Did Bob Dylan Release Any Good Albums After the 1960s?

Bob Dylan performs during the Vieilles Charrues Music Festival on July 22, 2012, in Carhaix-Plouguer, France.

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Answer by David Stewart:

Even if Dylan died or quit music altogether in 1970, he still wouldn’t be overrated. He changed music when he popularized folk and then changed it again when he went electric and helped invent folk-rock. He created a body of work in that decade that contains more great songs that most artists manage in their entire careers.

But he didn’t stop, and he’s the only artist I can name who has released a truly classic album in every subsequent decade.

In the ’70s, he released Blood on the Tracks, which was a No. 1 best-selling album. It was No. 16 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the greatest albums of all time, and there are many who consider it his finest. Many regard it as among the best, if not the best, albums of the 1970s.

The 1980s weren’t great to Dylan, but he did come back strong at the end with Oh Mercy, which most publications include in the upper reaches when listing the greatest albums of the ’80s. It’s a brilliant piece of work, and although a lot of albums released in the ’80s are being re-evaluated today as a bit dated and products of their time, Oh Mercy holds up extremely well and is often reassessed as a classic album by those who wrote it off when it came out.

In the late 1990s, Dylan started his late renaissance, which saw him release a string of critically acclaimed masterpieces. The first was 1997’s Time Out of Mind, which won the Grammy for album of the year. It’s No. 408 in Rolling Stone’s list of the best albums of all time and many people’s selection for best album of that year.

In 2001, Love and Theft was another critical triumph. It’s No. 385 on Rolling Stone’s list of great albums, and several publications listed it as among the best albums of the decade. A few years later Modern Times debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. It was a huge seller, Grammy winner, and No. 204 on the Rolling Stone list. It was Rolling Stone’s album of the year, and it made many other critics’ lists of albums of the year and the decade.

You could forgive Dylan for resting on his laurels late in his life, but he continued his incredible run with 2012’s Tempest, which was another critically acclaimed best-seller regarded by many as among the best albums of the year.

In addition to his run of classic albums from the ’60s, Dylan has also released at least one classic album in every decades since. Nobody else has managed to match that achievement.

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