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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40. "I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine" (1967)

This deliciously ambiguous hymn riffs on the opening line of "Joe Hill," a folk standard about a labor organizer and songwriter who was executed (and probably framed) for a double murder. Dylan replaces folkie certainty with layered complexity: St. Augustine is a martyr, but the narrator places himself "amongst the ones/That put him out to death," and it's never clear if we should sympathize with Augustine or Dylan or anyone at all. What we do know for sure is Dylan's tattered, slightly out-of-tune intensity. It's an earnest gesture of faith in something that he doesn't quite understand.

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