Monday, January 20, 1975

Bob Dylan released Blood on the Tracks

First posted 1/17/2012; updated 1/17/2020.

Blood on the Tracks

Bob Dylan

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Released: January 20, 1975

Charted: February 8, 1975

Peak: 12 US, 4 UK, 12 CN

Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, 0.1 UK, 10.0 world (includes US and UK)

Genre: folk rock

Tracks: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Tangled Up in Blue [5:41] (3/8/75, #31 US)
  2. Simple Twist of Fate [4:17]
  3. You’re a Big Girl Now [4:34]
  4. Idiot Wind [7:47]
  5. You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go [2:55]
  6. Meet Me in the Morning [4:21]
  7. Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts [8:52]
  8. If You See Her, Say Hello [4:47]
  9. Shelter from the Storm [5:00]
  10. Buckets of Rain [3:22]

All songs written by Bob Dylan.

Total Running Time: 51:42


4.678 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)

Quotable: “Dylan made albums more influential than this, but he never made one better.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


About the Album:

“Following on the heels of an album where he repudiated his past with his greatest backing band, Blood on the Tracks finds Bob Dylan, in a way, retreating to the past, recording a largely quiet, acoustic-based album.” AMG Inspired by “the collapse of his marriage to Sara Lowndes” RS500 and “recorded after a tour with the Band had apparently re-ignited his creativity, Blood is among Dylan’s masterpieces.” AZ

“This is the sound of an artist returning to his strengths, what feels most familiar, as he accepts a traumatic situation, namely the breakdown of his marriage. This is an album alternately bitter, sorrowful, regretful, and peaceful, easily the closest he ever came to wearing his emotions on his sleeve. That's not to say that it's an explicitly confessional record, since many songs are riddles or allegories, yet the warmth of the music makes it feel that way.” AMG

The album’s best-known song is Tangled Up in Blue, which he once introduced onstage “as taking him ten years to live and two years to write.” RS500 “In fact, he wrote all of these lyrically piercing, gingerly majestic folk-pop songs in two months, in mid-1974. He was so proud of them that he privately auditioned almost all of the album, from start to finish, for pals and peers including Mike Bloomfield, David Crosby and Graham Nash before cutting them in September – in just a week with members of the bluegrass band Deliverance.” RS500 “But in December, Dylan played the record for his brother David in Minneapolis, who suggested recutting some songs with local musicians. The final Blood was a mix of New York and Minneapolis tapes; Dylanologists still debate the merits of the two sessions.” RS500

“The album’s epic songs are well known, but its real high points are the shorter numbers – You’re a Big Girl Now, the flawless blues Meet Me in the Morning, and the sweetly devastating Buckets of Rain. These are songs of ‘images and distorted facts,’ each expressed through tangled points of view, and all of them blue.” AZ

“No one disputes the album’s luxuriant tangle of guitars, the gritty directness in Dylan’s voice and the magnificent confessional force of his writing: in the existentialist jewel Simple Twist of Fate, the wrung-dry goodbye of If You See Her, Say Hello and the sharp-tongued opprobrium of Idiot Wind, his greatest put-down song since ‘Like a Rolling Stone’. RS500

Blood on the Tracks remains an intimate, revealing affair since these harsher takes let his anger surface the way his sadness does elsewhere. As such, it’s an affecting, unbearably poignant record, not because it’s a glimpse into his soul, but because the songs are remarkably clear-eyed and sentimental, lovely and melancholy at once. And, in a way, it’s best that he was backed with studio musicians here, since the professional, understated backing lets the songs and emotion stand at the forefront. Dylan made albums more influential than this, but he never made one better.” AMG

Review Sources:

Related DMDB Link(s):

Saturday, January 4, 1975

Elton John’s cover of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” hit #1 in US

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

The Beatles

Writer(s): John Lennon, Paul McCartney (see lyrics here)

Released: June 2, 1967 (album cut)

First Charted: --

Peak: 3 CL (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): --

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 29.6 video, -- streaming

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Elton John

Released: November 18, 1974

First Charted: November 22, 1974

Peak: 12 US, 11 CB, 12 HR, 11 RR, 1 CL, 10 UK, 14 CN, 3 AU (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, -- video, -- streaming

Awards (The Beatles):

Click on award for more details.

Awards (Elton John):

About the Song:

The Beatles chose not to release any singles from their Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band because “the entire album was meant to hang together as a whole.” SG “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “possibly the most enduring song on the album,” SG has “a fragile spaced-out dreaminess to it” SG which led to rumors that it was an acid song. The initials spelled out “LSD” and the “lyrics are all dazed, hallucinatory meditations on a girl who keeps disappearing and a world where things don’t make sense.” SG Paul McCartney said “drugs did influence some of the group’s compositions…including ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’…[but it’s] easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles’ music.” WK

John Lennon claimed the song was inspired by a painting by his son. SG He said, “My son Julian came in one day with a picture he painted about a school friend of his named Lucy. He had sketched in some stars in the sky and called it ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.’” FB Julian reconnected with the drawing’s muse, his nursery school classmate Lucy O’Donnell, in their adult lives before she died of complications from lupus in 2009. WK

John also explained that “the images were from Alice in Wonderland.” FB The title of the drawing reminded John of the chapter “Which Dreamed It?” in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, in which Alice floats in a “boat beneath a sunny sky.” WK McCartney explained, “We did the whole thing like an Alice in Wonderland idea, being in a boat on the river…Every so often it broke off and you saw Lucy in the sky with diamonds all over the sky. This Lucy was God, the Big Figure, the White Rabbit.” WK

Elton John referred to it as “one of the best songs ever written.” SG When he recorded it, Lennon sang and played guitar under the uncredited pseudonym of “Winston O’Boogie.” Elton’s version “is six minutes long, nearly twice the length of the original. There’s a lot of showy piano-banging. There are tempo changes. There’s a part that’s clearly supposed to sound like reggae. There are many, many repetitions of the song’s title.” SG


  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for The Beatles
  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Elton John
  • FB Fred Bronson (2007). The Billboard Book of Number One Hits (4th edition). Billboard Books: New York, NY. Page 388.
  • SG Stereogum (6/20/2019). “The Number Ones” by Tom Breihan
  • WK Wikipedia

Related Links:

First posted 7/1/2022; last updated 7/13/2023.