Real Live

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Real Live
Dylan onstage playing harmonica and guitar into a microphone
Live album by
ReleasedNovember 29, 1984 (1984-11-29)
RecordedJuly 5–8, 1984
GenreFolk rock, hard rock
ProducerGlyn Johns
Bob Dylan chronology
Real Live
Empire Burlesque
Professional ratings
Review scores
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music[2]
Robert ChristgauB[3]
Rolling Stone[4]

Real Live is a live album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on November 29, 1984 by Columbia Records. Recorded during the artist's 1984 European Tour, most of the album was recorded at Wembley Stadium on 7 July, but "License to Kill" and "Tombstone Blues" come from St James' Park, Newcastle on 5 July, and "I and I" and "Girl from the North Country" were recorded at Slane Castle, Ireland on 8 July.[5]


Produced by Glyn Johns, it features Mick Taylor (formerly of the Rolling Stones) on lead guitar, Ian McLagan (formerly of the Faces) on keyboards, and a guest appearance from Carlos Santana.[6] The performances on Real Live were recorded in support of his successful Infidels album.


While Infidels was hailed as a "return to musical form" (as described by Kurt Loder in Rolling Stone magazine), critical reception for Real Live was generally mixed. Released in December to capitalize on the Christmas shopping season, Real Live still sold in disappointing numbers, reaching a then-career low of No. 115 in the U.S. and No. 54 in the UK.

In his review for Rolling Stone, Kurt Loder, rating the album 3/5, wrote, "Although cynics may find that Dylan's trademark wheeze is verging on self-parody by this point, his singing is truly spirited throughout. The band he assembled for the tour generally serves him well, if without inspiration...some fans may get a giggle out of the rhythm riff – lifted from Ray Charles' 'I Believe to My Soul' – that graces 'Ballad of a Thin Man'. But 'Highway 61 Revisited' is well done as a rocker and 'Tombstone Blues' with Carlos Santana rolls along with great energy."[7]

In Bob Dylan: The Complete Album Guide, Rolling Stone panned Real Live but recognized the album's heavily-revised version of "Tangled Up in Blue" as a "Forgotten Classic".[8] The feature quoted Dylan as stating: "On Real Live, ['Tangled Up in Blue']'s more like it should have been. The imagery is better".[8]

NJ Arts's Jay Lustig cited "I and I" as the standout track from the album and praised Mick Taylor's "stellar guitar work" on it.[9]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Bob Dylan.

Side one
1."Highway 61 Revisited"5:07
2."Maggie's Farm"4:54
3."I and I"6:00
4."License to Kill"3:26
5."It Ain't Me, Babe"5:17
Total length:24:44
Side two
1."Tangled Up in Blue"6:54
2."Masters of War"6:35
3."Ballad of a Thin Man"4:17
4."Girl from the North Country"4:25
5."Tombstone Blues"4:32
Total length:26:43


Additional musicians[edit]



  1. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. Real Live at AllMusic
  2. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Robert Christgau: CG: Artist 169". Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  4. ^ Loder, Kurt (14 February 1985). "Bob Dylan: Real Live : Music Reviews : Rolling Stone". Archived from the original on 1 October 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  5. ^ Bieri, Guido (2008). Life on the Tracks: Bob Dylan's Songs. Basel, Switzerland: Lulu. p. 499. ISBN 9781847531513.
  6. ^ "Real Live | The Official Bob Dylan Site". Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  7. ^ Loder, Kurt (14 February 1985). "Real Live". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 14 July 2018.
  8. ^ a b Sheffield, Rob (2015). "Forgotten Classics". Bob Dylan: The Complete Album Guide: 67 – via Rolling Stone.
  9. ^ "Bob Dylan: Favorite songs from each album of the '80s (WITH VIDEOS)". 26 May 2021. Retrieved 13 June 2021.
  10. ^ "Bob Dylan, Sirmione, Italy, 1984".