Completion Date: 24 September 2018
Medium: Paint & ink on board
Dimensions: 16 X 20 inches
“Idiot Wind” is a song by Bob Dylan, which appeared on his album Blood on the Tracks. The song is likely to have been written, or at least begun, in the summer of 1974, after Dylan’s comeback tour with The Band that year.
Dylan first recorded “Idiot Wind” in New York City in September 1974 during the initial Blood on the Tracks sessions. That December, working on a suggestion from his brother, Dylan re-recorded half the songs on Blood on the Tracks, including “Idiot Wind”, in Minneapolis. The re-recorded versions were radical departures from the original recordings, and “Idiot Wind” saw a tremendous change, including the adding of a full band backing from an essentially solo acoustic recording. The sessions in which he re-recorded these songs took place after the initial test pressing of Blood on the Tracks, however, and the session musicians Dylan used were not given credit for their work on the album sleeve.
The standard studio version of “Idiot Wind”, re-recorded in December 1974 and issued on Blood on the Tracks, is listed as 7:48 in duration. One of the original September 1974 studio recordings of the song, eventually released in 1991 on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3, runs 8:52 long.
A raucous live version from May 23, 1976, listed as 10:21 long, is included as the closing track to Hard Rain.
The song was #16 on American Songwriter magazine’s The 30 Greatest Dylan Songs.