Bob Dylan — Greatest Hits

During the second and third years of university I lived at number 11 Alexandra Road, Plymouth. It was a three-storey house, and about a fifteen minute walk to the university buildings. Seven of us lived there.

Most of our time was spent in the lounge playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 (breaking off to watch The West Wing, and then, when Joe and Dave left and Elly and Tam moved in, Sex And The City) and smoking a lot of weed. The latter used to be mostly in the form of passed-around joints, which, given there were seven of us, kept everybody lightly stoned but relatively functional. (That is, until I came back from the Christmas holiday in the second year and found an enormous shisha pipe installed next to the TV. After that, everyone was enormously stoned all of the time and ‘functional’ was defined as being able to locate the TV remote).

During this time we had a CD/tape player and speakers on the table, but for some reason only a handful of albums that went round on a continuous loop: Blue Lines, a Jimi Hendrix compilation, Led Zeppelin IV, Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits, and a tape Elly made which had Little Richard on one side and Peaches on the other. Now when I hear Fuck The Pain Away, the only grinding associated with it in my mind is that of a pixellated skateboarder on a second-hand TV.

The Dylan compilation was almost certainly picked up at HMV or Virgin during one of their ‘X number of classic albums for £30’ promotions, where I discovered so many other great bands and albums. It’s a decent, if short, document of him up to 1966 and the release of Blonde On Blonde. Pretty soon I would have all his 60s albums anyway and this would be relegated to the lower reaches of the CD pile. I actually haven’t even opened the case since about 2002 — I reckon if I ever get hard up there’s probably the equivalent of an eighth lying around in there that I could sell.

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