Bob Dylan: You Belong To Me (1994)

 |   |  1 min read

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

Share It

Your Comments

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.

Music of Bob Dylan - Aug 14, 2020

We are actively promoting a link to this interesting topic on The Bob Dylan Project at:
https://thebobdylanproject.com/Song/id/3219/You-Belong-to-Me

If you are interested, we are a portal to all the great information related to this topic.

Join us inside Bob Dylan Music Box.

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Ringo Starr: Early 1970 (1970)

Ringo Starr: Early 1970 (1970)

It was one of the great ironies that after the Beatles broke up the solo careers of the songwriters Lennon and McCartney languished for a while, and that George Harrison unleashed the phenomenally... > Read more

Craig Scott: Smiley (1971)

Craig Scott: Smiley (1971)

It is a sad reflection on New Zealand's counter-culture that at the height of the war in Vietnam there were so few songs addressing the most important international event of that generation. Maybe... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Shane Nicholson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Shane Nicholson

Australian singer-songwriter Shane Nicholson has delivered consistently interesting, but rather too few, albums. Each makes you want another almost immediately because of their lyrical sensiblity... > Read more

DAVID BOWIE REMEMBERED (2016): The man, now in the rearview mirror

DAVID BOWIE REMEMBERED (2016): The man, now in the rearview mirror

David Bowie frequently changed his musical colours, but to call him a chameleon — as many have done since his unexpected death just days after the release of his stunning new album... > Read more