Untold Dylan

The Very Thought of You: Bob Dylan continues the brief experiment of reusing old song titles.

By Tony Attwood

To a certain degree this is a reworking of the 1973 composition “You angel you” although to be fair there are only certain elements of that original song which turn up here.

This 1985 song that was intended for Empire Burlesque but left on the cutting room floor (as it were).


There are multiple locations on the internet that have this song so if my link above doesn’t work just search on your search engine and it is more than likely that one of the others will still be there and working.

What may not be there however will be a set of lyrics – although there are multiple sites that claim to have them.  What they have however is the name of Bob Dylan are the lyrics of “The Very Thought of You” written by Ray Nobel in 1934.  In case you want to hear that song there are also multiple versions on line.

But since I like Billie Holiday here’s her version of that 1930s classic… (the Dylan commentary continues below).

Anyway, back to Bob Dylan, and it is interesting that the official Bob Dylan site doesn’t have this song listed by Bob Dylan at all.  (Maybe those people from official Bob Land who have kindly taken an interest in what we are doing here might like to correct that.  I suspect they have been as misled by the title as were the guys who put up the lyrics sites using a computer without ever checking the songs.  This is a Dylan original I can assure BobDylan.com.

Below are the lyrics as far as I can work them out.  However you will know if you are a regular reader that I am utterly useless as transcribing Dylan lyrics so I would welcome a complete reworking by anyone who has the time, as long as you promise not to laugh at my feeble rendition here.  When I get something that works I’ll replace my version with of course a full credit to the reader who helps.

And there could be a prize.  BobDylan.com might recognise your talent and hire you for transcriptions.  Or maybe not.

The very thought of you
Oh what it can do
Deep in my mind I'm so intertwined
With the very thought of you
The very thought of you
Oh what it can do
Turn me down I'm ironed out ???
To the very thought of you
Dont you see the the things that last
From the best of wicked charms
See the place when you call my name
Just as soon as I am ????
The very thought of you
Oh what it can do
I can't get ? but I can't escape
From the very thought of you


Oh don't you see the things that last
from the best of wicked charms
And my ?  are ? when you call my name
Just as soon as I ?
The very thought of you
Oh what it can do
I can take but I can't escape
From the very thought of you

I think this is a perfectly viable song – hardly one a great Dylan composition, but a nice piece of light relief, and an interesting way of reworking a very famous song title from a previous era.

But I’m not too knocked out by the lead guitar’s three chords at the end of each line that run after “The very thought of you” and “Oh what it can do”.   It is ok the first time but it wears a bit thin after a while.

What we have got here is a very pleasant melody and it bounces along.   As for the link with “You Angel You” the live performances I can find on the internet have Bob removing some of the nuances of the album version which really allow us to hear the similarities, but this is quite fun

As for the context of Bob’s writing at the time this is what we have (remembering always that this is one of the most contentious periods of Dylan’s work for dating the songs since some of the songs such as “Well well well” were written at this time and then left for others to complete later.  It is the section where more than any other I differ completely from Heylin in my order of composition).

I find it interesting to do these context lists because they can reveal some interesting points (well, interesting to me).  Such as “Straight A’s in Love” uses an old title for a new song (as the review points out) and here we have Bob doing it again with “The Very Thought of You”.  I am not sure he went further than that, but this fact that two songs using old titles were written one after the other shows it wasn’t Bob forgetting that a classic with this title already existed – he was trying out the idea of using old song titles for new songs.

And why not.  Here’s the list of songs in the order that they were composed (according to my data at least).

There are of course no guarantees of prizes in music, either for the composers who have completed Bob Dylan songs when he can’t find a good tune, nor for any one of us trying to get the transcription right.   You can find loans for bad credit no guarantor but not a guarantee that Bob’s publishers will acknowledge you.  We can but hope.

What else is on the site

Untold Dylan is written by people who want to write for Untold Dylan.  It is simply a forum for those interested in the work of the most famous, influential and recognised popular musician and poet of our era, to read about, listen to and express their thoughts on, his lyrics and music.

We welcome articles, contributions and ideas from all our readers.  Sadly no one gets paid, but if you are published here, your work will be read by a fairly large number of people across the world, ranging from fans to academics who teach English literature.  If you have an idea, or a finished piece send it as a Word file to Tony@schools.co.uk with a subject line saying that it is for publication on Untold Dylan.

We also have a very lively discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook with approaching 6000 active members. Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 

You’ll find some notes about our latest posts arranged by themes and subjects on the home page of this site.  You can also see details of our main sections on this site at the top of this page under the picture.  Not every index is complete but I do my best.

But what is complete is our index to all the 604 Dylan compositions and co-compositions that we have found, on the A to Z page.  I’m proud of that; no one else has found that many songs with that much information.  Elsewhere the songs are indexed by theme and by the date of composition. See for example Bob Dylan year by year.


  1. I don’t think Dylan is saying ‘flame’ ….’faith’ and/or ‘flesh’ more likely …

  2. Me again, i must have read your article too quickly and mistook your version (where and when was it recorded?) with the (only) one i have. Sorry for this. Daniel

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