(u3a) 15 Nov: Bob Dylan

BOB DYLAN: Don’t Think Twice it’s All Right

Well, it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
Even you don’t know by now
And it ain’t no use to sit and wonder why, babe
It’ll never do somehow

When your rooster crows at the break of dawn
Look out your window, and I’ll be gone
You’re the reason I’m a-traveling on
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

And it ain’t no use in turning on your light, babe
The light I never knowed
And it ain’t no use in turning on your light, babe
I’m on the dark side of the road

But I wish there was somethin’ you would do or say
To try and make me change my mind and stay
But we never did too much talking anyway
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

So it ain’t no use in calling out my name, gal
Like you never done before
And it ain’t no use in calling out my name, gal
I can’t hear you any more

I’m a-thinking and a-wonderin’ walking down the road
I once loved a woman, a child I am told
I gave her my heart but she wanted my soul
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

So long honey, babe
Where I’m bound, I can’t tell
Goodbye’s too good a word, babe
So I’ll just say fare thee well

I ain’t a-saying you treated me unkind
You could have done better but I don’t mind
You just kinda wasted my precious time
But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

 

“Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” is among the most successful of Bob Dylan’s early songs. It was written by the 21-year-old singer/songwriter in  1962.and released on the 1963 album The Freewheeling Bob Dylan  (with Dylan and his then girlfriend Suze Rotolo pictured together on the cover)  and as a single

The song was written when the girl indefinitely prolonged her stay in Italy, where she had come to study at the University of Perugia. He had  met her in New York and their tempestuous love affair had lasted about two years. This  song is  about a rather devastating breakup. However, contrary to the lyrics of the song it was actually Rotolo who left him .

According to the author, the song  was intended to be “ a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better… as if you were talking to yourself.”  It was different from his  earlier material, because it was a sort  of love song (with an unsentimental  tone) rather than a protest song . It was  an aggressive  ironic message to a former lover and it was one of Dylan’s earliest sarcastic critiques of someone in his social circle.

Rotolo was quite saddened  and surprised and  Dylan’s friends were also upset and nervous that they would be the next subject of his acid pen.

The melody is based on folksinger Paul Clayton’s version of a  traditional song. (Clayton sued Dylan who had to pay an undisclosed amount)

Over this tune, Dylan wrote a lyric reflecting on a separation.. The protagonist is telling a woman that he is leaving her, and he engages in a series of contradictory criticisms. In the first verse, he tells her she is the reason he’s leaving; in the second he wishes she would say or do something to make him stay; in the third he claims she wanted too much from him; and by the final verse he has become overtly sarcastic. The lyrics reveal a conflicted narrator who masks his pain with irony, assisted by the lively tune.

 

 Susan Elizabeth Rotolo (1943 –2011), known as Suze Rotolo  was an American artist and  Dylan’s  girlfriend from 1961 to 1964. Dylan later acknowledged her strong influence on his music and art . After their meeting Dylan began to concentrate on issues such as civil rights and the threat of nuclear war. She also made him discover   the French poet, Arthur Rimbaud,  who heavily influenced his writing style, and Bertolt Brecht.   Also his interest in painting can be traced back to their relationship

Describing their meeting in his memoir, Dylan wrote:” Right from the start I couldn’t take my eyes off her. She was the most erotic thing I’d ever seen. She was fair skinned and golden haired, full-blood Italian. … We started talking and my head started to spin. Cupid’s arrow had whistled past my ears before, but this time it hit me in the heart and the weight of it dragged me overboard… Meeting her was like stepping into the tales of 1001 Arabian Nights.  She had a smile that could light up a street full of people and was extremely lively, had a kind of voluptuousness—a Rodin sculpture come to life.”

.

 

 

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