It’s been sixteen years since Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume 3 was released. Although several near-anthologies of Dylan’s work have been released in Great Britain and the US over that time (both in stereo and original mono), we all know that Dylan is always willing to wrap the same offering in a new package and charge willing fans whatever he wants for it. I wouldn’t be surprised if a fourth installment in the Greatest Hits series was released whenever Dylan takes a well-deserved break from his never-ending world tour.
Bob Dylan is known for spreading compilations over two CDs even though the music would fit on one. That’s so the consumer will perceive more value and justify the high cost. Knowing that, I would offer seventeen songs across two CDs with additional bonus tracks of older material to entice fans to buy early/online. I think this track list would make a good “Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits 4” album covering the material he’s released since 1994.
The studio songs, in chronological order:
- “Trying To Get To Heaven” from the album, Time Out Of Mind.
- “Not Dark Yet” from the album, Time Out Of Mind.
- “Cold Irons Bound” from the album, Time Out Of Mind.
- “Things Have Changed,” released on The Essential Bob Dylan.
- “Mississippi” from the album Love And Theft.
- “Po Boy” from the album Love And Theft.
- “Working Man’s Blues #2” from the album, Modern Times.
- “Make You Feel My Love” from the album, Modern Times.
- “Someday Baby” from the album, Modern Times.
- “Dreamin’ Of You” from the single of the same name.
- “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” from the album, Together Through Life.
- “Dreamer'” from the album, Together Through Life.
The additional bootlegs/outtakes/live recordings in no particular order:
- “Blind Willie McTell,” released on The Bootleg Series, Vols. 1-3.
- “I Shall Be Released,” live recording from The Last Waltz.
- “John Brown” from the live album, MTV Unplugged.
- “Born In Time,” released on Tell Tale Signs.
- “Red River Shore,” released on Tell Tale Signs.
- “Journey Through Dark Heat (Where Are You Tonight)” from Street-Legal.
- “Every Grain Of Sand” from Shot Of Love.
- “Cat’s In The Well” from Under The Red Sky.
That’s 20 songs that would give listeners a taste of what Dylan’s been up to since 1994, as well as introduce them to some standards from a few of his older albums. Of course, the real bonus disc would probably plug The Mono Recordings and The Witmark Demos, but I think Dylan’s people would be better served to focus on his work from the 1970s and 80s. There are some really good songs on those albums that often get lost in the conversation about Dylan’s music. In an age where listeners can cherry-pick one or two songs to download off an otherwise average album, why not try to get some more water out of those overlooked wells?
I’ve written more on Bob Dylan’s music here:
- Born In Time Lyrics (Oh Mercy Outtakes)
- Dylan And A Day In The Mountains
- Bob Dylan’s Best Music: A Cheat Sheet
- A Better Version of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits Volume 3
- I’m Not There (I’m Gone) Lyrics