Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)

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"Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)"
Bob Dylan Tight Connection to My Heart Single.jpg
Single by Bob Dylan
from the album Empire Burlesque
B-side"We Better Talk This Over"
Format7" single
GenreRock, new wave
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan singles chronology
"Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)"
"When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky"

"Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)" is a song by Bob Dylan that was released on his 1985 album Empire Burlesque. As a single, it was a Top 40 Hit in New Zealand and Belgium. An earlier version of the song, entitled "Someone's Got a Hold of My Heart", was recorded for Dylan's 1983 LP, Infidels, but was not included on that album; it later appeared on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.

Development and recording[edit]

"Someone's Got a Hold of My Heart"[edit]

An early version of "Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)" was recorded during sessions for Infidels, Dylan's 1983 album, as "Someone's Got a Hold of My Heart".[1] A total of thirteen takes of the song were recorded at the Power Station Studio in New York City, in three of the recording sessions, on April 16, April 25, and April 26.[2] On the recording sheet, the song was listed as "Hold of My Heart".[2] One of the April 25 takes was released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991.[1]


The following musicians played on the recording released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991:[3]

"Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)"[edit]


Dylan used the basic track from one of the "Someone's Got a Hold of My Heart" takes from 1983, and added vocal overdubs in January 1985, including vocals by female backup singers.[4]


Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor in the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon. Dylan borrowed lines from this and other Bogart films for "Tight Connection to My Heart".

Dylan biographer Michael Gray notes that, as elsewhere on the Empire Burlesque album, "Tight Connection to My Heart" includes references to a number of lines of dialogue from Humphrey Bogart films.[5] In Sirocco, Bogart says, "‘I’ve got to move fast: I can’t with you around my neck", which becomes "Well I had to move fast / And I couldn’t with you around my neck" in the song. Also in Sirocco, Bogart says, "I don’t know whether I’m too good for you or you’re too good for me", changed to "But I can’t figure out if I’m too good for you / Or if you’re too good for me" in "Tight Connection to My Heart".[5] In The Maltese Falcon, when Bogart's character [Sam Spade] is told, "We wanna talk to you, Spade", he replies, "Well, go ahead and talk"; Dylan turns this into "You want to talk to me, / Go ahead and talk".[5] Gray writes that Dylan's line "I’ll go along with the charade / Until I can think my way out" is said in the movie Tokyo Joe[5] (this line has elsewhere been attributed to another Bogart film, Sahara).[6] A variation on this same line was also used in the Star Trek episode "The Squire of Gothos" in 1967.[5] In The Oklahoma Kid, Bogart says to James Cagney, "I wanna talk to you, kid," and Cagney replies "Go ahead and talk." Cagney is later arrested for a crime he didn't commit, and kills two men for attempting to get away when he is arresting them for the crime. The song includes the lines, "You wanna talk to me / Go ahead and talk /... I must be guilty of something" and "Later he'll be shot for resisting arrest."

Gray additionally hears references to some non-Bogart films in the song. In Now and Forever, from 1934, Gary Cooper says about some police officers that "Close up they don’t look as large as they do from a distance"; in the song this becomes "What looks large from a distance / Close up ain’t never that big."[5] Other references are to "Memphis in June", the Hoagy Carmichael song used in Johnny Angel, and to the film title Town Without Pity.[5]

About the film references, biographer Clinton Heylin complains of Dylan's "reliance on the dialogue of Hollywood scriptwriters for any lyrical gaps, as he replaced blazingly original lines from 'Someone's Got a Hold of My Heart' with excerpts from Humphrey Bogart movie scripts".[7] Jonathan Lethem, contributor to The Cambridge Companion to Bob Dylan, is likewise disappointed that the rewrite "replaces the original's vulnerable tone with a Bogartishly hardboiled one".[8] Gray writes that "these film script snatches... are so unmemorable and unarresting as content yet are mostly so attractive, tersely energetic and imitable as conversational rhythms, and offer cadences of heightened moment: they are great movie lines, in fact, and understandably appealing to [Dylan]."[5] He adds that in some of the instances, "Dylan’s sub-editing, his tightening-up, gives [the lines] their radiance. You might feel that they’re easy building blocks for writer’s-block sufferers, or for singer-songwriters with nothing special to say. Or you might feel that Dylan has made himself inward with, and then re-expressed creatively, yet another branch of American popular culture: one that may have been handed down from above, from the on-highs of Hollywood, but one that has inhabited the shared minds of millions of ordinary people."[5]


The following musicians played on the recording released on Empire Burlesque:[9]

  • Bob Dylan – Keyboards, vocals
  • Mick Taylor – Guitar
  • Ted Perlman – Guitar
  • Robbie Shakespeare – Bass
  • Sly Dunbar – Drums
  • Carol DennisBacking vocals
  • Queen Esther Marrow – Backing vocals
  • Peggi Blu – Backing vocals

Release and appraisal[edit]

"Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)" was released as the opening track on Empire Burlesque on May 30, 1985.[9] As a single, it was released with "We Better Talk This Over" as the B-side;[10] this song first appeared on 1978's Street-Legal.[11] The single reached the Top 10 in New Zealand[10] and the Top 40 in Belgium;[12] it also reached No. 71 in Canada.[13] In the 2000s, the song was put on the Dylan compilation The Ultimate Collection,[14] as well as on certain editions of The Essential Bob Dylan, including the "Limited Tour Edition"[15][16] and the "Australian Bonus Tracks Edition".[17]

AllMusic critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine describes "Tight Connection to My Heart" as a "subtle gem",[18] while for Thomas Ward, also of AllMusic, the song is "tremendous fun".[19] The writers of The New Rolling Stone Album Guide, include the composition in "the all-time canon of great Dylan songs on lousy Dylan albums".[20] Similarly, critic Anthony Varesi, for whom "the bulk of [Empire Burlesque] is unattractive", characterizes "Tight Connection to My Heart" as "fantastic".[21] The editors of Mojo magazine likewise praise the song, calling it "deeply '80s but entertainingly breezy" while lamenting that Empire Burlesque "fails to scrape even modest heights thereafter".[22]

Live performances and covers[edit]

British singer-songwriter John Martyn, shown here in 2006, is among the artists who have covered "Tight Connection to My Heart (Has Anybody Seen My Love)".

Dylan performed "Tight Connection to My Heart" 14 times in the early 1990s. He first performed it on January 12, 1990, in New Haven, Connecticut, and then 11 more times in 1990.[23] On November 16 and 17, 1993, he played the song twice in New York City.[23]

John Martyn released a cover on the first pressing of his 1986 album Piece by Piece .[24]

The song makes an appearance in the Dylan-sanctioned Dustbowl play Girl from the North Country by Conor McPherson, hauntingly sung by Sheila Atim and arranged by Simon Hale in performances at London's Old Vic theatre in August 2017.[25]


Chart (1985) Peak
Belgian Charts 38[12]
Canadian RPM Singles Chart 71[13]
New Zealand Singles Charts 8[10]
US Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles 103[26]
US Billboard Top Rock Tracks 19[27]