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"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
Song by Bob Dylan and The Band

from the album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II

Released November 17, 1971
Writer Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II track listing
"I Shall Be Released"
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
"Down in the Flood"
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"

1968 Dutch picture sleeve.
Single by The Byrds
from the album Sweetheart of the Rodeo
B-side "Artificial Energy"
Released April 2, 1968
Format 7" single
Recorded March 9, 1968, Columbia Studios, Nashville, TN
Genre Country rock
Length 2:33
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Bob Dylan
Producer Gary Usher
The Byrds singles chronology
"Goin' Back"
"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere"
"I Am A Pilgrim"

"You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1967 in Woodstock, New York, during the self-imposed exile from public appearances that followed his July 29, 1966 motorcycle accident.[1][2] A recording of Dylan performing the song was first officially released on the Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II album in 1971.[3] An earlier 1967 recording of the song, performed by Dylan and The Band, was issued in 1975 on the album The Basement Tapes.[4] The Byrds also recorded a version of the song in 1968 and issued it as a single.[5][6] The Byrds' version is notable for being the first commercial release of the song, predating Dylan's own version by three years.[6][3][7] The song has been covered by many artists, including Joan Baez, Earl Scruggs, Phish, Counting Crows, The Dandy Warhols, and Glen Hansard with Markéta Irglová.[8]


Bob Dylan's version

Starting in June 1967 and ending in October 1967, Bob Dylan's legendary writing and recording sessions with The Band (then known as The Hawks) in Woodstock, New York, were the source of many new songs for hungry fans and fellow artists alike.[9][10] "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was written during this period and features lyrics that allude to the singer waiting for his bride to arrive and possibly, a final premarital fling.[11] The original version found on The Basement Tapes album was recorded with The Band (minus Levon Helm who had temporarily left the group at this point) in the basement of their house in West Saugerties, New York, called "Big Pink".[9]

Dylan re-recorded the song in 1971, with Happy Traum playing banjo, second guitar and bass, for inclusion as a previously unreleased track on his Greatest Hits Vol. II album.[12] The lyrics of the version included on Greatest Hits Vol. II differed significantly from the Basement Tapes version, and also played upon a mistaken lyric in The Byrds' cover of three years earlier (see below).[13]

The Byrds' version

The Byrds' recording of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" was released as a single on April 2, 1968 and reached #74 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #45 in the United Kingdom (see 1968 in music).[6][14][15] The song was the lead single from The Byrds' 1968 country rock album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and featured the pedal steel guitar playing of Nashville session musician Lloyd Green.[6][16] Despite the change in musical style that the country influenced Sweetheart of the Rodeo album represented for The Byrds, the inclusion of two Dylan covers on the album forged a link with their previous folk rock incarnation, when Dylan'd material had been a mainstay of their repertoire.[17]

The song was selected by The Byrds as a suitable vehicle after Columbia Records, who owned all of Dylan's recordings from his 1967 sessions, sent The Byrds (who were also signed to Columbia) some demos from the sessions, including "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and "Nothing Was Delivered".[18] The band recorded both at Columbia's Nashville recording facility in March 1968 for their Sweetheart of the Rodeo album which was released on August 30, 1968.[5][16] Although it is not as famous as their cover version of "Mr. Tambourine Man", The Byrds' recording of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" is often cited as being the band's best Dylan cover.[19]

The Byrds' recording of the song caused a minor controversy between the band and the song's author. Dylan's original demo of "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" contained the lyric "Pick up your money, pack up your tent", which was mistakenly altered in The Byrds' version, by guitarist and singer Roger McGuinn, to "Pack up your money, pick up your tent".[20] Dylan expressed mock-annoyance at this lyric change on his 1971 recording of the song, singing "Pack up your money, put up your tent, McGuinn/You ain't goin' nowhere".[16] McGuinn replied in 1989 on a new recording of the song included on the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two album, adding the word "Dylan" after the same "Pack up your money, pick up your tent" lyric.[21] McGuinn's version with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, which also featured The Byrds' bass player Chris Hillman, was released as a single and peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart in 1989.[21] Despite the involvement of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, the single release was credited to McGuinn and Hillman alone.[22]

After its appearance on Sweetheart of the Rodeo, the song would go on to become a staple of The Byrds' live concert repertoire, until their final disbandment in 1973.[23] The Byrds re-recorded "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" in 1971 with Earl Scruggs, as part of the Earl Scruggs, His Family and Friends television special and this version was included on the accompanying soundtrack album.[24] The song was also performed live by a reformed line-up of The Byrds featuring Roger McGuinn, David Crosby and Chris Hillman in January 1989.[23] Roger McGuinn continues to perform the song in his solo concerts and consequently it appears on his 2007 Live from Spain album.[25]

In addition to its appearance on the Sweetheart of the Rodeo album, "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" also appears on several Byrds' compilations, including The Best of The Byrds: Greatest Hits, Volume II, History of The Byrds, The Byrds Play Dylan, The Original Singles: 1967–1969, Volume 2, The Byrds and There Is a Season.[19] Live performances of the song are included on the expanded edition of The Byrds' (Untitled) album and on Live at Royal Albert Hall 1971.[19]

Other covers

Joan Baez included a gender-switched version of the song, in which she sings "Tomorrow's the day my man's gonna come", on her 1968 album of Dylan covers, Any Day Now.[26]

Roots rock quartet The Rave-Ups covered the song on their 1985 album, Town and Country.[27] Shawn Colvin, Mary Chapin Carpenter, and Rosanne Cash also performed the song at Madison Square Garden in 1992, for eventual release on the Bob Dylan tribute album The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration.[28]

Phish covered the song during their July 30, 2003 concert at the Tweeter Center at the Waterfront in Camden, New Jersey. This is the only time that Phish has performed the song.[29]

The Crust Brothers covered "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" on their 1998 live album, Marquee Mark[30] and Counting Crows recorded the song as a bonus track on their Hard Candy album in 2002 as well as performing it live with Augustana.[31][32] Maria Muldaur recorded the song, with slightly altered lyrics, on her 2006 Heart of Mine: Maria Muldaur Sings Love Songs of Bob Dylan album[33] and Marty Raybon, former vocalist of Shenandoah, also covered the song on his 2006 album, When the Sand Runs Out.[34]

Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová recorded the song for the soundtrack album to Todd Haynes' impressionistic Dylan biopic, I'm Not There, using the lyrics from Dylan's 1971 version, including the reference to Roger McGuinn.[35] The Dandy Warhols have covered the song on the 2009 digital download edition of their album The Dandy Warhols Are Sound.[36]


  1. ^ Marcus, Greil. (1975). The Basement Tapes (1975 LP liner notes). 
  2. ^ Williams, Paul. (1990). Bob Dylan: Performing Artist - Book One 1960 - 1973. Xanadu Publications Ltd. p. 215. ISBN 1-85480-044-2. 
  3. ^ a b Williams, Paul. (1990). Bob Dylan: Performing Artist - Book One 1960 - 1973. Xanadu Publications Ltd. p. 265-266. ISBN 1-85480-044-2. 
  4. ^ "The Basement Tapes review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  5. ^ a b Hjort, Christopher. (2008). So You Want To Be A Rock 'n' Roll Star: The Byrds Day-By-Day (1965-1973). Jawbone Press. pp. 162-165. ISBN 1-90600-215-0. 
  6. ^ a b c d Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. pp. 544-546. ISBN 0-95295-401-X. 
  7. ^ "The B List: You Ain't Goin' Nowhere". Glide Magazine. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  8. ^ "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere cover versions". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  9. ^ a b "Ain't Goin' Nowhere: Bob Dylan 1967". I Happen To Be A Swede Myself. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  10. ^ "Basement Tapes And The Legacy". The Unofficial Bob Dylan Website. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  11. ^ "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere lyrics". Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  12. ^ "Gil Turner & Happy Traum & The New World Singers". Roots Of Bob Dylan. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  13. ^ "Music Legends Revealed #6". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  14. ^ "The Byrds Billboard Singles". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-01-13. 
  15. ^ Brown, Tony. (2000). The Complete Book of the British Charts. Omnibus Press. p. 130. ISBN 0-7119-7670-8. 
  16. ^ a b c Fricke, David. (2003). Sweetheart of the Rodeo: Legacy Edition (2003 CD liner notes). 
  17. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. pp. 269-270. ISBN 0-95295-401-X. 
  18. ^ Einarson, John. (2008). Hot Burritos: The True Story of The Flying Burrito Brothers. Jawbone Press. ISBN 1-90600-216-9. 
  19. ^ a b c "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - The Byrds' version review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  20. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1997). Sweetheart of the Rodeo (1997 CD liner notes). 
  21. ^ a b "Sweetheart of the Rodeo". ByrdWatcher: A Field Guide to the Byrds of Los Angeles. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  22. ^ "Roger McGuinn Discography". Byrds Flyght. Retrieved 2010-03-04. 
  23. ^ a b Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. pp. 591-615. ISBN 0-95295-401-X. 
  24. ^ Rogan, Johnny. (1998). The Byrds: Timeless Flight Revisited. Rogan House. p. 335. ISBN 0-95295-401-X. 
  25. ^ "Live from Spain product information". Sundazed. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  26. ^ "Any Day Now". Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  27. ^ "Town and Country by The Rave Ups review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-10-28. 
  28. ^ "The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  29. ^ "Phish Concert Set List - July 30, 2003". The Phish Net. Retrieved 2010-03-12. 
  30. ^ "The Crust Brothers: Marquee Mark". The Band web site. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  31. ^ "Hard Candy (UK Edition) review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  32. ^ "Counting Crows concert review". Chicago Sun-Times.,counting-crows-taste-chicago-062809.article. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  33. ^ "Heart of Mine: Maria Muldaur Sings Love Songs of Bob Dylan review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  34. ^ "When the Sand Runs Out review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  35. ^ "I'm Not There Soundtrack review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2009-08-28. 
  36. ^ "The Dandy Warhols Are Sound download page". Retrieved 2009-08-28. 


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