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AutoplayNobel Prize Day: 10x Bob Dylan

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Today, the 10th of December 2017, it'll be 116 years ago that the first Nobel Prize was awarded. The awards were established in the will of the Swedish scientist Alfred Nobel. Prizes are awarded in Chemistry, Peace, Literature, Physics, Medicine and Psychology. Last year The Nobel Prize in Literature was awarded to Bob Dylan. Let's look at his 10 best live tracks to see that he deserved it!

10. Hurricane, 1995

Bob Dylan was born as Robert Allen Zimmerman in 1941. His influence on pop music can't be overestimated: 5 decades of artists from the whole world listened to Dylan. 'Hurricane' is a protest song about the imprisonment of boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter. The man was charged with triple murder in 1966. In the years that followed, controversy emerged over his case. It ranged from allegations of faulty evidence to an unfair trial. About 9 years later, Dylan wrote this song to express his own doubts about the conviction.

9. Mr. Tambourine Man @Newport Folk Festival, 1964

This recording is from the early years of Bob Dylan, he was only 23 years old at the time. 'Mr. Tambourine Man' was one of the songs on his fifth album Bringing It All Back Home. This song has been covered by many others: The Byrds, Judy Collins, Odetta, Melanie and William Shatner. The song was even translated in other languages and has been used in television shows, movies and books. The song received a Grammy Hall Of Fame Award in 2002.

8. Knockin' On Heaven's Door @MTV's Unplugged, 1995

'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' was originally recorded for the soundtrack of the movie 'Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid'. Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin describes the song as "an exercise in splendid simplicity". If we could measure the popularity of a song by the amount of times it was covered, 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' was a huge hit. Artists as Eric Clapton and Guns N' Roses have made their own version.

7. Don't Think Twice , It's All Right, 1999

It's no secret that Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan are fans of each other. They've played together many times. 'Don't Think Twice, It's All Right' was released in 1963 as a part of the album Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. Writer Nat Hentoff calls the song "a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better ... as if you were talking to yourself". The song was also featured on several of Dylan's greatest hits compilation records.

6. Blowin' In The Wind, 1963

"The answer my friend is blowing in the wind" is probably one of the most famous Dylan lyrics. This line has been described as "impenetrably ambiguous: either the answer is so obvious it is right in your face, or the answer is as intangible as the wind". It is often called a protest song, but in fact it only poses some rhetorical questions about freedom, war and peace. 

5. The Times They Are A Changin' @The White House, 2010

About 7 years ago, president Barack Obama invited Bob Dylan to play at The White House. He played a song at The White House's Celebration of Music from The Civil Rights Movement. It was no surprise he accepted the invitation, he openly supported Obama when he was elected in 2008. When it became clear that Obama had won the election, he adressed the crowd at his show in Minnesota: "[Bassist] Tony Garnier, wearin' the Obama button, Tony likes to think it's a brand new time right now. An age of light. Me, I was born in 1941, that’s the year they bombed Pearl Harbor. Well, I been livin’ in a world of darkness ever since. But it looks like things are gonna change now . . . ".

4. Like A Rolling Stone, 1986

Bob Dylan wrote 'Like A Rolling Stone' in 1965, at the age of 25. The lyrics are somewhat confrontational. Dylan wrote the verse when he came back exhausted from a grueling tour of England. When he recorded the song, Dylan wasn't pleased with the result. His label, Columbia Records, was also unhappy, especially about the length of the song (over 6 minutes). Both Dylan and Columbia were hesitant to release it. It was only when a copy was leaked to a popular music club and was heard by influential DJs that the single was released. 

3. Idiot Wind, 1976

'Idiot Wind' was part of the album 'Blood On The Tracks' and was released in 1975. The song was written in the summer of '74 after Dylan's comeback tour. Bob Dylan claims that the song's lyrics have nothing to do with the strained situation of his marriage to Sara Dylan. However, his son Jakob has stated in several interviews that "the songs are my parents talking". The song reached number 16 on American Songwriter Magazine's 'The Greatest Bob Dylan Songs'.

2. Desolation Row @Oslo Spektrum, 2017

Dylan wrote 'Desolation Row' in 1965 and made it the closing track on his sixth album 'Highway 61 Revisited'. It famous for his length (11:21) and his extraordinary lyrics. The lines are almost surreal, Dylan weaves characters from history, fiction, The Bible and his own invention into a series of vignettes that suggest entropy and urban chaos. 'Desolation Row' is often named as one of Dylan's best compositions.

1. I Threw It All Away @Johnny Cash Show, 1969

This song is one of the first songs Dylan wrote for his record 'Nashville Skyline'. At the end of 1968, Dylan played the song for George Harrison and his wife. Harrison was immediately moved by the song and decided to learn it himself. Dylan sings about a love that he has lost by being angry and cruel. There has been some speculation on whom Dylan is referring to. Many guess the song's about Suze Rotolo, Joan Baez or Edie Sedgwick. Unlike other songs he wrote about failed relationships, Dylan takes the full responsibility for the failure in this song. 

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The internet is filled to the brim with performances by various artists and bands. Unfortunately, the best live performances are often shadowed by mobile phone recordings with loud shouting audiences in the background. In Autoplay we put the best live performances by an artist in one playlist. So put an end to going through thousands of videos on Youtube; all you need is an update from the Autoplay-list.