Ian Hunter – Is Your Love In Vain (Dylan), Happy Birthday Ian Hunter!

ian hunter

Do you love me, or are you just extending goodwill?
Do you need me half as bad as you say, or are you just feeling guilt?
I’ve been burned before and I know the score
So you won’t hear me complain
Will I be able to count on you
Or is your love in vain?

Is your love in vain? is a song from Dylan’s Street Legal album, but my favourite version (official, that is…) is from Live at Budokan. It’s a heart achingly honest love song, he really bares his heart, and I feel for the man. The song is profoundly touching, and in my book, one of Bob Dylan’s best love songs. It received a fair amount of negative response when it was released, some critics meant it was degrading women. I think that is harsh, I simply cannot see it.

Ian Hunter performed the song for a TV-show in 1981 (aired 1982?) and has been released on a bootleg/semi-official compilation album, Bald At The Station (2012).


“The CD ends with one song from a 1982 Don Kirshner performance and finds Hunter diving back to his roots, dirging up Dylan’s “Love in Vain” and making it his own. If a better-quality recording exists, let’s hope it turns up somewhere soon. In the meantime, it’s a marvelous end to a surprisingly useful odds ‘n’ oddities collection, and proof that we were all severely shortchanged when the Ian Hunter anthology turned out to be a mere two discs. He deserved at least four.”
– Dave Thompson (allmusic.com)

Ian Hunter – Is Your Love In Vain? (Live, 1981):

– Hallgeir

Other entries in the series:
The Best Dylan covers: Stevie Wonder – Blowin’ in the wind
The Best Dylan Covers: George Harrison – If Not For You
The Best Dylan Covers: Emmylou Harris – Every Grain of Sand
The Best Dylan Covers: Them – It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue
The Best Dylan Covers: Joan Baez – Farewell Angelina
The Best Dylan Covers: Roger McGuinn – Up To Me
The Best Dylan Covers: Jeff Beck Group – Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here With You
The Best Dylan Covers: Susan Tedeschi – Lord Protect My Child
The Best Dylan Covers: Lucinda Williams – Tryin’ To Get To Heaven
The Best Dylan Covers: Jerry Garcia Band – Simple Twist of Faith
The Best Dylan Covers: Bruce Springsteen – All Along The WatchTower
The Best Dylan Covers: Patti Smith – Changing Of The Guards
The Best Dylan Covers: Johnny Rivers – Positively 4th Street
The Best Dylan Covers: Antony and The Johnsons – Knocking On Heaven’s Door
The Best Dylan Covers: Dave Alvin – Highway 61 Revisited
The Best Dylan Covers: 16 Horsepower – Nobody ‘Cept You
The Best Dylan Covers: Alicia Keys – Pressing On
The Best Dylan Covers: Cowboy Junkies – If You Gotta Go, Go Now
The Best Dylan Covers: Nina Simone – The Ballad of Hollis Brown
The Best Dylan Covers: Ramones – My Back Pages
The Best Dylan Covers: The Long Ryders – Masters of War
The Best Dylan Covers: Cat Power – Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again
The Best Dylan Covers: The Flying Burrito Bros – To Ramona
The Best Dylan Covers: Chrissie Hynde – I Shall Be Released
The Best Dylan Covers: Norah Jones – I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight
The Best Dylan Covers: Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash – It Ain’t Me Babe
The Best Dylan Covers: Buddy Miller – With God On Our Side
The Best Dylan Covers: Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy aka Will Oldham – Brownsville Girl
The Best Dylan Covers: Lou Reed – Foot of Pride
The Best Dylan Covers: Indigo Girls – Tangled Up In Blue
The Best Dylan Covers: Tom Jones – What Good Am I
The Best Dylan Covers: Sarah Jarosz – Ring Them Bells
The Best Dylan Covers: Robert Plant – One More Cup Of Coffee

8 thoughts on “Ian Hunter – Is Your Love In Vain (Dylan), Happy Birthday Ian Hunter!”

  1. This is fantastic, Hallgeir! Thank you so much. I agree that Ian Hunter does a fabulous cover of this song. “Street Legal” is certainly one of my favorite albums. Happy Birthday, Ian Hunter!!!

  2. I was friends with Bobby Back in the Village days and I agree with Hallgeir. I think of this as one of Bobby’s best love songs and Ian certainly gives it a great performance.

  3. Hall is you my hacker or is Egil? I’m telling you to stop please. It will be honest to declare our identity for a right friendship in different case is a violation of the privacy you know

    1. None of us have hacked anything 🙂 You need to look elsewhere for the sinner

      The comment field are for the posts, if you have anything you want to discuss with us that is related to other matters, please send a mail

      Best Regards,

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