Dylan originally wrote this bleak ballad for the 2009 Renée Zellweger starring movie My Own Love Song. The film was directed by Olivier Dahan, who helmed the 2007 Edith Piaf biopic La Vie En Rose. Dylan apparently loved Dahan's Piaf story and when approached for a ballad for the main character to sing towards the end of the Frenchman's next feature, he readily agreed. After completing this song, an inspired Dylan kept writing and he produced nine more tunes, which made up Together Through Life.
Dylan co-wrote the lyrics on this song and most of the other numbers on the album with Robert Hunter. The poet is best known for his association with Grateful Dead and he previously collaborated with on the Minnesota man's 1988 set Down in the Groove.
In an article published on his website, Bill Flanagan commented to Dylan that this song "has the formality of an old Rudy Vallee or Nelson Eddy ballad right down to the middle eight." The interviewer asked Dylan, whether if he starts a song in that style, does he stick with the rules right down the line? He replied: "Sure, I try to stick to the rules. Sometimes I might shift paradigms within the same song, but then that structure also has its own rules. And I combine them both, see what works and what doesn't. My range is limited. Some formulas are too complex and I don't want anything to do with them."
Together Through Life was Bob Dylan's first album to top the UK album charts since 1970's New Morning. It also reached the summit of the Billboard 200 and at 67 years and eleven months Dylan became the oldest artist to reach #1 in both the UK and US. In doing so he eclipsed Neil Diamond, who was a mere 67 years and four months when he reached the peak position in both territories in 2008.