It's notable for being a Crossover collaboration between Dylan and The Band, with whom he'd toured in The '60s. At the time Planet Waves received a lot of media coverage because Dylan hadn't toured regularly since 1966 and The Band had become very popular in their own right. Commercially and critically it did very well, even generating a hit song with "Forever Young", which is featured twice on the record but in two different versions, because Dylan and the rest of his musicians couldn't decide which take was the superior one. Dylan even considered leaving the song off the album entirely, but everyone else involved strongly convinced him to do otherwise.
In a case of What Could Have Been the album was originally set to be titled Ceremonies Of The Horsemen, a reference to the song "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" from Bringing It All Back Home from 1965, but a last minute title change eventually settled on Planet Waves.
Following its release, Dylan and The Band embarked on a joint North American tour, which produced the live album Before the Flood later that year.
- "On A Night Like This" (2:57)
- "Going, Going, Gone" (3:27)
- "Tough Mama" (4:17)
- "Hazel" (2:50)
- "Something There Is About You" (4:45)
- "Forever Young" (4:57)
- "Forever Young" (2:49)
- "Dirge" (5:36)
- "You Angel You" (2:54)
- "Never Say Goodbye" (2:56)
- "Wedding Song" (4:42)
- Rick Danko - bass
- Bob Dylan - vocals, guitar, harmonica, piano
- Levon Helm - drums
- Garth Hudson - organ
- Richard Manuel - piano, drums
- Robbie Robertson - guitar
- The Ageless: "Forever Young" has Dylan wish this on his own offspring:May your hands always be busyMay your feet always be swiftMay you have a strong foundationWhen the winds of changes shiftMay your heart always be joyfulAnd may your song always be sungMay you stay forever young
- Alliterative Title: "Going, Going Gone", You Angel You".
- But Now I Must Go: "Going, Going, Gone".I am closing the bookOn the pages and the textAnd I don't really care of what happens nextI am just goingI am going, I am gone
- Cradle of Loneliness: "Dirge".There are those who worship loneliness, I'm not one of themIn this age of fibreglass I'm searchin for a gemThe crystal ball upon the wall hasn't shown me nothing yetI've paid the price of solitude but at least I'm out of debt
- Design Student's Orgasm: Just like his album Self Portrait the cover was drawn by Dylan himself.
- Humans Are Morons: "Dirge".Heard your songs of freedom and man forever strippedActing out his folly while his back is being whippedLike a slave in orbit he's beaten 'til he's tameAll for a moment's glory and it's a dirty, rotten shame
- Intercourse with You: "On a Night Like This''Put your body next to mine
And keep me company
There is plenty of room for all
So please don't elbow me
- One-Woman Song: "Tough Mama", "Hazel".
- One-Word Title: "Dirge".
- The Power of Love:
Something there is about you that moves with style and graceI was in a whirlwind, now I am in some better placeMy hand's on the sabre and you've picked up on the batonSomething there is about you that I can't quite put my finger on
- "Something There Is About You".
Yes, I never did feel this way beforeI never did get up and walk the floorIf this is love then give me moreAnd more and more and more and more.
- "You Angel You".
You're beautiful beyond wordsYou're beautiful to meYou can make me cryNever say goodbye.
- "Never Say Goodbye".
Hazel you called and I cameNow, don't make me play this waiting gameYou've got something I want plenty ofOoh, a little touch of your love.
Put your body next to mineAnd keep me companyThere is plenty a room for allSo please don't elbow me.
- "On A Night Like This".
I love you more than ever, more than time and more than loveI love you more than money and more than the stars aboveI love you more than madness, more than waves upon the seaI love you more than life itself, you mean that much to me.
- "Wedding Song".
- Production Foreshadowing: "Dirge", with its confessional, poetic lyrics and spare style, is like a preview of Blood on the Tracks.
Even Muhammed Ali can not be forever young. His hands are no longer busy, his feet no longer swift.
- When Muhammad Ali fought the heavyweight championship boxing in 1980 journalist Howard Cosell and a personal friend of Ali quoted from "Forever Young".
- Parenthood uses "Forever Young" as its theme song.
- "Forever Young" itself is phrased like a traditional Jewish parental blessing on a child (with all the "may yous" and wishes for how the child will grow up).
- Silly Love Songs: The majority of the songs on this album fall into this trope. See also The Power of Love above.
- Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: "Wedding Song".It's never been my duty to remake the world at largeNor is it my intention to sound a battle charge'Cause I love you more than all of that with a love that doesn't bendAnd if there is eternity I'd love you there again
- Snow Means Love: "The snow is so deep" outside the cabin in "On a Night Like This". Snow also gets mentioned in "Never Say Goodbye".
- The Something Song: "Wedding Song".
- Suicide As Drama: "Dirge".You were just a painted face on a trip down to suicide road