When I was playing Pool with friends in Canberra back in 1994, we would replay this song to death on the jukebox. That’s when bars had jukeboxes where you entered coin change, perhaps they still do. I don’t know. Our avuncular companion Keith (who I have written about before in the Puccini – E Lucevan Le Stelle article) brought his harmonica to replicate the harmonica playing in today’s featured song. He was proud of his efforts as we were. The lyrics, instrumentals and Dylan’s delivery of I Want You encapsulate why Blonde on Blonde is so admired. Dylan described the record as ‘That Thin, Wild Mercury Sound‘.
The guilty undertaker sighs
The lonesome organ grinder cries
The silver saxophones say I should refuse you
The cracked bells and washed-out horns
Blow into my face with scorn
But it’s not that way
I wasn’t born to lose you
I want you, I want you
I want you, so bad
Honey, I want you
When I read his lyrics, even today, I remain in awe and perplexed how Dylan achieved that level of sophistication in his poetry. If you could not understand the language, you might distill the song as just a catchy, groovy love song, but what sets I Want You apart from those songs are the words and how everything coalesces as aforementioned to form a stupendous piece of great art. As Dylan said in a 66 interview: “It’s not just pretty words to a tune or putting tunes to words.”
To me Dylan is brimming at the edge with creative / nervous / explosive energy. It boggles my mind, and it never grows old. This is one of Dylan’s most animated songs on the surface.
I Want You was recorded in the early morning hours of March 10, 1966, and the song was the last one recorded for Dylan’s double-album Blonde on Blonde. Obviously, many songs will appear from Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde – so stay tuned. Thank you for reading.
1. I Want You (Bob Dylan Song) – Wikipedia