“I want you to know I love you” Bob Dylan’s song that’s all about the rhythm

By Tony Attwood

This Dylan song from April 1981 is another that is listed by Heylin but without any discussion or detail.  I suppose because the lyrics are incomplete it leaves him without much to say, since he so rarely ventures into matters of music per se.

But I think one really needs to with Bob Dylan.  Yes he won the Nobel Prize for literature, but he has always been a musician.   And here it’s all about the rhythm and really it is one hell of a rhythm.

Clearly this is not just a rough run through for the first time, for the female singer/s certaintly know where all this is going, as do the band with the very unexpected chord change at the end of the verses.

Even without accompanying lyrics that go much beyond the title there is just such power and energy that surely must rank this up there, if not above some of those half materialised hotel room songs.

In fact I would rate this as something worthy of a band who might want to create another Dylan co-composition.  The great man has given his permission for this to happen in the past, so why not again?

The main thrust of the song works around the sequence

B  F#

with F# being the tonic.

Indeed F sharp is a very unusual song for Bob to play in, but that is where he is here.   The unusual twist at the end of the verse (which they miss the first time but get right the last two times) is

C#   E   B  F#

It is a very effective change.

The only problem with the song (apart from the fact that Bob hasn’t written the words by the time this recording gets its run through) is that it is hard to see how it would fit into “Shot of Love” as it was finally constituted – but with this, Shot of Love would have been a totally different album – and who knows what other great songs could have been included.

Caribbean Wind perhaps?

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.

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


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