“Is it worth it?” by Bob Dylan. Another lovely lost song from the source of endless production.

by Tony Attwood

So why is this song not on the mega mega boxed up and packaged “Trouble no more bootleg” packages?  Why does it not even get a mention on BobDylan.com?

I have no idea.  It appears to have been recorded in March 1981 around the time of Heart of Mine although the YouTube below says 1980.  It has no lyrics published – but it was copyrighted in 1985.

(One is tempted to say at this point,

Hey Bob Dylan dot com I wrote you a note
About a song Bobby did but you just don’t quote…


But perhaps not).

It’s just three chords, and lots of feel (you might call it “soul”).


I really can’t understand how, with all the effort going in to giving us so much of everything on the boxed set this clearly rehearsed song full of feeling gets left off.  Indeed I’d think it was worth including on a mainstream CD.

The wonderful Expecting Rain site did come up with a transcription, and I re-publish it below in the hopes that they don’t mind.  If they do I’ll take it down and we’ll have a bash ourselves.

What we can say is that the music is finished but not the lyrics, so Bob probably just abandoned it because he had the phrase that defined the entire piece, but not the fill in lyrics to go with it.

I think also in what follows it is not so much a case of us not knowing what the lyrics are but that he doesn’t know either, and it was just a case of having gone this far that he felt it wasn’t worth the effort of going no further.

But that still doesn’t explain why it got left out of the whole collection of the period unless either Bob forgot about the song or he just felt it wasn’t religious enough to merit keeping.

Over to anyone who can take these “lyrics” further and make something more of them.  Maybe we should even run a “Complete the Dylan song” competition – although without prizes (I can’t afford to give prizes).

I hope 
I don’t hear (And the ear) (Adaloear?) 
And the time when 
All they heal (All the here?) 

I will take ya 
For a ride 
All pawater (pervader?) (ah cowater?) (all pervader) 
All the here 

Cuz the bad moon on the rise 
He (Peace?) (Heat?) (Me?) shining in your eyes 

Is it worth it, 
What your doin’ to me? 

All will tell ya 
And I will 
Before too long 

(Toll?) (Told?) the razy (racing?) 
Cadillac roadster 
In (and?) the pocket 
Of a’right or wrong 

Patty Girl with your blue bell eyes 
Shining desert so (sone?) 

Is it worth it? 
What your doin’ to me. 

Of a take 
Fifteen (fifty) dollars 
And, ugh, I roll them 
Central park west 
He creator (laughs) 
My own baby 
Then she know it 
Deep in our bed 
But it don’t move up to know 
And that ain’t the way the flower grows 

Is it worth it, 
What your doing to me? 

The conduction (seduction?) of the will 
And a nasty automobile 
All them dollars (all the dollar) 
Couldn’t buy 
All the sorrow (sworrow?) (swolrow?) 
Make you cry 

Some place I fore (for?) know 
I’ve died each ya don’t go 

Is it worth it, 
What your doin’ to me 

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: 500+ 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.

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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. The theme of the song’s seems along the line of ‘The production of the wheel/And the nasty automobile’ – it’s all the car’s fault.

    Words close to:

    I hope I don’t need her
    And the diamond on the hill
    I will take her for a ride
    I’ll go with her on the hill
    But the bad moon on the rise
    Piece shining in your eyes
    Is it worth it, we’ll is it worth it
    Well is it worth it what you’re doin’ to me
    Operator, I will tell ya
    And I will before too long
    Told the crazy Cadillac roadster in the park it
    Am I right or am I wrong
    Patty girl with your blue bell eyes
    Shining in the sun

  2. It’s a very promising sketch, but apparently it wasn’t finished enough for the box set. The songs on the set (except for a couple of live performances) all have finished lyrics, at least in the sense that they’re made up of actual words. Personally, I’d pay for a box set of unfinished songs like this one.

  3. I’m grateful for the full Trouble No More boxed set (though the DVD is marred by the politically correct “sermons” that convince NOBODY). But yeah — I’d gladly have gone for an even more full presentation that included unfinished or unpolished works such as “All the Way Down” and “Rockin’ Boat.” These were available on YouTube as a compilation From Saved to Shot [i.e. Shot of Love], that wonderful time of creativity for Dylan.

  4. Hey Tony, I think this a pretty important find. By the sound of the recording and the intensity of the singing, he really wanted to make this work but I guess he moved on to bigger and better things. This song gives a good insight to his working process. The opening verse he repeats the phrase “ON THE HILL” as a holding spot for a future rhyme. So most of the words we can’t figure out are holding spots. Thanks to the lyrics already posted, I came up with the following.


    I hope I don’t need her
    That diamond on the hill
    I will take it for a ride
    on the way to on the hill

    But the bad moon on the rise
    Heat shining in your eyes

    Is it worth it (3X)
    What your doin to me

    Operator, I’ll will tell you
    And I will before too long
    Gonna race a Cadillac Roadster
    In the pocket at the light all long

    Party Girl with your bluebell eyes
    Shining in the sun

    Is it worth it (3X)
    What your doin to me


    I’m gonna take fifty dollars
    And I’m gonna roll them to Central Park West
    He created my own baby
    And she know it deep in our bed

    But it don’t move up to know
    And it ain’t the way the flower grows

    Is it worth it (3X)
    What your doin to me

    The seduction of the will
    And a nasty automobile
    All them dollars couldn’t buy
    All the sorrow make you cry

    Some place that we know
    I would die if each of you don’t go

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