Forty-one years ago, on December 18, 1972, Bob Dylan’s main theme for the film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” was copyrighted, according to “The Bob Dylan Copyright Files 1962-2007” by Tim Dunn.
Four versions of the song appeared on the soundtrack for the film, two of which were instrumentals and two with lyrics.
The lyrics that were copyrighted and which appear in the songbook, “The Songs of Bob Dylan: From 1966 Through 1975” are not exactly the same as the lyrics Bob sings for “Billy 4” and “Billy 7.” It seems he improvised each time he sang the song, changing words, and choosing which verses to include.
Bob was also an actor in the film, which was directed by Sam Peckinpah and released in 1973.
You can check out a version of the lyrics to “Billy” here.
Dylan performing “Billy 4” live, Stockholm, Sweden, March 22, 2009,
Main Title Theme (Billy) — instrumental:
Here’s a beautiful version of “Billy” Performed by Gillian Welch & D@vid Rawlings:
And here’s Bob acting in the film:
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