Born on May 24, 1941, Bob Dylan’s multigenerational career has undergone numerous ebbs and flows as the artist evolved with and responded to the world around him. Armed with an intensely deep knowledge of American music, Dylan first emerged from the Greenwich Village folk scene as the voice of dissent against various institutions of oppression. When he plugged in at the Newport Festival in 1965, the world’s foremost protest singer received some backlash of his own.
All was forgiven over the following years as he churned out classic album after classic album, sliding from one style or story to the next with unparalleled ease. To this day, he’s still touring and putting out albums with surprising consistency. Like a modern-day Shakespeare, Dylan’s created a canon so vast and vital that one need not peer behind the curtain to reap its endless rewards. That’s not to mention his profound influence on a slew of contemporaries, including everyone from The Beatles to Bruce Springsteen. Put simply, the last half-century of music wouldn’t be remotely the same if not for this artist.
To determine the best Bob Dylan albums of all time, Stacker analyzed data from Best Ever Albums (last updated May 2022), where overall rank is determined by calculating the aggregate position of each album from more than 38,000 different top albums charts. The 38,000 charts referenced are a blend of publications’ charts (e.g. Rolling Stone, New Music Express, Stereogum, The Quietus) and people’s personal charts. In theory, the more charts an album has appeared on and the higher its Best Ever Albums score, the better it will be. Only solo studio albums were considered, meaning no live albums, shared billings, or compilations.
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