Song to Bonny: second appeal and a threat

By Tony Attwood

A while back Senior Untold Detective Aaron Galbraith discovered another Bob Dylan song that only had words by no music: Song to Bonny.

Now as you may know, we’ve made a habit of finding these lyrics and having one or two of our readers write and record the music to go with them.

We’ve got these – and one of them as well as Song to Bonny is still outstanding – “Let me come baby” which has a request to write the lyrics.

And so moving on…

Here is another Dylan lyric with no music, plus an invite to you to create the song and have it published here.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say it was probably set to the same music as Song To Woody…but who knows so if you are of a musical frame of mind you can do what they want with it!

It’s called Song To Bonny and was written in December 1960. I’ve transcribed the lyrics from the source material here to make it easier to read…

My Mother raised me tenderly
I was her pride and joy
She never meant for me to be
No wanderin’ homeless boy
I’m writing a song to a girl I once knew
It wasn’t so long but it seems so long ago
This ain’t no love song or none of its kind
It’s a song of remembrance of a girl in my mind
Hey hey Bonny I’m singing to you now
This song I’m singing is the best I know how
The song birds are singing their voices do ring
And I’ll think of you as long as they sing
Hey Bonny Beecher I think that you know
What I am doing and where I must go
Can’t give you no ring of diamond or gold
But I’ll think about you wherever I go
Springtime’s a comin’ and the grass’ll turn green
The flowers’ll bloom and the leaves on the trees
Will all turn in colors and all seem to shade
The Wild Mississippi where you sit and wait
Hey hey Bonny I wrote you a song
Cause I don’t know if I’ll see you again
I want you to know whatever I do
I’ll always remember that I once was with you
Remember me baby I’s good to you one time
I’m a wandering boy and you’re in my wandering mind

The lyrics date from about the same time as “Talkin’ Hugh Brown and “Bonnie Why’d you Cut my Hair?” and Heylin says it “appears to be Dylan’s first serious attempt to put a real girl into one of his own songs.”

Heylin also ventures the notion that the song may have been sung to the tune of “1913 Massacre” and tells us that Bonny later married Hugh Romney.

So if you feel in song writing mood and want to put your music to this set of lyrics please do so and send it in to Tony@schools.co.uk and we will publish it here.

The threat from the publisher is that if no one sends in a musical version soon the publisher will publish his own version.

Here is the manuscript if you prefer to work from that