RANKING ALL 39 BOB DYLAN STUDIO ALBUMS: #7: TIME OUT OF MIND [1997]

A black-and-white photo of Dylan seated in a recording studio holding a guitar

Ranking All 39 Bob Dylan Studio Albums #7- Time Out Of Mind [1997] Bob Dylan’s 30th studio album. Released September 30, 1997. A

The countdown so far 39- Dylan -1973 38- Down In The Groove -1988 37-Knocked Out Loaded- 1986 36-Christmas In The Heart- 2009 35-Under A Red Sky- 1990 34-Saved- 1980 33-Fallen Angels 2016 32- Good As I Been To You- 1992 31- World Gone Wrong 1993 30- Triplicate 2017. 29- Shadows In The Night. 2015 28- Self Portrait 1970- 27- Bob Dylan- Bob Dylan 1962, 26- Empire Burlesque 1985, 25- Street Legal 1978, 24- Nashville Skyline 1969 23- Pat Garrett and Billy The Kid 1973- 22- Shot Of Love 1981 21. New Morning- 1970 20. Rough And Rowdy Ways -2020, #19- Tempest 2012 18. Together Through Life 2009 #17- Another Side Of Bob Dylan 1964 #16 -Infidels 1983 #15- Planet Waves 1974, #14- The Basement Tapes 1975 #13- “Modern Times 2006 #12 Oh Mercy 1989, #11 Slow Train Coming.#10- Desire. #9: John Wesley Harding 1967. #8- ‘Love And Theft’

Bob Dylan’s career has been full of surprises and comebacks- from the mid 60’s when he abandoned folk music and went ‘electric’- to his shocking his fan base with this trilogy of Christian albums in the late 70’s to early 80’s. In the spring of 1997- after a pretty rough decade artistically- Bob Dylan [and his many fans] got a scare when he was hospitalized with a life threatening heart scare which turned out to be something called histoplasmosis- which is a dangerous fungal infection. Dylan made a speedy recovery and said upon leaving the hospital ‘I really thought I’d be seeing Elvis soon.”

In the fall of 1997 it had been seven years since an album of original material had been released- and in a dozen years or so Dylan had released one album of original material that I most would give a thumbs up to- Oh Mercy in 1989. Dylan was now 56 years old- and it seemed that about all you could expect out of him now was for that Never Ending Tour of his to just continue on.

In September of 1997 Time Out Of Mind was released. 11 songs clocking in at 73 minutes- it was an ambitious work. The album had been recorded before the health scare but gives you the impression it was written after he recovered. Dylan deals with songs throughout the album that deal with his mortality. Time is running out. Its a dark album.

The album was an instant success with critics and fans. The album reached #10 in both the US and UK album charts. The album won three Grammy Awards including Album of The Year. The album-now closing in on 25 years old [ which is hard to believe I still think of it as ‘new’] brought Dylan back to relevancy. Looking back before this health scare and the release of the album- it seemed Dylan’s reputation at an all time low. He was becoming a figure of the past. Time Out Of Mind brought him back and I think the life threatening illness made a lot of folks [including myself] realize maybe we should appreciate what we have here- he isn’t going to be around forever. Who would have thought though at the time that 24 years later the Dylan comeback would still be going on in 2021. My friend Helmet and I went to see Dylan a couple of years ago- we had seen him for the first time in 1980. Helmet said something I hadn’t thought about ‘If I had told you in 1980 that we’d be seeing Dylan again nearly 40 years later would you have believed it?”

Back to the album- my favorite song on the album is ‘Not Dark Yet’ followed closely by “Tryin’ To Get To Heaven’ finishing out the Mount Rushmore ” Love Sick’ and “Cold Irons Bound. The final song on the album- clocks in at 16 and a half minutes- “Highlands.” In many cases I think an album running at 73 minutes is too long- in Dylan’s case with Time Out Of Mind’s 73 minutes is just right.

There are now 6 albums to go in the countdown- the newest album of the six was released in January 1975. Five of the six albums left were released in the short period of 1963-66.

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