43. "Gotta Serve Somebody" (1979)
Sinéad O'Connor: I was about 13 when my older brother Joseph brought home Slow Train Coming, and it just completely blew my mind. People say – and I hope it's not true – that Dylan doesn't stand by that record. It's a staggering album for anyone to make, but especially him.
The song that killed me most was "Gotta Serve Somebody." Living in a Catholic family in Ireland, the only religious music we had ever heard was just awful – so incredibly boring. For that song to come out in Ireland at that time was life-changing. He wasn't giving a lecture. There was a sexuality, almost, in the sound of the guitar and the other instruments.
And the lyrics are brilliant – what he's saying is that whatever you're going to do with your life, you're fucked if you don't stand for something. I quite like that, as a lesson from a master teacher on how to be an artist and also, I suppose, on how to live your life. What he's saying is, "Don't just get into your bed and curl up under the covers. You have to get the fuck up."