I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know (1970) – Bob Dylan

I’ve Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know About Him is a song, written by Cecil Null in 1953, but was adapted by Bob Dylan for his 1970 album Self Portrait. The song tells the story of the ex-girlfriend of a young man warning his smug, ruthless current flame who stole him away that she’ll lose him too one day “when his love goes cold.” The song was a blockbuster hit, the only number one country song by a female duet until the rise of The Judds some thirty years later. It was the first hit for the duo of Skeeter Davis and Betty Jack Davis, and also their only one, as Betty Jack was killed in an automobile accident the week the record was released.

Self Portrait is a maligned Dylan record. It features many cover versions including today’s song. Most of the album is sung in the affected country crooning voice that Dylan had introduced a year earlier on Nashville Skyline. I always enjoyed this album starting from the bizarre, but cheeky introductory track All the Tired Horses. Despite the negative critical reception, the album quickly went gold in the US, where it hit No. 4, and was also a UK No. 1 hit. I’m not a fan of crooner music, but his version of I’ve Forgotten More Than You’ll Ever Know About Him (her), akin to his cover versions on his Sinatra tribute album hits all my musical sweet spots.

I forgot more than you’ll ever know about her.

You think you know the smile on her lips
The thrill and the touch of her fingertips
But I forgot more than you’ll ever know about her.

You think you’ll find heaven of bliss
In each caress, in each tender kiss
But I forgot more than you’ll ever know about her.

Dylan said the following about the Self Portrait album (which he also called his own bootleg record):

There’d be crowds outside my house. And I said, “Well, fuck it. I wish these people would just forget about me. I wanna do something they can’t possibly like, they can’t relate to. They’ll see it, and they’ll listen, and they’ll say, ‘Well, let’s go on to the next person. He ain’t sayin’ it no more. He ain’t givin’ us what we want,’ you know? They’ll go on to somebody else,”

But the whole idea backfired because the album went out there, and the people said, “This ain’t what we want,” and they got more resentful. And then I did this portrait for the cover. I mean, there was no title for that album. I knew somebody who had some paints and a square canvas, and I did the cover up in about five minutes. And I said, “Well, I’m gonna call this album Self Portrait.

1. I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know – Wikipedia
2. Self Portrait – Bob Dylan

“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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Posted in Music
5 comments on “I Forgot More Than You’ll Ever Know (1970) – Bob Dylan
  1. Badfinger (Max) says:

    I love his attitude with this album. Matt I’ve seen him on television playing a song and he mumbles the words and trips over some…and then….I saw him live a week later…he was picture perfect. He does play with people I believe.

  2. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Sorry I got off track but I do like this album.
    Yes he does sound like Elvis a little…he has a little of his Lay Lady Lay voice also. This shows the man can conventionally sing also.

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