Song Lyric Sunday – It Ain’t Me Babe

Another week comes around and I have chosen a Bob Dylan song for Song Lyric Sunday hosted by Jim Adams. This week he prompted us with Babe, Cutie, Doll, Honey or Sweetie. I went with It Ain’t Me Babe. One of Dylan’s classics. His poetic words still resonate.

“It Ain’t Me Babe” is a song by Bob Dylan that originally appeared on his fourth album Another Side of Bob Dylan, which was released in 1964 by Columbia Records. According to music critic Oliver Trager, this song, along with others on the album, marked a departure for Dylan as he began to explore the possibilities of language and deeper levels of the human experience. Within a year of its release, the song was picked up as a single by folk rock act the Turtles and country artist Johnny Cash (who sang it as a duet with his future wife June Carter). 

Dylan’s biographers generally agree that the song owes its inspiration to his former girlfriend Suze Rotolo. He reportedly began writing the song during his visit to Italy in 1963 while searching for Rotolo, who was studying there. 

Clinton Heylin reports that a Times reporter at a May 1964 Royal Festival Hall concert where Dylan first played “It Ain’t Me” took the chorus “no, no, no” as a parody of the Beatles’ “yeah, yeah, yeah” in “She Loves You”.

Nat Hentoff’s late October 1964 New Yorker article on Dylan includes an account of Hentoff’s presence on the evening in June 1964 in the CBS recording studio when Dylan recorded this and a dozen or so other songs. After some description of the recording studio and booth exchanges among Dylan, his friends, and the session’s producers, Hentoff describes the moment. “Dylan,” Hentoff writes, “went on to record a song about a man leaving a girl because he was not prepared to be the kind of invincible hero and all-encompassing provider she wanted.” “‘It ain’t me you’re looking for babe,’ he [Dylan] sang, with finality,” Hentoff writes in his piece. 

The melody in both phrases uses a scale descending through a minor third. (Dylan played at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday, May 17, 1964. The Times reviewed the performance in the following day’s edition under the heading of “A Minnesota Minstrel.” However, the review makes no mention of “It Ain’t Me, Babe.”)

Facts provided by Wiki


Go away from my window
Leave at your own chosen speed
I'm not the one you want, babe
I'm not the one you need

You say you're lookin' for someone
Who's never weak but always strong
To protect you and defend you
Whether you are right or wrong
Someone to open each and every door
But it ain't me, babe
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

Go lightly from the ledge, babe
Go lightly on the ground
I'm not the one you want, babe
I will only let you down

You say you're lookin' for someone
Who will promise never to part
Someone to close his eyes for you
Someone to close his heart
Someone who will die for you and more
But it ain't me, babe
No, no, no, it ain't me babe
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

Go melt back in the night
Everything inside is made of stone
There's nothing in here moving
And anyway I'm not alone

You say you're looking for someone
Who'll pick you up each time you fall
To gather flowers constantly
And to come each time you call
A lover for your life and nothing more
But it ain't me, babe
No, no, no, it ain't me, babe
It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Bob Dylan
It Ain't Me Babe lyrics ยฉ BMG Rights Management, Audiam, Inc

  13 comments for “Song Lyric Sunday – It Ain’t Me Babe

  1. February 8, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Oh yes – a favorite from Dylan. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. February 2, 2020 at 4:44 pm

    Perfect choice for the prompt. I like the words but am not a huge fan of Dylan. Never heard this one tho so it was well worth the listen.

    • Christine Bolton
      February 2, 2020 at 7:46 pm

      Thanks Violet. Whether you like him or not, itโ€™s his poetry that gets me every time. ๐Ÿฅฐ

  3. aisasami
    February 2, 2020 at 11:35 am

    What a soothing and relaxing pick! I have heard of Bob but not this song! Thanks for the tune!

  4. February 2, 2020 at 9:13 am

    Dylan is the consummate poet and I love the deep meaning in his songs. Great choice Christine.

    • Christine Bolton
      February 2, 2020 at 10:04 am

      Thanks so much Jim ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’•

  5. February 1, 2020 at 11:21 pm
    • Christine Bolton
      February 2, 2020 at 10:13 am

      Yes, I listened to this too. Isn’t it great?

      • February 2, 2020 at 5:56 pm

        Yes it is.

  6. February 1, 2020 at 11:19 pm

    I can’t remember ever hearing this one. Standard Dylan! ๐Ÿ˜€ Good share, Christine! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Christine Bolton
      February 2, 2020 at 10:07 am

      Thanks Felicia. It’s one of his greats ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’•

  7. February 1, 2020 at 11:18 pm

    I love this song of Zimmy’s and I also love the Johnny Cash June Carter duet. I never heard the one before they were married, but Bob Dylan’s 30th Anniversary celebration 2-disc set has them singing it and it’s great. I appreciate the background info. Excellent choice, Christine!

    • Christine Bolton
      February 2, 2020 at 10:09 am

      I’m so happy you liked it Lisa. His music is always so special. I am drawn to his words. ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿ’•

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