Bob Dylan’s best songs: You’re A Big Girl Now

Bob Dylan & Sara

I’m going out of my mind, oh, oh
With a pain that stops and starts
Like a corkscrew to my heart
Ever since we’ve been apart
~Bob Dylan (You’re A Big Girl Now)

You’re Big Girl Now” is startling in the originality of its musical structure as well as in the raw power of Dylan’s lyrics and the way he sings them. Each verse of this song is a separate monolog, as if Dylan were an actor stepping to the back of the stage and then coming forward again as he thinks of something else he wants to say to the lady.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist, Vol 2: The Middle Years 1974-1986)

..‘You’re a Big Girl Now’ presses on still further with the unsparing examination of whether a decaying relationship can withstand the strains of time and other lovers
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)

Original version (BOOT version):

You’re a Big Girl Now by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark


@ #34 on my list of Bob Dylan’s 200 best songs.


Song by Bob Dylan from the album Blood on the Tracks
Released January 17, 1975
Recorded December 27, 1974 at Sound 80 inMinneapolis, Minnesota
Genre Folk rock
Length 4:36
Label Columbia
Writer Bob Dylan
Producer Bob Dylan

Known studio recordings:

  • A&R Studios, NYC, September 16, 1974-1 take
  • A&R Studios, NYC, September 17, 1974-2 takes, take 2 released on “Biograph” (October 28, 1985)
  • A&R Studios, NYC, September 19, 1974-1 take
  • Sound 80, Minneapolis MN, December 30, 1974, released on “Blood On The Tracks” (20 Jan 1975)

    Bob Dylan (vocal, guitar & harmonica)
    Kevin Odegard (guitar)
    Peter Ostroushko (mandolin)
    Billy Peterson (bass)
    Gregg Inhofer (keyboards)
    Bill Berg (drums)

    Produce by Bob Dylan & David Zimmerman

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  • First performed @ Reid Green Coliseum, Hattiesburg, Mississippi – 1 May 1976
  • It has been performed 218 times live – last performance: Chicago Theatre, Chicago, Illinois – 29 October 2007
  • Top year was 1978 with 41 performances


Alternate released versions


‘You’re A Big Girl Now’ was pain personified, that pain remaining red raw when he cut the exquisite New York version originally intended for the album (only released ten years later, on Biograph). It is to just
such a recording that Blood on the Tracks engineer Phil Ramone is surely alluding when he suggests, ‘Emotionally he was in a state of revealing his life, and most writers don’t want to tell you they’re writing their
autobiography, but it’s there in the atmosphere, as you hear the songs unfolding.’
~Clinton Heylin (Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan Vol. 2, . 1974-2008)

Dylan stayed fairly true to the original lyrics on this one, as far as I Know.


Our conversation was short and sweet
It nearly swept me off-a my feet
And I’m back in the rain, oh, oh
And you are on dry land
You made it there somehow
You’re a big girl now

Bird on the horizon, sittin’ on a fence
He’s singin’ his song for me at his own expense
And I’m just like that bird, oh, oh
Singin’ just for you
I hope that you can hear
Hear me singin’ through these tears

Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast
Oh, but what a shame if all we’ve shared can’t last
I can change, I swear, oh, oh
See what you can do
I can make it through
You can make it too

Love is so simple, to quote a phrase
You’ve known it all the time, I’m learnin’ it these days
Oh, I know where I can find you, oh, oh
In somebody’s room
It’s a price I have to pay
You’re a big girl all the way

A change in the weather is known to be extreme
But what’s the sense of changing horses in midstream?
I’m going out of my mind, oh, oh
With a pain that stops and starts
Like a corkscrew to my heart
Ever since we’ve been apart

bob dylan 1974 2

Live/other versions

Not surprisingly, the song went unattempted live after he and Sara became ostensibly reconciled. Only on the second leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue, in the spring of 1976, did he remember why he wrote it, playing it long and hard enough to warrant inclusion on the Hard Rain album.
~Clinton Heylin (Still on the Road: The Songs of Bob Dylan Vol. 2, . 1974-2008)

Rundown rehearsals – January 1978:
You're a Big Girl Now by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

Check out: Bob Dylan: The Rundown Rehearsal Tapes (audio)

Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
Denver, Colorado
15 June 1988
You’re A Big Girl Now by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

Alpine Valley Music Theatre
East Troy, Wisconsin
18 June 1988

Chicago Theatre
Chicago, Illinois
29 October 2007

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