If you want my love: Bob Dylan’s lost lost-love song; found

By Tony Attwood

We have one recording of “If you want my love” from 1966, and pretty poor quality it is too – by which I mean the recording is poor, because this 12 bar song shows perfectly just what Dylan can do with a format that has been used over and over, even though around the three minute mark he starts throwing in a couple of diminished chords just to try something different.

What I find interesting is that no one has picked up this song from 1966 and done something with it.  There’s hardly any mention of it on the internet and the tiny reference Heylin makes to the song is utterly derisory suggesting the song demonstrates “no real surges of imagination”.

Well I disagree, painful though the quality of the recording is.  There really is something utterly bluesy and just right in this song which if Dylan had performed it on stage would have brought the house down.

There is also a problem with the one and only recording I can find on the internet, at least when I play it since it is preluded with not just one but two adverts.  Then the video insists on resetting its volume button to zero each time (it’s the thing bottom right next to the square if you get this problem).

Now maybe you won’t want to play it over and over again (which is what I do when writing these reviews) so that won’t matter.  But if you want to get the hang of this song it is all very frustrating.  So frustrating that I am almost tempted to do a recording myself just so we have something to preserve the song.

Yes it is just a blues, and the lyrics are far from complete, but Bob Dylan when just messing around with a tape recorder can create blues songs at the drop of a hat as great as many of the classics from earlier years.

So, indeed, it is painful because of the quality but if you really want to know about the stuff Dylan just threw away, try it.

And maybe next time I’m in a studio I’ll have a go.  Unless someone else wants to record it first – in which case tell me and I’ll put that up straight away.

Don’t forget to check the audio button bottom right next to the square, just in case with you it does the same as with me and resets itself to zero each time!

Think there’s something missing or wrong with this review?

You are of course always welcome to write a comment below, but if you’d like to go further, you could write an alternative review – we’ve already published quite a few of these.  We try to avoid publishing reviews and comments that are rude or just criticisms of what is written elsewhere – but if you have a positive take on this song or any other Dylan song, and would like it considered for publication, please do email Tony@schools.co.uk

What else is on the site

1: Over 480 reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.

2: The Chronology.  We’ve taken the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums.  The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site.  We have also produced overviews of Dylan’s work year by year.     The index to the chronologies is here.

3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.

4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.

6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines and our articles on various writers’ lists of Dylan’s ten greatest songs.

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews


  1. If I were Bob Dylan, I‘d pick up a whole bunch of songs that I‘d „thrown away“ unfinished and record them all anew for the next studio-bootleg boxset. But then, Dylan is ahead and far too busy to look back anyway, and no one else is him.

  2. IMO, this is far too rough of a recording, indecipherable lyrics, and early on in the process to call it great, or even good. I love Bob’s music, and for many years. However, I am not one of those who believes that every little blurt or noise that Bob makes is “amazing.” I have seen or heard too many concerts and/or bootlegs by Bob that were simply awful to be fooled into that. Put this away one away for good, where it belongs.

  3. The fact that some people are interested in hearing the rough recordings that Dylan left behind, and I’ve decided to deliver a complete catalogue thereof. To argue that certain information should not be noted seems odd to me; people don’t have to read it or take any notice of it.
    Some people are interested in history, some not. At least with the information available one can make one’s own choice as to what is interesting and what is not. If one decides to leave something out, then that is a form of censorship and a removal of choice.

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