Song To Brigitte

Album: not on an album (1956)

Songfacts®:

  • This song was never recorded and probably never even performed, which begs a Zen question: if a song is written but no one ever hears it, does it make a sound?

    In this case, the answer is "yes." The unrecorded song continues to make a certain kind of sound because it's the first one that Bob Dylan ever wrote. That's how Dylan recalls it, anyway.

    In 1961 he told folklorist and author Izzy Young that "Song to Brigitte" was his first. In 1964 he said the same thing to journalist Nat Hentoff, this time adding that he wrote the song when he was 15 years old. In 1978 he repeated this recollection to Julia Orange in an interview for Women's Day.

    Dylan also briefly mentioned the song in a March 1966 Playboy interview, where he added, "I don't recall too much of it. It had only one chord. Well, it is all in the heart."

    We have only Dylan's recollection to go by on all of this, but Dylan expert Clinton Heylin has found no research to suggest a better candidate for "Dylan's first song." In Revolution in the Air, he cites it as being so.
  • The song was written for French bombshell Brigitte Bardot. She was one of the most popular actresses of the '50s and '60s and was also a cultural icon of women's sexual liberation. Back in the day, they called her a "sex kitten." Her courage and shameless eroticism were barrier-breaking at the time.
  • In Revolution in the Air, Heylin titles the song "Song to Brigit," which isn't how Bardot spells her name. It's not clear if that's just a mistake on Heylin's part or if he had some reasoning for it. Regardless, Dylan has made clear it was a love song for Bardot.

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