100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs

From "Just Like a Woman" to "John Wesley Harding," we count down the American icon's key masterpieces

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18. "Ballad of a Thin Man" (1965)

Dylan has written a lot of mean-spirited songs, but few are funnier or more cutting than this stomping tune about a dude who totally doesn't get it – or even what there is to get. Dylan serves up baffling lines ("You should be made to wear earphones"), then mocks his baffled listeners for not being in on the joke. It's also packed with homoerotic innuendo, from the naked man in the first verse to the sword swallower and the one-eyed midget who show up later on, maybe because nothing's more certain to make straight-laced folks like Mr. Jones uncomfortable. Dylan has addressed the question of the real Mr. Jones' identity many times over the years, but his most convincing answer came in 1985: "There were a lot of Mr. Joneses at that time ... It was like, 'Oh, man, here's the thousandth Mr. Jones.'"

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