It Ain't Me Babe

Album: It Ain't Me Babe (1965)
Charted: 8
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  • This was written and originally recorded by Bob Dylan, who released the song on his 1964 album Another Side Of Bob Dylan. The lyrics find the singer telling a girl that he is not her true love, and that she should forget about him as he is just a temporary fix for her loneliness. Dylan is rarely forthcoming about his songs, but this may have been inspired by Joan Baez. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Martin - Rostock, Germany
  • This was the first hit for The Turtles, who had several more hits in the '60s, including the #1 "Happy Together." Howard Kaylan of The Turtles explained how they came to record this in the Forgotten Hits newsletter: "When the Turtles first signed our original recording agreements with the tiny label that would become White Whale, we were all under the legal age of 18. Needless to say, the contracts required our parents' approval. This was all done before a judge in the county of Los Angeles who reviewed the paperwork about to be executed and told our parents that, "If you let your sons sign these papers, the court won't be responsible for the outcome. These are the worst contracts that I have ever seen." We didn't care. We wanted to make records and damn the consequences. So we signed. And our parents co-signed. And the judge had been right. It took many years and many thousands of dollars to win back our money and our self-respect. But, in the meantime, we had a record deal.

    We had originally intended to break up our band, the Crossfires, on one particular evening in 1965, while playing our usual Friday night gig at the a teen club in Redondo Beach, California called the Revelaire. On my way upstairs with our resignation, two shady-looking entrepreneurs stopped me and asked if we were interested in making a record. They loved the way we sounded doing a cover of the new Byrds single (our guitarist had gone out and bought a 12-string guitar earlier that week) and thought that doing folk-rock was the key to our future.

    It fell upon me to find the tunes to record. The Crossfires had been a surf band in high school, but together with a friend of ours, Betty McCarty, we had also done some folk singing as The Crosswind Singers. In fact, we opened a concert at Westchester High that starred the folk duo Joe and Eddie (a foreshadowing of things to come, many years before the names Flo and Eddie were to become our nom de plumes). I found Dylan's 'It Ain't Me Babe' on an album and, being blissfully unaware that anyone else had ever recorded it, thought that it would make a great rock song. So I literally 'lifted' the Zombies' approach to pop - a soft Colin Blunstone-like minor verse bursting into a four-four major chorus a-la 'She's Not There.'

    Both of the B-sides to 'It Ain't Me Babe' and 'Let Me Be' were songs that I had originally written for the Crosswind Singers and that we had performed with Joe and Eddie on that most auspicious of occasions. 'The Wanderin' Kind' sounded like a total Byrds cop. I wasn't ashamed then and I'm not ashamed now. It was all jangly guitars and travelin' boot-heels. But, in my defense, it was written well in advance of the Byrds records and, in fact, was a Dylan cop. Hey, we were all doing it. We never said that we were trend setters. Sometimes, the smart follower is perceived as a leader too. 'Almost There,' on the other hand, had nothing to do with the world of folk rock. In fact, if stolen from anyone, it would have to be called a Kinks-style rocker. The guitar lick intro and the incomprehensible "you gettum, boys" mumbled at the start of the solo were stone giveaways. The Turtles' career was always, somehow, intertwined with the that of the Kinks lasting all the way to our final album in 1970, Turtle Soup, which Ray Davies, himself, produced." (Thanks to Kent at the Forgotten Hits newsletter.)
  • Also in 1965, Johnny Cash recorded this with his wife June Carter. The song appears in the 2005 movie Walk The Line, which is about Cash. Other artists to record the song include Joan Baez, Nancy Sinatra and New Found Glory.
  • Dylan's use of the word "Babe" gave Sonny Bono the idea to use the word in his 1965 Sonny & Cher hit "I Got You Babe."

Comments: 8

  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn August 1st 1965, "It Ain't Me Babe" by the Turtles entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #76; and on September 12th, 1965 it peaked at #8 {for 2 weeks} and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...Between 1965 and 1970 the group had seventeen Top 100 records; five made the Top 10 with one reaching #1, "Happy Together" for 3 weeks on March 19th, 1967..."Happy Together" prevented "Dedicated to the One I Love" by the Mamas and the Papas from reaching #1, it was at #2 for all three weeks that "Happy Together" was #1 and never did reached the top spot.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn April 29th 1970, Johnny Cash with June Carter performed "It Ain't Me Babe" on his ABC-TV program 'The Johnny Cash Show'...
    Six years earlier on October 25th, 1964 his covered version entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #100; eventually it peaked at #58 and spent 8 weeks on the Top 100...
    R.I.P. Mr. Cash (1932 - 2003).
  • Rob from Detroit, Mi@Red Sam: What in the world were you smoking to come up with that ludicrous post?
  • Brandon from Seattle, WaThe version by the Turtles is not crappy. In fact, I love it, it is one of my favorite hit by them, and truthfully I prefer their version over Bob Dylan's. Additionally, I do not know how old your post is, but if you take the time to search through the site, the version by Bob Dylan is here, too.
  • Red Sam Rackham from Morton Grove, IlActually when Dylan wrote this song it was not actually about a guy rejecting a girl. It was a statement rejecting LBJ's escalation of the Vietnam War draft and a young man's refusal to be drafted. Radio stations (and most of us who heard this song) never realized that it was actually an anti-war protest song. I also do not believe that the Turtles or anyone (other than Dylan himself) who ever recorded it understood its true meaning.
  • Vincent Ferraro from Hesperia, CaWhy the hell is this up here as a crappy cover version by The Turtles? This should be up on the website as the original version by Bob Dylan!

    It's completely ridiculous that songfacts lets credit go to them and not Bobby.
  • Cameron from Austin, TxJoaquin Phenoix and Reese Witherspoon covered this song for "Walk The Line"
  • Dave from Des Moines, IaJan and Dean also did a version of this.
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