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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10. "Every Grain of Sand" (1981)

"It's like one of the great Psalms of David," Bono says about "Every Grain of Sand," the spellbinding ballad from Shot of Love that concludes Dylan's overtly Christian songwriting phase. Equal parts Blakean mysticism and biblical resonance, the song abandons the self-righteousness that plagued Dylan's religious work to offer a desperate prayer for salvation. Shadowing Dylan on vocals is gospel great (and Dylan flame) Clydie King: "I get chills when I hear her just breathe," Dylan said. "Every Grain of Sand" taps into a moving humility ("Sometimes I turn, there's someone there, other times it's only me," he sings). As Bono puts it, "Dylan stops wailing against the world, turns on himself and is brought to his knees."

Dylan later described "Every Grain of Sand" as "an inspired song that just came to me ... I felt like I was just putting words down that were coming from somewhere else."

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