Audio: Bob Dylan Plays ‘If You See Her, Say Hello’ – Three Versions

On September 16, 1974, Bob Dylan showed up at A&R Studios in New York for the first of the seven sessions that would produce the recordings for Blood On The Tracks.

He began by recording a version of “Up To Me,” a song that didn’t ultimately make the cut. Next up were two takes of “Tangled Up in Blue.”

And then, with just his acoustic guitar for accompaniment, Dylan recorded the first take of “If You See Her, Say Hello” — and hit a home run.

The version that ended up on the album is nothing like that first one, and it seriously misses the mark. The arrangement features a slower pace, celestial organ, and what sounds like a 12-string guitar that brings to mind the Stones’ “Lady Jane.” It doesn’t do justice to the song. Nor does Dylan’s more calculated vocal.

When you hear the first take you realize it could have helped make a really good album a great one.

The vocal he recorded the first time he played the song in the studio is perfect. There is a passion and a natural quality I hear that wasn’t repeated either on the second take he did that day, nor on the version cut at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis two and a half months later that he used.

Below you can hear that first version, followed by take two, and then the much different take that made it onto the album.

“If You See Her, Say Hello” – New York outtake which appeared on The Bootleg Series Volume 1-3:

If You See Her, Say Hello (NY Outtake) by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“If You See Her, Say Hello” – Unreleased Test Pressing-

If You See Her, Say Hello (Unreleased Test Pressing) by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

“If You See Her, Say Hello” – Released version off Blood On The Tracks:

If You See Her, Say Hello by Bob Dylan on Grooveshark

About Michael Goldberg

Michael Goldberg is a distinguished pioneer in the online music space; Newsweek magazine called him an ‘Internet visionary.’ In 1994 he founded Addicted To Noise (ATN), the highly influential music web site. He was a senior vice-president and editor in chief at SonicNet from March 1997 through May 2000. In 1997, Addicted To Noise won Webby awards for best music site in 1998 and 1999, and also won Yahoo Internet Life! awards for three years running as best music site in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Prior to starting Addicted To Noise, Goldberg was an editor and senior writer at Rolling Stone magazine for 10 years. His writing has also appeared in Wired, Esquire, Vibe, Details, Downbeat, NME and numerous other publications. Michael recently completed his first novel, Days of the Crazy-Wild, and is currently writing a second novel.

3 thoughts on “Audio: Bob Dylan Plays ‘If You See Her, Say Hello’ – Three Versions

  1. I know its all subjective but I think Bob got it right with the released version.Its got more going for it musically and brings more variety musically to the album which otherwise would have become too one paced, and songs sounding too similar to each other.(notice the outtakes similarities with Shelter from the Storm) For that reason I believe the decision to re-record 5 of the songs was the correct decision and enhances a very fine album

    1. I think that in the context of the album, you’re probably right. As a stand alone song I think there’s an emotion in Dylan’s voice that I don’t hear in the version on Blood On The Tracks.” But this is so subjective. I’m glad it’s possible to hear the different versions.

  2. Trevor is right: Dylan made all the correct decisions in which takes to use for the final album, which is great as it is. As for this song, for one thing, the lyrics are much improved in the album version.

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