This song is a four minute plea to a girl to stay together as friends. The girl appears to think that the narrator wants to progress their friendship, but the narrator continually assures her that "All I really want to do, is baby, be friends with you." This was likely to have been inspired by Dylan's separation from Suze Rotolo, who he dated between 1961 and 1964.
This formed part of Dylan's acoustic set on July 24, 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival. The next day, Dylan would perform again, only this time with a fully amplified band. This sparked outrage among the crowd of strict folk fans, who booed throughout Dylan's performance.
The Byrds and Cher both released a cover of this in 1965. This sparked a chart battle between the two artists. In the US, Cher's version proved most popular, peaking at #15 in comparison to The Byrds' #40. In the UK, the opposite was the case. The Byrds' cover version became the fastest selling single in CBS Records' history, peaking at #4 in comparison to Cher's #9.
Another Side of Bob Dylan saw Dylan withdraw from politically charged songs, to instead write on more personal issues. Dylan told The New Yorker at the time of release: "There aren't any finger-pointing songs in here... Me, I don't want to write for people any more - you know, a spokesman. From now on, I want to write from inside me, and to do that I'm going to have to get back to writing like I used to when I was ten - having everything come out naturally." This new approach to song writing resulted in a great deal of criticism from the folk community, who complained Dylan had lost touch with his audience.