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I Want You

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2 Leave a comment on paragraph 2 0 Commentary

3 Leave a comment on paragraph 3 0 I Want You was release as a single, ultimately reaching number twenty on the Billboard charts. It’s not hard to understand why. I Want You is one of the most melodic and pop-sounding songs in the Dylan catalog.

4 Leave a comment on paragraph 4 0 I Want You was recorded with Al Kooper on organ, a holdover from the earlier NYC sessions, and Nashville musicians pulled together by record producer Bob Johnston. Kooper part is especially interesting. He  played a Lowrey organ on  the  track, the same type used by Garth Hudson on many The Band and Dylan/Band recordings.

5 Leave a comment on paragraph 5 0 One of the most striking aspects of the song is that it takes the cliched love lyric about being ‘born to be with somebody’ and turns it around. In this song the singer doesn’t sing the cliched ‘I was born to be with you’, but rather “I wasn’t born to lose you”. In other words, the singer doesn’t believe in some fairy tale magical destiny, but now that he has happened into something great he’s not going to let it go easily.

6 Leave a comment on paragraph 6 0 Like many Dylan songs, there is no clear narrative flow. It seems to be a pretty complicated scene, with as many as three different women involved. There’s the object of affection of course, but there’s also the Queen of Spades who he “returns” to, and the Chamber-Maid who the narrator is “not afraid to look at” (The Queen of Spades and the Chamber-Maid could be the same person – it’s not clear).

7 Leave a comment on paragraph 7 0 Dylan often refers to women as ‘queens’. He does so in Just Like a Woman (“Queen Mary”), Need a Woman (“Well I need a woman to be my queen”), and Gates of Eden (“two-wheeled gypsy queen”).

8 Leave a comment on paragraph 8 0 The Queen of Spades/chamber-maid references are interesting. Like Memphis Blues Again, the narrator is referring to another woman who is willing to give him what he needs if his lover will not. See the similarities between these lines from Memphis Blues:

9 Leave a comment on paragraph 9 0 When Ruthie says come see her
In her honky-tonk lagoon,
Where I can watch her waltz for free
‘Neath her Panamanian moon.
An’ I say, “Aw come on now,
You must know about my debutante.”
An’ she says, “Your debutante just knows what you need
But I know what you want.”
Oh, Mama, can this really be the end,
To be stuck inside of Mobile
With the Memphis blues again.

10 Leave a comment on paragraph 10 0 And these lines from I Want You:

11 Leave a comment on paragraph 11 2 She knows that I’m not afraid
To look at her.
She is good to me
And there’s nothing she doesn’t see.
She knows where I’d like to be
But it doesn’t matter.

12 Leave a comment on paragraph 12 0 I always found the final verse of the song especially confusing.

13 Leave a comment on paragraph 13 0 Now your dancing child with his Chinese suit,
He spoke to me, I took his flute.
No, I wasn’t very cute to him,
Was I?
But I did it, though, because he lied
Because he took you for a ride
And because time was on his side
And because I . . .
I want you, I want you,
I want you so bad,
Honey, I want you.

14 Leave a comment on paragraph 14 0 Who is this child in a “Chinese suit”? Interestingly, Paul Williams suggests that the character is a romantic rival that the narrator wants to drive away. In his live shows Dylan almost always skips this verse.

15 Leave a comment on paragraph 15 0 Dylan has performed this song many, many times. It appears on two live records, At Budokan and Dylan and the Dead. The slowed-down version on Budokan is pretty good, one of the better cuts on a very mediocre record. The Dylan and the Dead version is, like almost everything on the record, awful. The song was also recorded for the Unplugged album, although it didn’t make the final cut. It’s a very slow version that works well. I’m not sure if it exceeds the original, but it is definitely worth a listen.

16 Leave a comment on paragraph 16 0 And one more thing. The song also has one of Dylan’s most inventive rhymes – “interrupt” and “broken cup”. Good one!

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24 Leave a comment on paragraph 24 0 Lyrics

25 Leave a comment on paragraph 25 0 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.

26 Leave a comment on paragraph 26 0 The drunken politician leaps
Upon the street where mothers weep
And the saviors who are fast asleep,
They wait for you.
And I wait for them to interrupt
Me drinkin’ from my broken cup
And ask me to
Open up the gate for you.
I want you, I want you,
I want you so bad,
Honey, I want you.

27 Leave a comment on paragraph 27 0 Now all my fathers, they’ve gone down
True love they’ve been without it.
But all their daughters put me down
‘Cause I don’t think about it.

28 Leave a comment on paragraph 28 0 Well, I return to the Queen of Spades
And talk with my chambermaid.
She knows that I’m not afraid
To look at her.
She is good to me
And there’s nothing she doesn’t see.
She knows where I’d like to be
But it doesn’t matter.
I want you, I want you,
I want you so bad,
Honey, I want you.

29 Leave a comment on paragraph 29 0 Now your dancing child with his Chinese suit,
He spoke to me, I took his flute.
No, I wasn’t very cute to him,
Was I?
But I did it, though, because he lied
Because he took you for a ride
And because time was on his side
And because I . . .
I want you, I want you,
I want you so bad,
Honey, I want you.

Page 79
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Source: http://www.bobdylancommentaries.com/blonde-on-blonde/i-want-you/