It Ain't Me Babe

Album: Another Side of Bob Dylan (1964)

Songfacts®:

  • "It Ain't Me Babe" appears as the last track on Side 2 of Dylan's fourth studio album, Another Side of Bob Dylan. This was the legendary album which Dylan recorded in a single all-night studio session, aided by "a couple of bottles of Beaujolais." The last master take was in the can by 1:30 a.m.
  • According to legend, the opening line "Go away from my window..." is a shout-out to fellow folk-singer John Jacob Niles' song "Go 'Way From My Window" - Dylan cited Niles as an early influence.

    Also the refrain "no, no, no, it ain't me babe" is a call-back to the Beatles' "she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah," as heard on their song "She Loves You."
  • This was one of the songs given an electric arrangement by Dylan when he started the electric guitar concerts in 1965.
  • Longtime mutual admirer Johnny Cash covered this song with Dylan's blessings for his album Orange Blossom Special. Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary, Johnny Thunders, and The Turtles also covered it, with The Turtles' version reaching #8 on the US singles charts.
  • The lyrics for Another Side of Bob Dylan were an outgrowth of his attempt to publish a book of poetry at the time. The book didn't take yet, but Dylan benefited from the mental exercise nonetheless. This was also a year after the Kennedy assassination - can you hear a more intense soulfulness to the lyrics? Especially with songs such as "Chimes of Freedom," Dylan scholar Clinton Heylin would note that Dylan had been reborn as a poet of the road.

Comments: 5

  • Liz from NyI believe it is about how if we have these needs we must find these within ourself and not seek them out through a relationship. That relationship could be with a partner or even a parent/child relationship.
  • Guy Murray from LondonI feel like it’s a song about non attachment and learning to unconditionally love. Reflecting back to people (man or women) that if you NEED this person, to close their heart, to always pick you up when you fall down, to be picking wild flowers, then you are not living life as an individual selflessly. It’s not saying that I’m leaving you- just that within me I am the rock, I do not need anyone else and that you do not either. Instead we learn to do things for ourselves and shine brighter next to one another in this way.
    This was after a serious trip on LSD.
  • Eustace Fril from New YorkThis song is clearly an antiwar song! it is addressed to the American flag, and refers to the war in Vietnam. See full analysis at http://emf.neocities.org/bd/itaintmebabe.html
  • Jebber from Sudbury, OnI too am surprised there aren't many comments, I guess it's about what this song means to the listener?

    To me it's about a relationship that despite the feelings involved simply didn't work, and both were bound to be hurt either way, regardless of the feelings... Whatever it is the song is powerful and only Bob himself would have to tell us the true meaning.
  • David from Woburn, MaHow are there no comments yet?

    This is one of my favorite Dylan songs, particularly the live version off Bootleg Vol. 6 when he sings a duet with Joan Baez. Definitely one of the more intricate and imaginative ways to sing about infidelity.
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