Bob Dylan: You Belong To Me (1994)

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Bob Dylan: You Belong To Me (1994)

The idea of "possessing" your lover isn't a pleasant thought these days: the subtext is spousal abuse, just plain creepy stuff and not a few killings you read about on page five.

But there are a few songs where that idea of possessive passion has a wistful, oddly lost and sympathetic quality on the part of the singer. At one end it is someone asking Ruby not to take her love to town, then there is Doc Pomus (polio-afflicted in real life) writing that wonderful, non-threaten, sentimental and heartbreaking Save The Last Dance For Me . . . and then there is this.

You Belong To Me (written in the very early Fifties, a more innocent time?) is as much about having let go as wanting someone back. A reminder to a lover that wherever he/she is, whatever wonderful things you see in this glorious world my love, you do belong to me. And that I will be waiting, darling.

Which means: my love, see this exotic world of the Pyramids along the Nile, a tropical isle and old Algiers and send me photos, but remember I will be waiting because I love you, and please come home . . . and save the last dance . . .

And it has been interpreted by both male and female singers down the decades, because it holds true in either case. Increasingly many of us travel and leave our lover, but while the ones at home are always wanting the best for us, because that is the nature of true love, they are always thinking and wondering . . .

Amidst the haste and noise on the soundtrack to Natural Born Killers, this quiet moment from Bob Dylan -- uncomfortably displaced in that film of obsessive love and inchoate rage -- was like a tiny recognition that those two dysfunctional and murderous people did, at some madly obsessive level, love each other,.

But the song as Dylan sang it originally -- left off the Good As I Been To You covers album where he took time to reconnect to music which meant something to him, and wherein you might have heard it differently -- it is an aching song of quiet reflection . . . and yes, perhaps even obsessive love.

But it is of a love which is waiting. Patiently, sadly, with an aching want.

One of Bob Dylan's most beautiful, if overlooked, interpretations.

And it comes here with that evil coda from the soundtrack just to keep you alert to how these things can go so wrong. 

For more one-off or unusual songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults

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ohmercy - Jan 19, 2011

Lovely
Thanks so much for posting this - think I'll have to go to itunes for it.
Dylan can convey such pathos at times.

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