Bob Dylan’s best songs: I Believe In You





bob dylan bw

They ask me how I feel
And if my love is real
And how I know I’ll make it through
They look at me and frown
They live to drive me from this town
They don’t want me around
‘Cause I believe in you.

Here was something he had spent his life dealing with – rejection. But rather than believing in himself and his own judgement in the face of such hostility, he believed in Him. And how. Fusing blues commonplaces like ‘walk out on my own I A thousand miles from home … don’t mind the pain I Don’t mind the driving rain’ to express the kind of treatment meted out to many an accidental martyr, he insists such belief cannot be shaken – not even ‘if white turn to black’. At song’s end, though ‘friends forsake’ him, he knows he ‘will sustain’.
~Clinton Heylin (Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan Vol. 2, . 1974-2008)

TOC

  1. Facts
  2. Lyrics
  3. Live versions

@#176 on my list of Bob Dylan’s top 200 songs.

I don’t believe, but this is a wonderful song. Great performance on “Slow Train Coming”, but it’s the different live versions (79-81 in particular) that really shakes me. Usually performed with intense passion & sincerity.. when listening time just stops & overwhelming feelings hit me. Awesome.

Facts

Bob Dylan slow train

Wikipedia:

Slow Train Coming is the nineteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on August 20, 1979 by Columbia Records. It was the artist’s first effort since becoming a born-again Christian, and all of the songs either express his strong personal faith, or stress the importance of Christian teachings and philosophy. The evangelical nature of the record alienated many of Dylan’s existing fans; at the same time, many Christians were drawn into his fan base. Slow Train Coming was listed at #16 in the 2001 book CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.

Known studio recordings:

  • Muscle Shoals, Sheffield AL, May 3, 1979.
    Produced by Jerry Wexler & Barry Beckett.
    Bob Dylan (guitar & vocal), Mark Knopfler (guitar), Tim Drummond (bass), Barry Beckett (keyboards), Pick Withers (drums).

Check out: Bob Dylan: 4th Slow Train Coming Recording Session, 3 May 1979

Live:

  • First known:  ‘Saturday Night Live’, NYC, October 20, 1979.Here it is (slow to load, BUT it works – wonderful performance):
  • It has been performed only 266 times live – last performance: Saarlandhalle, Saarbrücken, Germany – 5 April 2009
  • Top year 1980 – 55 performances.




bob dylan 1981 3

Album:

Lyrics

They ask me how I feel
And if my love is real
And how I know I’ll make it through
And they, they look at me and frown
They’d like to drive me from this town
They don’t want me around
’Cause I believe in you

They show me to the door
They say don’t come back no more
’Cause I don’t be like they’d like me to
And I walk out on my own
A thousand miles from home
But I don’t feel alone
’Cause I believe in you

I believe in you even through the tears and the laughter
I believe in you even though we be apart
I believe in you even on the morning after
Oh, when the dawn is nearing
Oh, when the night is disappearing
Oh, this feeling is still here in my heart

Don’t let me drift too far
Keep me where you are
Where I will always be renewed
And that which you’ve given me today
Is worth more than I could pay
And no matter what they say
I believe in you

I believe in you when winter turn to summer
I believe in you when white turn to black
I believe in you even though I be outnumbered
Oh, though the earth may shake me
Oh, though my friends forsake me
Oh, even that couldn’t make me go back

Don’t let me change my heart
Keep me set apart
From all the plans they do pursue
And I, I don’t mind the pain
Don’t mind the driving rain
I know I will sustain
’Cause I believe in you

Live versions

Fox Warfield Theatre
San Francisco, California
16 November 1979

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Fred Tackett (guitar)
  • Spooner Oldham (keyboards)
  • Tim Drummond (bass)
  • Terry Young (keyboards)
  • Jim Keltner (drums)
  • Regina Mcrary , Helena Springs , Mona Lisa Young (background vocals)

Civic Auditorium
Santa Monica, California
18 November 1979

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Fred Tackett (guitar)
  • Spooner Oldham (keyboards)
  • Tim Drummond (bass)
  • Terry Young (keyboards)
  • Jim Keltner (drums)
  • Regina Mcrary , Helena Springs , Mona Lisa Young (background vocals)




Massey Hall
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
20 April 1980

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Fred Tackett (guitar)
  • Spooner Oldham (keyboards)
  • Tim Drummond (bass)
  • Terry Young (keyboards)
  • Jim Keltner (drums)
  • Clydie King, Gwen Evans, Mary Elizabeth Bridges, Regina McCrary, Mona Lisa Young (background vocals).

“I Believe in You” has become, for this particular month in the man’s lifetime, his declaration of existence. Everything is contained in this one song. We are reminded of the intensity of “Like a Rolling Stone” when it was first recorded, and again when it climaxed his European shows in May 1966. If you wish to meet Dylan, if you would like to spend some time with the private man and really find out what he’s feeling, what’s going on with him, listen to this performance of “I Believe in You.” It is straightforward, honest, enormous, filled with the exuberance of a Walt Whitman, Dylan singing in his best North American voice. He’s sharing his soul, and he knows it.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

Drammenshallen
Drammen, Norway
10 July 1981

Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
Fred Tackett (guitar)
Steve Ripley (guitar)
Willie Smith (keyboards)
Tim Drummond (bass)
Jim Keltner (drums)
Clydie King, Carolyn Dennis, Regina Havis, Madelyn Quebec (background vocals)

Palace des Sports
Avignon, France
25 July 1981

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Fred Tackett (guitar)
  • Steve Ripley (guitar)
  • Willie Smith (keyboards)
  • Tim Drummond (bass)
  • Jim Keltner (drums)
  • Clydie King, Carolyn Dennis, Regina Havis, Madelyn Quebec (background vocals)

IBIY starts 1m8s into the video

The Summit
Houston, Texas
12 November 1981

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Fred Tackett (guitar)
  • Steve Ripley (guitar)
  • Al Kooper (keyboards)
  • Tim Drummond (bass)
  • Jim Keltner (drums)
  • Arthur Rosato (drums)
  • Clydie King, Regina McCrary, Madelyn Quebec (background vocals)

Theatre de Grand Rex
Paris, France
30 January 1990

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • G. E. Smith (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • Christopher Parker (drums)

Check out:

Sources

-Egil

8 thoughts on “Bob Dylan’s best songs: I Believe In You”

  1. It was at a concert Bob Dylan gave in Vancouver, BC, sometime around 2008 that I realized how powerful this song can be. My wife Donna accompanied me to the concert, a little bit out of duty as she is not necessarily a Bob Dylan fan but she knows I am big time (for the record her favorite Dylan song is probably “Most of the Time” but she also loves “Positively Fourth Street). At the concert Dylan did a couple of songs whose performance left her in tears. One was “Boots of Spanish Leather”; the other was “I Believe in You.” That impressed me greatly, after all she had never heard the song before and had no idea it was birthed during Dylan’s reborn Christian phase. Neither of us are religious by the way, certainly not Christians of any stripe.

    1. Wonderful comment (again) Carl,
      Thanks for the story, neither of us two here @ alldylan.com are religious (not even close), but we LOVE Dylan’s gospel tours & records.
      BTW we love a lot of religious music (The Louvin Brothers – Satan’s Real pops to mind.. and a lot of Hank Williams stuff). You really don’t have to be a believer to appreciate this kind of passion. Jeeze just think about all those mind-blowing renaissance masterpieces.. I rest my case.

  2. Dylan’s gospel stuff was so intriguing, from the lyrics to the passionate delivery. He sang so well in the late ’70s that live stuff from that period stands above most from later — although who can complain when Bob sings, even now? It’s hard to believe there is no authentic bootleg of his gospel stuff. Maybe Bob grew weary of people picking apart and criticizing his stuff, and this period was too meaningful and personal to him. It sounds that way on his between songs commentary from that period. … Anyone who thinks Bob is not a great singer should listen to “Idiot Wind” and other live songs from those years: His voice complements the soulful, heartfelt lyrics perfectly.

  3. Such a great song. You have to think at some point they will do a bootleg series of the gospel years with lots of live performances since that seems to be a lot of people’s favorite era of his concerts.

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