a Dylan fan; I do like “Just Like a Woman” but I prefer Dylan’s version to Nina Simone’s. Sorry, not very edifying.

  3. Love the Yo La Tengo cover! Not sure about B on B. I’m not crazy about Rainy Day Women, although I like the name of the song. I’ll have to listen to the album again and get back to you!

    • Me neither. The track listing is like reading a series of hits. Leopard Skin Pill Box is my favourite from that album.

  4. Probably my least favourite Dylan album, at least of the classic period; don’t like Rainy Day Woman, deeply dislike the lyrics of Just Like A Woman, really not keen on Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat. Since those are ones that most people would want to keep, I’m not sure slimming it down to a single album would improve my opinion…

    Sorry if that’s a bit bad-tempered, but I’m currently entering the third hour of a meeting that shows no sign of finishing any time this week…

  5. In a box of precious jewels, some diamonds may appear ordinary. But they’re still more brilliant than almost everything in every other box.

  6. Just to add that I will be returning to the original album to listen again to Pledging My Time, Obviously 5 Believers and Temporary Like Achilles, none of which I particularly rated before. I suspect i shall still prefer the cover versions but one never knows.

  7. I’m another one who hates the lyrics of Just Like A Woman. Favourite tracks include Visions of Johanna and Stuck Inside of Mobile. I’ll try to listen to the covers list today.

    • Yes – I hope this works.

      Track 3 – Marianne Faithful’s version of Visions of Johanna – seems to have been deleted so I’ve replaced it with one by Margot Cotten. Which is a good enough version but I did really like Marianne’s.

      Incidentally – is it the whole lyric of Just Like a Woman that people dislike or is it just the chorus? Of course, with typical perversity, when Dylan was asked if it was written about any woman in particular he said “it was written about a man”.

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