It starts with Like A Rolling Stone and ends with Desolation Row. The compromise acoustic side of Dylan’s first 1965 classic, Bringing It All Back Home, has been jettisoned. Released in August, as he began the long war of his jeered electric world tour with The Hawks, rock music had arrived: the British Invasion brought back home, made folk-literate, and steeped in acid-surreal Americana. The record has a rangy, wide-open sound, riding on Al Kooper’s organ, and punched home by the relentless, rough-grained attack of Dylan’s voice – the most unapologetic, punk sound of the 60s. The emotional and actual fascism which haunt the lone acoustic epic, Desolation Row, would be pumped up by Elvis Costello a decade later, but its romantic yearning cuts Highway 61’s cocky assault with kindness. NH
Runners-up: John Coltrane A Love Supreme, The Beatles Rubber Soul, The Beach Boys Today!, Otis Redding Otis Blue, The Who My Generation, BB King Live At The Regal.