Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight (1983) – Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan 1983 in NY with a photogenic dog

This is the first song to come from Dylan’s 1983 studio album Infidels. Blind Willie McTell an extraordinary out-take from the same album did make my cut and was reviewed here. The version 2 live video of Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight below is my preferred version of the song although I like more what he does with the Chorus in the studio version. The line up is magical and the roundness of the rhythm section coupled with the subtlety of the guitars. This video features guitarists Mark Knopfler and Mick Taylor, drummer Sly Dunbar, bassist Robbie Shakespeare and keyboardist Alan Clark. Dylan is very animated here; in great groove and the band are fully in sync. It’s a pleasure to see these amazing artists doing what they do best at the same time.

Come over here from over there, girl
Sit down here, you can have my chair
I can’t see us goin’ anywhere, girl
The only place open is a thousand miles away, and I can’t take you there

I wish that I’d been a doctor
Maybe I’d have saved some life that had been lost
Maybe I’d have done some good in the world
‘Stead of burning every bridge I crossed

The out-take version version 2 was released on ‘Springtime In New York: The Bootleg Series Vol. 16 (1980 – 1985)‘ September 17 this year. Springtime contains a number of previously unheard out-takes, alternate takes and rehearsal recordings from Dylan’s early 1980s albums Shot Of Love, Infidels and Empire Burlesque.

I recommend anyone who would like to learn more about this song to visit the web site – Untold Dylan. As that site explains this song Don’t Fall Apart never real garnered much attention fans since it seemed like a run of the mill break-up song. But as alluded to in that article, the narrator of the song seems more hellbent on satisfying his own needs. It seems more like he will collapse if the relationship dissolves.

I’ll leave the final words to Untold Dylan as they seem to illuminate in ways the impact of the song on the listener (if they really are circumspect) and rarely discussed in fan circles. Thank God the Nobel prize committee understood it better like Untold:

While ‘Don’t Fall Apart On Me Tonight’ is far from being a great song, neither is it just filler. Its worth lies in encouraging us to reflect on the self-serving and manipulative behaviours that we all can resort to when somebody we supposedly care about doesn’t want to do as we wish.

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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