|Studio album by|
|Released||September 12, 1989|
|Studio||Mobile studio at 1305 Soniat St., New Orleans|
|Bob Dylan chronology|
|Singles from Oh Mercy|
Oh Mercy is the 26th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on September 12, 1989, No. 30 on the Billboard charts in the United States and No. 6 in the UK.by Columbia Records. Produced by Daniel Lanois, it was hailed by critics as a triumph for Dylan, after a string of poorly reviewed albums. Oh Mercy gave Dylan his best chart showing in years, reaching
The composition of the songs at Dylan's home in Malibu and the recording of the album in New Orleans are described by Dylan in detail in the "Oh Mercy" chapter of his memoir Chronicles: Volume One .Engineer Mark Howard noted that Dylan had previously attempted to record the songs with Ronnie Wood but was dissatisfied with the results: "There’s a whole version of Oh Mercy that was recorded with Ron Wood already. But I think Dylan had maybe decided he didn’t like what had happened". In the spring or summer of 1988, U2 singer Bono put Dylan in touch with producer Daniel Lanois and the two agreed to work together although the recording sessions would not commence until early 1989. Dylan biographer Clinton Heylin notes that Dylan finished recording the basic tracks for the album on March 29, 1989 but added new vocals (and other overdubs) for almost all the tracks the following month.
In their book Bob Dylan - All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track, authors Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon call Oh Mercy "a renaissance" for Dylan and write of the recording sessions: "The arrangements are very reminiscent of Yellow Moon by the Neville Brothers, and Dylan eventually got familiar with this particular atmosphere. Lanois claimed Oh Mercy was a record you listen to at night because it was 'designed at night': 'Bob had a rule, we only recorded at night. I think he's right about that: the body is ready to accommodate a certain tempo at nighttime. I think it's something to do with the pushing and pulling of the moon. At nighttime we're ready to be more mysterious and dark. Oh Mercy is about that'. He added that if there was one lesson he learned from Dylan, it was working relentlessly while searching first and foremost for efficiency and speed. And he concluded, 'Oh Mercy was two guys on a back porch, that kind of vibe'. As for the songwriter, he recognized 'There's something magical about this record' and felt sincere admiration for the work of the Canadian producer'".
During a Sound Opinions interview broadcast on Chicago FM radio, Lanois told Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot that "Series of Dreams" was his pick for the opening track, but ultimately, the final decision was Dylan's.Music critic Tim Riley would echo these sentiments, writing that ""Series of Dreams" should have been the working title song to Oh Mercy, not a leftover pendant." "Series of Dreams" would become the final track on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 , and was later included on 1994's Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3 .
"Dignity", another outtake, was performed live during a 1994 appearance on MTV Unplugged , and the same performance was later issued on the accompanying album. A remixed version of "Dignity" featuring new overdubs by Bruce Springsteen's producer Brendan O'Brien was also released on Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3 , while the original Lanois production would not see release until the soundtrack album of the television show Touched by an Angel .
Listed as "Broken Days/Three of Us" on the track sheets, the original version of "Everything Is Broken" was briefly issued on-line as an exclusive download on Apple Computer's iTunes music store. [ citation needed ]In 2008, it was remastered from a better source and reissued on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs . Described by Heylin as an "evocation of a fragmented relationship", the lyrics were later rewritten and overdubbed with new vocals and an additional guitar part.
Two more outtakes, "Born in Time" and "God Knows", were set aside and later re-written and re-recorded for Dylan's next album, Under the Red Sky . Versions of both songs from the Oh Mercy sessions were also included on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs . "The Oh Mercy outtake of 'Born In Time' was one of those Dylan performances that so surrendered itself to the moment that to decry the lyrical slips would be to mock sincerity itself", wrote author Clinton Heylin.
The photo on the cover of the album shows a mural that Dylan came across on a wall of a Chinese restaurant in Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen on 9th Avenue and 53rd Street. The artist, Trotsky, who created the image of two people dancing was located (he lived near the mural) and permission was granted.
|Encyclopedia of Popular Music|
After disappointing sales with Knocked Out Loaded and Down in the Groove , Oh Mercy was hailed as a comeback. No. 15 in The Village Voice's Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for 1989. Also in 1989, Oh Mercy was ranked No. 44 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1980s.Consensus was strong enough to place Oh Mercy at
Oh Mercy's production drew praise from a majority of critics. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice wrote, "Daniel Lanois's understated care and easy beat suit [Dylan's] casual ways, and three or four songs might sound like something late at night on the radio, or after the great flood. All are modest and tuneful enough to make you forgive 'Disease of Conceit,' which is neither." But as Heylin notes, "Though many a critic who had despaired at the sound of Dylan's more recent albums enthused about the sound on Oh Mercy, it was evident that rock music's foremost lyric writer had also rediscovered his previous flair with words."
Rock critic Bill Wyman criticized the production but praised the songs. "Taken over by Daniel Lanois, master of a shimmering and distinctive electronically processed guitar sound...[the album] is overdone", writes Wyman. "It's irritating to hear Dylan's songs so manipulated, but there are sufficient nice tracks—"Most of the Time", "Shooting Star", both simple and direct, among them—to make this by far the most coherent and listenable collection of his own songs Dylan has released since Desire."
Though it did not enter Billboard's Top 20, Oh Mercy remained a consistent seller, enough to be considered a modest commercial success.
To celebrate the album's 20th anniversary, Montague Street Journal: The Art of Bob Dylan dedicated roughly half of its debut issue (published in 2009) to a roundtable discussion on Oh Mercy.
It was voted number 438 in Colin Larkin's All Time Top 1000 Albums 3rd Edition (2000). No. 33 in its list of "40 Best Albums of the '80s". During that same year, "Political World" appeared in the film Man of the Year . Michael Azerrad in a Rolling Stone article felt that "it would be unfair to compare Oh Mercy to Dylan's landmark Sixties recordings".In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at
Lou Reed selected "Disease of Conceit" as one of his favorite songs of 1989.
All tracks are written by Bob Dylan.
|1.||"Political World"||March 8, 1989 (overdubbed March 21 and April 8, 1989)||3:43|
|2.||"Where Teardrops Fall"||March 21 and 22, 1989 (overdubbed April 15–16, 1989)||2:30|
|3.||"Everything Is Broken"||March 14 or 15, 1989 (overdubbed April 1 and 3, 1989)||3:12|
|4.||"Ring Them Bells"||March 7, 1989 (overdubbed April 6, 1989)||3:00|
|5.||"Man in the Long Black Coat"||March 29, 1989 (overdubbed April 4, 1989)||4:30|
|1.||"Most of the Time"||March 12, 1989 (overdubbed April 19, 1989)||5:02|
|2.||"What Good Am I?"||March 7, 1989 (overdubbed April 7, 1989)||4:45|
|3.||"Disease of Conceit"||March 8, 1989 (overdubbed April 1989)||3:41|
|4.||"What Was It You Wanted"||March 21, 1989 (overdubbed March 24 and April 3, 4 & 10, 1989)||5:02|
|5.||"Shooting Star"||March 14 or 15, 1989 (overdubbed April 1–3, 1989)||3:12|
|Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)||Gold||25,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Gold||100,000^|
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
Daniel Roland Lanois is a Canadian record producer, guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter.
Time Out of Mind is the 30th studio album by American musician Bob Dylan, released on September 30, 1997, through Columbia Records. It was released as a single CD as well as a double studio album on vinyl, his first since Self Portrait in 1970.
Under the Red Sky is the 27th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on September 10, 1990 by Columbia Records. It was produced by Don Was, David Was and Dylan.
"Shelter from the Storm" is a song by Bob Dylan, recorded on September 17, 1974, and released on his 15th studio album, Blood on the Tracks, in 1975. It was later anthologized on the compilation album The Essential Bob Dylan in 2000.
"Not Dark Yet" is a song by Bob Dylan, recorded in January 1997 and released in September that year as the seventh track on his album Time Out of Mind. It was also released as a single on August 25, 1997 and later anthologized on the compilation albums The Essential Bob Dylan in 2000, The Best of Bob Dylan in 2005 and Dylan in 2007. The song was produced by Daniel Lanois.
"Mississippi" is a medium-tempo country-rock song by the American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan that appears as the second track on his 2001 album Love and Theft. The song was originally recorded during the Time Out of Mind sessions, but was ultimately left off the album. Dylan rerecorded the song for Love and Theft in May 2001.
"Dignity" is a song by Bob Dylan, first released on Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3 on November 15, 1994 and also released as a CD single a month later. It was originally recorded in the spring of 1989 during the Oh Mercy studio sessions, but was not included on the album. It was also later anthologized on Dylan (2007).
"If Not for You" is a song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan from his October 1970 album New Morning. It was also issued as the A-side of a single in Europe in early 1971. The song is a love song to Dylan's first wife, Sara Dylan. He recorded it several times in 1970; the session for the released version took place in New York in August. He also recorded the song with George Harrison on May 1, soon after the break-up of the Beatles, a session that attracted much speculation in the music press. The May recording remained unreleased until its inclusion on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 in 1991.
"Political World" is an uptempo folk rock song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released as the opening track on his 1989 album Oh Mercy and as a single in Europe in 1990. It was produced by Daniel Lanois.
Together Through Life is the 33rd studio album by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on April 28, 2009, by Columbia Records. The release of the album, which reached number 1 in multiple countries, was unexpected and surprised fans. Dylan co-wrote most of the songs with Robert Hunter, and recorded with musicians including Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Mike Campbell and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo. The album was recorded at Jackson Browne's Groove Masters studio in Santa Monica, California and produced by Dylan himself under the pseudonym Jack Frost.
"Most of the Time" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released as the sixth track of his 1989 album Oh Mercy. The song was written by Dylan and produced by Daniel Lanois. The album version of "Most of the Time" was recorded on March 12, 1989 in a mobile studio at 1305 Soniat St., New Orleans, and released on Oh Mercy in September of that year. Two studio out-takes from the same set of recording sessions were released on The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs: Rare and Unreleased 1989–2006 in 2008, and a new version recorded on March 16, 1990 was issued as a promotional single and video in 1990.
"Everything is Broken" is an uptempo rock song written and recorded by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, and released as the first single from his 1989 album Oh Mercy, where it appears as the third track. It was later anthologized on the compilation albums The Essential Bob Dylan in 2000 and Dylan in 2007. The song spent eight weeks on Billboard's "Mainstream Rock Songs" chart, peaking at number eight on October 27, 1989. It was produced by Daniel Lanois.
"Man in the Long Black Coat" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in 1989 as the fifth track on his album Oh Mercy. It is a minor-key folk ballad, often described as "haunting" and frequently cited as a highlight of the album. The song was produced by Daniel Lanois.
"Series Of Dreams" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. The original version, produced by Daniel Lanois, was recorded on March 23, 1989 for Dylan's 26th album Oh Mercy. This version was later remixed, with overdubs added in January 1991, for inclusion on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 1961–1991. It was also included on the compilation Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3 in 1994.
"Dirge" is a song by Bob Dylan. It was released on his 14th studio album Planet Waves in 1974. Notable for its acidic tone, "Dirge" has never been performed in concert.
"Nothing Was Delivered" is a song written by Bob Dylan that was originally recorded by Dylan and The Band in the Fall of 1967 during the sessions that generated The Basement Tapes. The song was first released by The Byrds on their 1968 album Sweetheart of the Rodeo.
"Obviously 5 Believers" is a 12-bar R&B song by Bob Dylan. It was recorded at Columbia Music Row Studios, Nashville on 10 March 1966, and released as the last track of side three of his double album Blonde on Blonde on 20 June 1966.
"Ring Them Bells" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in 1989 as the fourth track on his album Oh Mercy. It is a piano-driven, hymn-like ballad that is considered by many to be the best song on Oh Mercy and it is the track from that album that has been covered the most by other artists.
"Shooting Star" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in 1989 as the tenth and final track on his album Oh Mercy. It was produced by Daniel Lanois.