Bob Dylan’s best songs – If You See Her, Say Hello – #56

So, I kick off my journey through “Bob Dylan top 200 songs” (my list of Bob Dylans 200 greatest songs) with number 56.
Why not start at number 1… or number 200 ? No particular reason, “I just happen to feel this way”.
I will publish posts in this category on and off, with no spesific frequency.

If You See Her, Say Hello – #56

New York Version 1

Outtake from original studio sessions for Blood On The Tracks
Alt version1: A&R Studios,  19  September 1974, Columbia A&R Studios, NYC
Musicians: Bob Dylan: Guitar, Vocals, Charles Brown III: Guitar, Eric Weissberg: Guitar, Barry Kornfield: Guitar
Not released – New York Sessions bootleg

This version is similar to Bootleg Series vol 1-3 version, but different take – softer and shorter without the harmonica solo before the last verse.

Short history – “The making of “Blood On The Tracks”:

The original “New York Sessions” for Blood On The Tracks took place from 16-25 of September 1974 in NYC. A test pressing of the album was made, but Dylan was not comfortable. He took the album “home” to Minnesota and played it for his brother – David Zimmerman. David told Bobby that the album was not “radio friendly”, and they put together a band with local musicians  at Sound 80 Studio in Minneapolis on 27 & 30 December. These two sessions ended up replacing half of the albums original New York takes… And one of the unlucky ones was “If You See Here, Say Hello”.. The released Blood On The Tracks version was recorded on December 30.

Why Do I Like the original “New York” version better ?

First.. both versions are terrific!  As goes for all New York versions.. they’re more “naked” and soulful, at least to me. The retakes from Minneapolis might be more “sound perfect” and more “radio friendly”.. so be it. In my book “soulfulness” usually takes precedence.

The only retake from Minneapolis I prefer over the original New York version is “Tangled Up In Blue”… but that is another, and “upcoming” story.


(Original New York) Lyrics

If you see her, say hello, she might be in Tangiers
She left here last early spring, is livin' there, I hear
Say for me that I'm all right though new things come and go
She might think that I've forgotten her, don't tell her it
isn't so.

We had a falling-out, like lovers often will
But to think of how she left that night, it still brings
me a chill
And though our separation, it pierced me to the heart
She still lives inside of me, we've never been apart.

If you're makin' love to her, kiss her for the kid,
Who always has respected her for doin' what she did
Oh, I know it had to be that way, it was written in the
Still the bitter taste still lingers on, it all came down
so hard.

I see a lot of people as I make the rounds
And I hear her name here and there as I go from town to town
And I've never gotten used to it, I just learned to turn
it off
Either I'm too sensitive or else I'm getting soft.

Sundown, yellow moon, I replay the past
I know every scene by heart, they all went by so fast
If she's passing back this way I'm not that hard to find
Tell her she can look me up if she's got the time.
“..  If You See Her Say Hello has been written down with the ink still wet from last night’s tears..” – —Clinton Heylin (“Still On The Road”)
The Lyrics from the final Blood On The Tracks version had a twist:
If you’re makin’ love to her, kiss her for the kid..
was replaced with:
If you get close to her, kiss her once for me

Some sources points out that his kids were actually in the studio while he recorded in Minneapolis.

Anyway some of the real “punch” get lost.. but there is, as with many other great Dylan songs, more rewrites to enjoy..

Other important versions:

Rolling Thunder Revue II version (1976)
Civic Center, Lakeland, Florida – 04/18/76
Concert recording

This version is totally different..and has turned into a “revenge song”, nevertheless.. a great performance.

with lines like:
If you see her say hello, she might be in North Saigon
She left here in a hurry; I don’t know what she was on
You might say that I’m in disarray and for me time’s standing still
Boy, you’ve never gotten over her, I don’t think I ever will.
If you’re making love to her, watch it from the rear
You’ll never know when I’ll be back, or liable to appear
For it’s natural to dream of peace as it is for rules to break
And right now I’ve got not much to lose, so you’d better stay awake

This is truly a great live version, a “€œmust hear”€ version indeed.

NET (Never Ending Tour) 1995 version
Brixton Academy, London – 03/30/95
Concert recording

Picked up for NET in 94, my favorite NET version is from arguably the best NET leg ever – Europe spring 95.
Every Dylan fan should get hold of at least a handful concert recordings from the “€œEurope spring 95″€ leg.
I will dwell into this subject in forthcoming postings.

Could not find this version on youtube… but here is at least a 95-version:

Album version from Spotify:


Brilliant song, heartbreaking lyrics and (of course) I don’t enjoy the pain* that “€œforced”€ our man to create such a great piece of art.. but I love & admire the outcome.

* “€œA lot of people tell me they enjoy that album. It’€™s hard for me to relate to that. I mean, you know, people enjoying that kind of pain?”€ – Bob Dylan


15 thoughts on “Bob Dylan’s best songs – If You See Her, Say Hello – #56”

  1. What I miss in the New York version is what I consider the most chilling line on the album – “Oh, whatever makes her happy, I won’t stand in the way
    Though the bitter taste still lingers on from the night I tried to make her stay”

  2. Thanks for the nice post. I agree with you about the song, and probably its relative merit among Bobsongs. I prefer the Minnesota version; maybe it’s because I was so familiar with it before hearing the New York version, but I find it to be much warmer, which makes the regret all the more heartbreaking.

    1. Takk for hyggelig feedback Lars Sigvart,

      Jepp.. første post av denne var fra desember.. men pusset litt støv av den og oppdaterte en del…
      Eg ska definitivt skrive om alle 200 låtene på listen min.. og flere.. men alt handler om prioritering.. 🙂
      Heldigvis har vi haugevis med år forran oss…


Comments are closed.