Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" Lyrics Question

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?

The lyrics printed on the Dylan website and in the book Lyrics would be the “official” lyrics Dylan registered with his publisher for copyright purposes. However, Dylan has an almost perverse disregard for playing his songs “correctly;” whatever chords he feels like playing or lyrics he feels like singing on a particular night, that’s now how the song goes. Until he plays it the next time.

In the case of “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere,” the song was originally circulated in bootleg form on the famous “Basement Tapes,” which were recorded privately in 1967 but not officially released until 1975, though they were much bootlegged in the interim. (I think GHv2 came out in '71.) Dylan may not have registered the song for copyright until long after the Basement Tapes sessions, by which time he may well have decided to change the words. I can’t say which is the “preferred” version and I’ve never heard Dylan sing it live, so I can’t answer you there.

The “Official Version” lyrics are the ones **The Byrd’s ** use on their version of the song. That’s the only one I was familiar with for years.

Adding to Nonsuch’s response:

Written by Dylan after his motorcycle accident when he was laid up in bed for awhile (this may be an apocryphal story, depending on whether or not you believe there was actually a motorcycle accident). First widely released version was by the Byrds on their *Sweetheart of the Rodeo * album. Supposedly, Dylan was not much enamored with this rendition, accounting for the snide reference to Roger McGuinn in the *Greatest Hits, Volume 2 * version (another possibly apocryphal story).

One thing you can count on: there’s a whole lotta aphocrypha when it comes to Dylan.

Strap yourself to a tree with roots
You ain’t goin’ nowhere.

If you compare the out takes of songs on the Bootlegged series with the released versions, you can see that Dylan is always changing lyrics. Tangled up in Blue is one good example. Every version of John Birch Society Blues I have (3) is different. So this should be no big surprise. The Greatest Hits II version is a bit sweeter, I think, than the Basement tapes version.

Another thing to remember is that Dylan is not a perfectionist when it comes to recording - even in the studio. There’s even a mistake in Like a Rolling Stone if you listen hard enough. Some of the lyric changes come from that, though the ones in You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere are too extensive for that.

I just got the Halloween Concert bootleg CD, and I was surprised that, as far as I can tell, the lyrics for the songs that would be on Bringing it All Back Home were a perfect match.

Are you referring to his rushed entrance into the last chorus, or something else?

I recall a Dylan interview where he mentioned a bad chord change during the recording that they simply didn’t feel like fixing. Lazy.

No, during the third chorus he sings something like “hand on your own.” It might be hang on your own, but none of the other verses say that. Obviously nothing not worth throwing away the best take for.