It is impossible to overstate Bob Dylan's cultural legacy. As he releases Rough and Rowdy Ways - his 39th studio album - this weekend, it's worth remembering that he has been delivering music for seven decades and his debut album came out seven months before The Beatles released their first single.
The 79-year-old is a giant of song who helped shape what a singer-songwriter could be, and his substantial back catalogue boasts some of the most celebrated songs in popular music history. He's chopped and changed - and has had some lean years, too - and in his first album since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature, this most poetic of tunesmiths is still relevant, still inspiring, still shaping his own remarkable legend.
Here are 10 songs that offer a snapshot of his genius - and foibles - over a life less ordinary.
Song to Woody (1962)
The young Robert Zimmerman learnt his craft by immersing himself in the recordings of masters such as Pete Seeger. But it was Woody Guthrie who knocked his world sideways. This simple, honest song is his ode to that itinerant tunesmith. It was one of just two original Dylan compositions on his self-titled debut and it signalled the arrival of a folk singer who wasn't just uncommonly gifted at reinterpreting other people's songs, but also knew how to fashion tracks to sit with the best of them.
Blowin' in the Wind (1962)
While Bob Dylan remains an impressive debut, his second album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, released in 1963, demonstrated just how special this 21-year-old transplanted from small-town Minnesota to New York really was. The album's most emblematic song, 'Blowin' in the Wind', was its lead single - and came out at the end of 1962 - and it is his first truly great song. It's often seen as a protest song, but it is more an exploratory look at a decade that would prove to be decisive and violent. As the Sixties wore on, many would ask themselves the questions that Dylan poses rhetorically here. They were already calling him the "voice of a generation".
Subterranean Homesick Blues (1965)
Dylan has never been content to simply repeat himself and he has long kicked against the constraints of conventional songcraft - whether it's the structure of songs or the subject matter. Even 55 years on, this pulse-quickener sounds extraordinary - a gutsy, stream-of-consciousness assault that demonstrates Dylan's willingness to throw the rulebook away when it came to penning his very best songs. It's the opening track on Bringing It All Back Home - one of three albums he released in a frenzied 18-month period of creativity (the others being Highway 61 Revised and Blonde on Blonde).
Like a Rolling Stone (1965)
Some years ago, Rolling Stone magazine listed its 500 greatest songs of all time. This was their number one. It's as good a shout as any - one of the seminal artistic achievements of the 20th century. Dylan was just 24 when he delivered this six-minute, 13 seconds tour-de-force - a song that's sneering, passionate, angry, defiant, emotive. Dylan - never one to detail the rationale behind his songs - once said "I wrote it. It didn't fail. It was straight" and it made a strange sort of sense. For many, it was seen to usher in his electric phase - the very notion of plugging a guitar into an amplifier infuriated folk stalwarts then, but Dylan didn't care.
I'll Be Your Baby Tonight (1967)
Just when his audience thought they had Dylan worked out - a folkie-turned-rocker - he changes tack once again. A motorcycle crash forced him to stop the frantic pace with which he both released music and toured. The near-death experience forced him to recalibrate and the resulting album, John Wesley Harding, was a pastoral delight. It still sounds like Dylan reborn, and the sweet song that closes it is the singer at his gentlest. A challenge: try to listen to it without letting the boisterous Robert Palmer-UB40 version go around your brain.
If You See Her, Say Hello (1975)
Want a good parlour game? Grab a bunch of Dylan aficionados and ask them to argue the case for his best album. For me, it's Blood on the Tracks, the album that came in the wake of the end of his marriage to Sara Lownds. It's the break-up album against which all that came after are judged. It's got everything. Regret, bitterness, heartache and raging anger. For the latter, listen to 'Idiot Wind' - a vicious song in which Dylan let fly. But the album's emotional centrepiece is still capable of cutting you up, all these years later. There's no hiding place here - it's Dylan at his tenderest. The super-simple arrangements ensure that his voice is completely to the fore.
Solid Rock (1980)
Even Gods have lean times. Dylan was born into a Jewish family but it was to Christianity he turned towards the end of the 1970s. He never called his new-found religion 'born again', but that was the label that he was saddled with whether he liked it or not. His music certainly reflected his faith and he released a series of albums that even the most fanatical Dylan fan might have trouble with. For atheists, his songs were especially tough to stomach, although there were hints of old greatness among the ordinary. This song - from his most overtly religious album, Saved - is one of his better efforts, but it pales in comparison to the greatness of his earlier work, and what would come later.
Love Sick (1997)
It's true that 1989's Oh Mercy contained songs that suggested that Dylan had found his mojo but his first truly great album in 20 years was Time Out of Mind. It was also his first studio album in seven years and this lead single is quietly electrifying. "My feet are so tired/ My brain is so wired," he sings on a moody, beautiful and sexy song. Dylan fans of a certain hue were shocked when their hero popped up on a TV advert for the lingerie retailer Victoria's Secret, with this song as its soundtrack. Perhaps they shouldn't have been surprised. Back in 1965 when he was asked if he'd ever sell out for commercial purposes, he had a two-word response: "Ladies' garments."
Someday Baby (2006)
Emboldened, surely, by the acclaim that greeted Time Out of Mind, Dylan delivered stellar work in the 2000s including the albums "Love and Theft" and Modern Times. There was a Christmas album, too, but it's one for completists only. Dylan won a Grammy for 'Someday Baby', which he produced himself under the Jack Frost nom de plume. It's sprightly and playful and indicative of Dylan's powers of songcraft as the twilight of his career approached.
Murder Most Foul (2020)
Rough and Rowdy Ways might be his first album of original material in eight years but it's not like he has been slouching in that time. There was Triplicate - his mammoth triple album which saw him reinterpret the great American songbook - and the small matter of playing roughly 100 shows a year, including last year's shared headline gig with Neil Young at Kilkenny's Nowlan Park. But it's great to have him back and the album is a powerful reminder of greatness. The first any of us heard of it was through lead single 'Murder Most Foul'. A 17-minute treatise on the assassination of JFK, it's the sound of a man still bending the rules to suit his art.