If Bob Dylan ended the ‘60s by permanently jacking in music to be a fishmonger, the poetic majesty of the songs he wrote during that decade would ensure he was still remembered as its most potent, literate artist, and one of the seminal figures in twentieth century popular music. Instead, he wrote an inoffensive album of country songs, went to study painting, and muse on his disintegrating marriage. By 1975, he was working on Blood On The Tracks, a bitter, wrenching album clearly informed by that emotional turmoil, no matter how vehemently the ever-gnomic Dylan denied it – as late as 2004, he was still mysteriously asserting it was mostly inspired by Chekhov’s short stories. With his follow-up, ‘76’s Desire, he abandoned the pretence, and produced a piece of keening balladry addressed to his soon-to-be ex-wife. ‘Sara’, like the songs on Tracks, drew its stark impact from the fact it saw its secretive creator depart so radically from the guarded, elusive metaphors and allusions that characterised his previous work, and smack us round the face with something so bluntly emotional.
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