Bob Dylan is 81 today. Back on his life and ranking of his 25 best albums. | Music

Bob Dylan’s career, which spans decades, has seen many ebbs and flows. Armed with an extremely deep knowledge of American music, he first emerged from the Greenwich Village folk scene as a dissenting voice against various institutions of oppression. When he plugged into the Newport Festival in 1965, the world’s biggest protest singer received a backlash himself.

All was forgiven over the next few years as he chained classic album after classic album, gliding from one style or story to the next with unparalleled ease. To this day, he continues to tour and release albums with surprising consistency. Like a modern-day Shakespeare, Dylan has crafted a canon so vast and vital that you don’t have to look behind the curtain to reap its endless rewards. Not to mention his profound influence on a slew of contemporaries, including everyone from the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen. Simply put, the last half century of music wouldn’t be the same without this artist.

To determine the best Bob Dylan albums of all time, Stacker analyzed data from Best Ever Albums (last updated March 2021), where the overall ranking is determined by calculating each album’s overall position from over of 38,000 different album charts. The 38,000 charts referenced are a mix of publication charts (e.g. Rolling Stone, New Music Express, Stereogum, The Quietus) and personal charts. In theory, the longer an album has appeared on the charts and the higher its chart score, the better it will be. Only solo studio albums were considered, meaning there are no live albums, split billings or compilations.

Without further ado, here are the 25 best Bob Dylan albums.

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