Bob Dylan is a folk rock singer-songwriter whose career began in the early 1960s with songs that chronicled social issues like war and civil rights. Although (IMHO) he’s not much of a singer (Joyce Carol Oates wrote of his singing: "…untrained voice, frankly nasal, as if sandpaper could sing"), his enormous catalog of songs have been covered by numerous artists and he has been rightly called "one of the most original and poetic voices in the history of American popular music."
At the time of writing, Bob Dylan wrote this after becoming a born-again Christian. Much of the album deals with Dylan's faith and Christian teachings. It won a Grammy Award in 1979. While the religious nature of the album alienated many of Dylan's older fans, the song still enjoys airplay and has been covered by Mavis Staples, Etta James, Willie Nelson and various blues musicians.
The song’s theme is ultimately a paradox — no matter how wild, free, well off or independent you are — you always will have to serve somebody. The twist is to find meaning in your life by serving God (a.k.a humanity)...
This song was written and sung by Bob Dylan for the soundtrack of the 1973 film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. Released as a single, it reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. Described by Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin as "an exercise in splendid simplicity," the song, measured simply in terms of the number of other artists who have covered it, is one of Dylan's most popular post-1960s compositions. Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.
In 1996 —with the consent of Bob Dylan—Scottish musician Ted Christopher wrote a new verse for "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" in memory of the schoolchildren and teacher killed in the Dunblane school massacre. This has been, according to some sources, one of the few times Dylan has officially authorized anybody to add or change the lyrics to one of his songs. This version of the song, included children from the village of Dunblane singing the chorus in the outro…
"Sometimes the chaos and terrible tragedies that occur in life are so overwhelming it feel like its time to thrown in the towel…"
All Along the Watchtower was written and recorded by Bob Dylan. The Jimmie Hendrix version, released six months after Dylan's original recording, became a Top 20 single in 1968 and was ranked 47th in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. The song is often attributed to inspiration from the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 21, verses 5-9 with its references to princes, a watchtower and horsemen.
Although Every Grain of Sand is certainly not as well known of many of his other songs, many consider it as one of Dylan's finest works due to the haunting imagery of the lyrics. His sense of wonder or awe at the beauty of the natural world (‘In the fury of the moment I can see the Master's hand / In every leaf that trembles, in every grain of sand’) and his deep reverence for the spiritual along with his pain of self-awareness (‘I gaze into the doorway of temptation's angry flame / and every time I pass that way I'll always hear my name’) meld together in a powerful outpouring of agony and awe. YouTube - Listen
Biblical references in Every Grain of Sand include: