You Ain't Goin' Nowhere
|"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"|
|Song by Bob Dylan from the album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II|
|Released||November 17, 1971|
|Recorded||September 24, 1971|
|Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II track listing|
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1967 in Woodstock, New York, during the self-imposed exile from public appearances that followed his July 29, 1966 motorcycle accident. A recording of Dylan performing the song in September 1971 was released on the Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II album in November of that year, marking the first official release of the song by its author. An earlier 1967 recording of the song, performed by Dylan and The Band, was issued in 1975 on the album The Basement Tapes.
The Byrds also recorded a version of the song in 1968 and issued it as a single. The Byrds' version is notable for being the first commercial release of the song, predating Dylan's first release by three years. A later cover by Byrds members Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman reached the top 10 of the Hot Country Songs charts in 1989. The song has also been covered by many other artists, including Joan Baez, Unit 4 + 2, Earl Scruggs, Old Crow Medicine Show, Phish, Counting Crows, The Dandy Warhols, Bill and Bonnie Hearne, and Glen Hansard with Markéta Irglová.
Bob Dylan's versions
Starting in June 1967 and ending in October 1967, Bob Dylan's writing and recording sessions with the Band (then known as the Hawks) in Woodstock, New York, were the source of many new songs that were circulated as demos by Dylan's publisher for fellow artists to record. "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was written and recorded during this period and features lyrics that allude to the singer waiting for his bride to arrive and possibly, a final premarital fling. The original version found on 1975's The Basement Tapes album was recorded with the Band (minus Levon Helm who had temporarily left the group at this point) in the basement of their house in West Saugerties, New York, called "Big Pink". A first take recorded during the Basement Tapes sessions includes improvised nonsense lyrics such as "Just pick up that oil cloth, cram it in the corn / I don't care if your name is Michael / You're gonna need some boards / Get your lunch, you foreign bib". This alternate take was released in 2014 on The Bootleg Series Vol. 11: The Basement Tapes Complete.
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On September 24, 1971, Dylan re-recorded three songs from the Basement Tapes sessions for inclusion on his Greatest Hits Vol. II album—"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere", "I Shall Be Released", and "Down in the Flood"—with Happy Traum playing bass, banjo and electric guitar, as well as providing vocal harmony. Traum notes that "they were very popular songs ... that [Dylan] wanted to put his own stamp on." The lyrics of this performance of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" differed significantly from both the Basement Tapes versions, and also played upon a mistaken lyric in The Byrds' cover of three years earlier (see below). The 1971 version was later released on the compilations The Essential Bob Dylan (2000) and Dylan (2007), although the latter album's liner notes erroneously state that it is the 1967 version.
The Byrds' version
|"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"|
1968 Dutch picture sleeve.
|Single by The Byrds|
|from the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo|
|Released||April 2, 1968|
|Recorded||March 9, 1968, Columbia Studios, Nashville, Tennessee|
|The Byrds singles chronology|
The Byrds' recording of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was released as a single on April 2, 1968, some three years prior to any commercial release of the song by Dylan. It was the lead single from The Byrds' 1968 country rock album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and reached number 74 on the Bllboard Hot 100 chart and number 45 on the UK Singles Chart. Along with the then current line-up of The Byrds, the song also features musical contributions from session musician Lloyd Green on pedal steel guitar. Although it is not as famous as their cover version of "Mr. Tambourine Man", The Byrds' recording of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is often considered by critics to be the band's best Dylan cover.
The song was selected as a suitable cover by The Byrds after their record label, Columbia Records, sent them some demos from Dylan's Woodstock sessions. Included among these demos were the songs "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and "Nothing Was Delivered", both of which were recorded by The Byrds in March 1968, during the Nashville recording sessions for Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Despite the change in musical style that the country-influenced Sweetheart of the Rodeo album represented for The Byrds, the inclusion of two Dylan covers on the album forged a link with their previous folk rock incarnation, when Dylan's material had been a mainstay of their repertoire.
The Byrds' recording of the song caused a minor controversy between the band and its author. Dylan's original demo of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" contained the lyric "Pick up your money, pack up your tent", which was mistakenly altered in The Byrds' version, by guitarist and singer Roger McGuinn, to "Pack up your money, pick up your tent". Dylan expressed mock-annoyance at this lyric change in his 1971 recording of the song, singing "Pack up your money, put up your tent McGuinn/You ain't goin' nowhere." McGuinn replied in 1989 on a new recording of the song included on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two album, adding the word "Dylan" after the same "Pack up your money, pick up your tent" lyric. McGuinn and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's 1989 recording of the song, which also featured The Byrds' former bass player Chris Hillman, was released as a single and peaked at number six on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1989, as well as number eleven on the Canadian country music charts published by RPM. In spite of the involvement of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the single release was credited to McGuinn and Hillman alone.
After its appearance on Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the song would go on to become a staple of The Byrds' live concert repertoire, until their final disbandment in 1973. The Byrds re-recorded "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" in 1971 with Earl Scruggs, as part of the Earl Scruggs, His Family and Friends television special, and this version was included on the program's accompanying soundtrack album. The song was also performed live by a reformed line-up of The Byrds featuring Roger McGuinn, David Crosby, and Chris Hillman in January 1989. McGuinn continues to perform the song in his solo concerts and consequently it appears on his 2007 album, Live from Spain.
In addition to its appearance on the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album, The Byrds' original recording of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" also appears on several of the band's compilations, including The Best of The Byrds: Greatest Hits, Volume II, History of The Byrds, The Byrds Play Dylan, The Original Singles: 1967–1969, Volume 2, The Byrds, and There Is a Season. Live performances of the song are included on the expanded edition of The Byrds' (Untitled) album and on Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971.
The British beat group Unit 4 + 2 released a recording of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" as a single in 1968 but it suffered poor sales as a result of the version released by The Byrds and consequently it did not chart. Joan Baez included a gender-switched version of the song, in which she sings "Tomorrow's the day my man's gonna come", on her 1968 album of Dylan covers, Any Day Now. Australian band The Flying Circus included this song on their self-titled debut album released in August 1969.
Roots rock quartet The Rave-Ups covered the song on their 1985 album, Town and Country. Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Rosanne Cash also performed the song at Madison Square Garden in 1992, for eventual release on the Bob Dylan tribute album The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration.
Phish covered the song during their July 30, 2003 concert at the Tweeter Center at the Waterfront in Camden, New Jersey. This is the only time that Phish has performed the song, coming in the show before their IT music festival in Maine (particular emphasis was put on the lyric "We'll climb that hill, no matter how steep...when we get up to it.")
The e Brothers covered "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" on their 1998 live album, Marquee Mark and Counting Crows recorded the song as a bonus track on their Hard Candy album in 2002 as well as performing it live with Augustana. Maria Muldaur recorded the song, with slightly altered lyrics, on her 2006 Heart of Mine: Maria Muldaur Sings Love Songs of Bob Dylan album and Marty Raybon, former vocalist of Shenandoah, also covered the song on his 2006 album, When the Sand Runs Out.
Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová recorded the song for the soundtrack album to Todd Haynes' Dylan biopic, I'm Not There, using the lyrics from Dylan's 1971 version, including the reference to Roger McGuinn. The Dandy Warhols have covered the song on the 2009 digital download edition of their album The Dandy Warhols Are Sound and for their September 1, 2011 Daytrotter session. Actor Oscar Isaac (with Kate Mara and Chad Fischer) performed a version of the song in the 2011 film 10 Years, which also appeared on the film's soundtrack. In 2012, Brett Dennen released a version of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" on the Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International album.
Garth Brooks for the 2013 "The Melting Pot" album in the Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences compilation.
The track features on the Fairport Convention album Cropredy 2002.
The Byrds version
|Canadian RPM Top Singles||55|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||74|
|UK Singles Chart||45|
Chris Hillman/Roger McGuinn version
|Canada Country Tracks (RPM)||11|
|US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)||6|
|US Country Songs (Billboard)||79|
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