The 1980s are often seen as the absolute nadir of Bob Dylan‘s career. The man himself has even been very critical of the work he did during the Reagan decade. “I can still play those songs,” he told Rolling Stone in 2004. “But I probably can’t listen to those records. I’ll hear too many faults. I was just being swept along with the current when I was making those records. I don’t think my talent was under control.”
That’s arguably true of 1986’s Knocked Out Loaded and 1988’s Down In The Groove – but in fact, the rest of the Eighties were far from a wash for Dylan. He worked consistently through the decade and released a wide variety of material. Some of it’s pretty bad – avoid “Trust Yourself” and “Rank Strangers” at all costs – but there are tons of hidden gems from that period. Here are our picks for 20 classics from Dylan’s Eighties. Listen to the Spotify playlist as you read, and share your own favorite Dylan songs from this era in the comments section.