Other people’s songs: Dylan’s take on “Let it be me”


by Aaron Galbraith and Tony Attwood

Aaron: “Let It Be Me” is a popular song originally published in French in 1955 as “Je t’appartiens”.

Tony: Literally that translates as “I belong to you” and the opening lines run…

Comme l'argile
L'insecte fragile
L'esclave docile
Je t'appartiens

De tout mon être
Tu es le seul maître
Je dois me soumettre
Je t'appartiens

And just for a bit a fun I thought I’d offer a literal translation (rather than the re-write that we all know)

Like clay
The fragile insect
The docile slave
I belong to you

With all my being
You are the only master
I have to submit
I belong to you

“The fragile insect” doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as

I bless the day I found youI wanna stay around youNow and forever, 
let it be me

Don't take this heaven from oneIf you must cling to someoneNow and forever, 
let it be me

And that stuff about “the master” and “I have to submit” doesn’t quite feel right these days!

The original French lyrics were written by Pierre Delanoë and the English lyrics that we now know came from Mann Curtis.  It was apparently originally performed in 1957 by Jill Corey in the television series Climax!

Which is interesting because although Climax! was not a particularly long-running TV series, nor indeed one that anyone other than those who made it, is likely to remember, it does have one claim to fame, and that is that an episode in the first series in 1954 included the first ever appearance on the screen of British agent James Bond, in an adaptation of Casino Royale.  “James” on this occasion became “Jimmy,” and American.

Anyway, back to the plot, Gilbert Bécaud was apparently known as “Monsieur 100,000 Volts” because of his on-stage performances.   Now moving on… I think Jill Corey’s version came next but didn’t add too much to the song…

Aaron: The Everly Brothers popularized the track with an English version in 1959

Tony: As a child, I did like the Everly Brothers, but always preferred the upbeat songs.  And they are of note from our point of view on this site since they did also record a couple of Dylan tracks: “Abandoned Love” and “Lay Lady Lay”.  Here’s the first of these (and sorry Aaron I’m really going off-piste in this one I know, but it’s just what happens – the memories come pouring back in and I can’t resist following them up – even though I know this is a rather uninspiring version).

Aaron: Dylan’s version of “Let it be Me” came from 1970s Self Portrait.

Tony: I think Bob did more for this song than the Everlys did for Bob’s song, although I am not at all happy with the way the vocals and instrumentation clash each time we have the title line, but I really do like Bob’s vocals overall, and the instrumental break.

Aaron: Subsequent versions include Laura Nyro from her 2001 album Angel in the Dark.

Tony: I am always a bit suspicious of people who take songs and then slow them down for vocal flourishes and extra emotion.  I think that a significant part of the song is the continuing rhythm, and here, with the piano accompaniment that doesn’t seem to have too much to do with the varied melody line, it all becomes a bit broken – at least to my ear.

It might work if the lyrics were all about a break up of a relationship, but they are about the opposite: the desire for the relationship, and I don’t think the arrangement gets anywhere near expressing that.

Aaron: Jeff Beck and Johnny Depp from their 2022 album 18

Tony: The electric piano accompaniment of the triplets (1,2,3; 1,2,3) is very hackneyed in that introduction and I wonder why they left it in; after all it vanishes once the voices enter.   In fact that is not the only oddity because halfway through the first verse we have a wow-wow moment from the lead guitar, which later goes completely over the top in the instrumental break.

Of course I am not an arranger, but I really cringed with this version.  I love the vocals with their perfect harmonies, and want to run away and hide from the lead guitar.  I really don’t think the arranger ever once considered the lyrics and their meaning and just thought right, “let’s see what we can throw in here”.  For me the result is a horrible mishmash.

But then, what do I know?

Other people’s songs: the series

  1. Other people’s songs. How Dylan covers the work of other composers
  2. Other People’s songs: Bob and others perform “Froggie went a courtin”
  3. Other people’s songs: They killed him
  4. Other people’s songs: Frankie & Albert
  5. Other people’s songs: Tomorrow Night where the music is always everything
  6. Other people’s songs: from Stack a Lee to Stagger Lee and Hugh Laurie
  7. Other people’s songs: Love Henry
  8. Other people’s songs: Rank Stranger To Me
  9. Other people’s songs: Man of Constant Sorrow
  10. Other people’s songs: Satisfied Mind
  11. Other people’s songs: See that my grave is kept clean
  12. Other people’s songs: Precious moments and some extras
  13. Other people’s songs: You go to my head
  14. Other people’s songs: What’ll I do?
  15. Other people’s songs: Copper Kettle
  16. Other people’s songs: Belle Isle
  17. Other people’s songs: Fixing to Die
  18. Other people’s songs: When did you leave heaven?
  19. Other people’s songs: Sally Sue Brown
  20. Other people’s songs: Ninety miles an hour down a dead end street
  21. Other people’s songs: Step it up and Go
  22. Other people’s songs: Canadee-I-O
  23. Other people’s songs: Arthur McBride
  24. Other people’s songs: Little Sadie
  25. Other people’s songs: Blue Moon, and North London Forever
  26. Other people’s songs: Hard times come again no more
  27. Other people’s songs: You’re no good
  28. Other people’s songs: Lone Pilgrim (and more Crooked Still)
  29. Other people’s songs: Blood in my eyes
  30. Other people’s songs: I forgot more than you’ll ever know
  31.  Other people’s songs: Let’s stick (or maybe work) together.
  32. Other people’s songs: Highway 51
  33. Other people’s songs: Jim Jones
  34. Other people’s songs: Let’s stick (or maybe work) together.
  35. Other people’s songs: Jim Jones
  36. Other people’s songs: Highway 51 Blues
  37. Other people’s songs: Freight Train Blues
  38. Other People’s Songs: The Little Drummer Boy
  39. Other People’s Songs: Must be Santa
  40. Other People’s songs: The Christmas Song
  41. Other People’s songs: Corina Corina
  42. Other People’s Songs: Mr Bojangles
  43. Other People’s Songs: It hurts me too
  44. Other people’s songs: Take a message to Mary
  45. Other people’s songs: House of the Rising Sun
  46. Other people’s songs: “Days of 49”
  47. Other people’s songs: In my time of dying
  48. Other people’s songs: Pretty Peggy O
  49. Other people’s songs: Baby Let me Follow You Down
  50. Other people’s songs: Gospel Plow
  51. Other People’s Songs: Melancholy Mood
  52. Other people’s songs: The Boxer and Big Yellow Taxi
  53. Other people’s songs: Early morning rain
  54. Other people’s Songs: Gotta Travel On
  55. Other people’s songs: “Can’t help falling in love”
  56. Other people’s songs: Lily of the West
  57. Other people’s songs: Alberta
  58. Other people’s songs: Little Maggie
  59. Other people’s songs: Sitting on top of the world


  1. I find the song both inspired and inspiring…

    He who thinks he can decide for others what they ought to think about the likes of Dylan commits hubris, the greatest of crimes against the immortal gods,.

    Beware Nemesis, he waits around the corner.

    Could that someone be Bob the Tarantula!

    “-Puff had nothing but bad words for
    unemployment, Wrigley’s Spearmint, Rabelais”
    (Bob Dylan: Tarantula)

    Rabelais, a master of Renaissance Burlesque.

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