Tomorrow Is A Long Time

Album: Bob Dylan's Greatest hits Vol. II (1971)

Songfacts®:

  • "Tomorrow is a Long Time" is about longing for a loved one, pure and simple. Specifically, it's about Suze Rotolo.

    Rotolo is the woman seen walking with Dylan on the cover of his second studio album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. She dated Dylan from 1961 to 1964 and was a formative influence on his life and art. Their story is told in part in "Ballad in Plain D."
  • Dylan fans often present this song as defense of the man's vocal talents. There are few, if any, other songs that show the tenderness and soft emotion that Dylan was capable of evoking when he chose to.
  • An anonymously written medieval poem titled Westron Wynde inspired this song.
  • Dylan first recorded "Tomorrow Is A Long Time" in December 1962 at the house of Dave Whitaker in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Dylan's home state). That version wasn't released until 2010 on The Bootleg Series Vol. 9: The Witmark Demos: 1962-1964.

    The first Dylan version the public heard was recorded live on April 12, 1963, at Town Hall, New York City. It was released on Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II in 1971. The same version was also included in 1978 on Masterpieces.

    The very first release of the song, though, was by Ian & Sylvia, who included it on their second studio album, Four Strong Winds, in 1963.
  • Judy Collins released her version in 1965 on Fifth Album, which was literally her fifth album. She also did Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man" and "Daddy You've Been on My Mind" on the album.
  • The most well-known cover of the song is by Elvis Presley, who recorded it for his album How Great Thou Art on May 26, 1966, but ended up instead including it on Spinout (also published in 1966). It wasn't Dylan's version that caught Presley's attention, though. It instead was Odetta's cover on her 1965 album Odetta Sings Dylan.

    Presley was a hero to Dylan, and Dylan considered Presley's version of the song to be his favorite of all the covers of his songs.

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