SHE BELONGS TO ME

Bob Dylan, Greg Allman and Paul McCartney illustrate the song She Belongs To Me.

Offstage: Paul McCartney, Gregg Allman and Bob Dylan.

When Paul McCartney was asked in HMV’s ‘My Inspiration’ campaign to name the songwriter who had most inspired him, he chose Bob Dylan and said his favourite track was She Belongs To Me.

It was an incisive choice. As young guys – before they were famous – they must have had similar experiences with those divine divas who move like clouds and are always just out of reach.

Bob and the Beatles illustrate the song She Belongs To Me.

Bob and the Beatles

The title She Belongs To Me is Dylan irony. The song is about a woman who clearly doesn’t belong to anyone. She exists as an ideal; a composite of all the nubile lolitas Dylan knew growing up starting with Echo Helstrom Casey, the girl he took to the Hibbing High School junior prom aged 15 in 1957 and was said to have an uncanny likeness to femme fatale Brigitte Bardot.

She Belongs To Me begins with a brief description of an artist who has everything she needs and doesn’t look back over her shoulder. Her POV is strictly the horizon and she has a unique skill: ‘she can take the dark out of the night-time and paint the daytime black.’

Every guy with a new haircut has had his heart broken by such a woman. To impress her, our hero starts out standing, proud to steal her anything she sees – but winds up peeking through her keyhole down on his knees. This girl doesn’t make mistakes – in her career, her life, the lipstick or the men she chooses. She’s nobody’s fool; nobody’s child, ‘the law can’t touch her at all.’

He tells us she wears an Egyptian ring that sparkles before she speaks, then takes us into a punch in the gut lyric that will keep you awake at night: ‘She’s a hypnotist collector, you are a walking antique.’

In the final verse, we find an acceptance of all that she is:

Bow down to her on Sunday
Salute her when her birthday comes
Bow down to her on Sunday
Salute her when her birthday comes
For Halloween, buy her a trumpet
And for Christmas, get her a drum

She Belongs To Me Cast

Writers have guessed that the song is about Sara Lownds, the woman Dylan walked down the aisle in 1965; or his long-time companion Suze Rotolo; maybe Christa Päffgen, the German singer and actress known as Nico who wooed the world in Federico Fellini’s 1960 La Dolce Vita; or Joan Baez, who did wear an Egyptian red ring.

More likely, it’s about them all, Bardot and Echo: the ideal, the myth, the divine; Medusa with golden locks turned to snakes – look at her the wrong way and you turn to stone.

HMV’s My Inspiration managed to get Liam Gallagher of Oasis to cast back through history’s catalogue of sparkling couplets and he picked out the lyric he wrote himself from the hit Supersonic. David Bowie had been moved by Syd Barrett’s Gigolo Aunt. While Dylan, eschewing Woody or McCartney, hangs on his inspiration wall a portrait of Robert ‘Rabbie’ Burns, the Bard of Ayrshire, 1759-1796, famous for his subtle political commentary and simple presentation – a bit like Dylan who cited A Red, Red Rose as his favourite piece, particularly the first verse.

O my Luve is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June; 
O my Luve is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune. 

She Belongs To Me was released on the 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home with classics Maggie’s Farm, Gates of Eden and It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.

ReadWhy Dylan considers himself a postman.

 

Posted in Blog.

2 Comments

  1. Yes This blonde Echo appears to have climbed thru Bob’s bedroom window regularly..
    thanks Clifford❣️🎶🌺🌹

  2. Growing up in Scotland, Robert Burns was everywhere. Especially since my grandfather was a radical like Burns. My father his son-in-law was also as far left of center if you could get. In his later years ,( he died at age 98) when I asked him what he thought of the Royal family he’d say“ parasites “ quietly

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