So, I wanted to learn Dylan’s You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere and I did a search for the lyrics. Surprise, surprise- they ain’t the lyrics I know!
Now, I like me some Bob Dylan, but I’m perfectly happy to have in my CD collection just a very basic representation of his work so there’s a lot I’m not familiar with. I have You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere on Greatest Hits Vol2. I kinda know the lyrics but not really, so as I learn to play the song I’ll need them in front of me. Didn’t feel like transcribing them from the recording by hand ergo the web search.
First I found the lyrics as reprinted on the Bob Dylan website. Whoah! That’s not the song I know! Every other link from the first page of my search results showed the exact same lyrics! So it seems that for most people this is, in fact, the “official” or “standard” version of the song. The fact that it is the version posted on the official Dylan website gives a certain weight to this version.
So I did another search, this time including the words “movie called Gunga Din”, since these lyrics didn’t show at all in my first set of results, yet are lyrics I know from the recording. Far far far fewer results.
I found this page which has the same lyrics as the Dylan page (even noted here as being the “Official Version”) but if you scroll down you’ll find “Alternate Take” lyrics. “Ah-ha!” thought I “this must be it!” Nope. This is yet another version of the lyrics. Now we’re up to Three!
Scroll down a little more and there’s the “Greatest Hits vol. 2 version”. Now I’m in familiar territory. These are the lyrics I know!
O.K. all of the above was me sharing my experience but now we come to your part:
Is there a Dylan recording for each set of lyrics? If so, what is the chronology- which version recorded when?
How about recordings by other artists? Is there one set of lyrics generally observed on other artists’ recordings of this song? Or does it vary according to the artist’s preference?
Are there other Dylan songs for which he recorded different sets of lyrics?