If Not For You

Cameron Crowe, in the essay included in Biograph, calls this song, “infectious”. He writes:

This infectious love song from New Morning was a hit recordng for both Olivia Newton-John and George Harrison. Dylan’s own definitive version was never releaseds as a single. “I wrote the song thinking about my wife…it seemed simple enough, sort of tex-mex. I would never explore all the possibilities of instumentation in the sudio, add parts and so forth, chagne the beart around, so it came off kind of folky.”

Although Dylan is known as a sophisticated lyricist, he is also a master of the simple love song. Writing a simple love song is not so simple. I’ll Keep It With Mine, Love Sick, Make You Feel My Love, are a few examples where Dylan successfully threads the needle between a sickly sentimental and a fine love song.

Rolling Stone magazine ranks it as #55 on Dylan all-time great song list.

The song wasn’t played in concert until 1992, although Dylan had included it in rehearsals and sound checks. Dylan and Harrison tried it out before the Concert for Bangledesh, but decided against it. Judging from the quality of the rehearsal, probably a good idea (see below).

Bob Versions

Duet with Harrison at a rehearsal for the Concert for Bangladesh. Included as an extra in a later version of the DVD.

Covers

From Harrison’s album All Things Must Pass.

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