Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word

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"Love Is Just a Four-Letter Word"
Single by Joan Baez
from the album Any Day Now
B-side "Love Minus Zero/No Limit"
Released December 1968
Format 45 RPM single
Recorded September 1968, Columbia Studios, Nashville
Genre Folk
Length 3:26
Label Vanguard (UK)
Vanguard (US)
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer(s) Maynard Solomon
Joan Baez
Joan Baez singles chronology
"Be Not Too Hard"
(1967)
"Love is Just a Four-Letter Word"
(1968)
"Sweet Sir Galahad"
(1969)
Any Day Now track listing
"Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands"
(7)
"Love is Just a Four-Letter Word"
(8)
"I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine"
(9)

"Love is Just a Four-Letter Word" is a song written by Bob Dylan, and long associated with Joan Baez, who has recorded it numerous times, and performed it throughout her career. Written by Dylan somewhere around 1965, Baez immediately took to the song, and began performing it, even before it was finished. (In the film Dont Look Back, a documentary of Dylan's 1965 tour of the UK, Baez is shown in one scene singing a fragment of the then apparently still unfinished song in a hotel room late at night. She then tells Dylan, "If you finish it, I'll sing it on a record.") Baez first included the song on Any Day Now, her 1968 album of Dylan covers; she has since recorded it three additional times. Her 1968 recording was also released as a single.

Dylan himself appears to have never recorded the song.

Trivia[edit]

In the 2005 PBS American Masters documentary on Dylan, No Direction Home, Baez told a story of how she was with Dylan, when he first heard her recording of "Love is Just a Four-Letter Word" on the radio. He commented on it, "Hey, that's a great song!", apparently having forgotten that it was he who'd written it.

The title line "Love is just a four-letter word" derives from a line in the Tennessee Williams play Camino Real.