Don't Think Twice It's Alright - Bob Dylan (1963)
Our LCM Classic this week is the great "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" written by Bob Dylan in 1962 and recorded on November 14 that year. It was released on the 1963 album 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' and as a single
In the liner notes to the original release, Nat Hentoff calls the song "a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better ... as if you were talking to yourself." It was written around the time that Suze Rotolo indefinitely prolonged her stay in Italy. The melody is based on the public domain traditional song "Who's Gonna Buy Your Chickens When I'm Gone" and was taught to Dylan by folksinger Paul Clayton, who had used it in his song "Who's Gonna Buy You Ribbons When I'm Gone?"
As well as the melody, a couple of lines were taken from Clayton's "Who's Gonna Buy You Ribbons When I'm Gone?", which was recorded in 1960, two years before Dylan wrote "Don't Think Twice". Lines taken word-for-word or slightly altered from the Clayton song are, "T'ain't no use to sit and wonder why, darlin'," and, "So I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road." On the first release of the song, instead of "So I'm walkin' down that long, lonesome road babe, where I'm bound, I can't tell" Dylan sings "So long, honey babe, where I'm bound, I can't tell". The lyrics were changed when Dylan performed live versions of the song and on cover versions recorded by other artists.
In addition to its original release, the song has appeared on several of Dylan's greatest hits compilations, including Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. II (1971), The Best of Bob Dylan (1997), and The Essential Bob Dylan (2000). Another version of the song, recorded as a demo for Dylan's music publisher M. Witmark & Sons in 1963, was included on two releases in Columbia's Bootleg Series: Vol. 7: No Direction Home: The Soundtrack (2005) and Vol. 9 – The Witmark Demos: 1962–1964 (2010). In addition, live versions have been released on Before the Flood (1974; recorded February 14, 1974), Bob Dylan at Budokan (1978; recorded February 28, 1978), The Bootleg Series Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall (2004; recorded October 31, 1964), and Live at The Gaslight 1962 (2005; recorded October 1962).