"I Want You" is a song recorded by Bob Dylan in 1966. It was issued as a single that June, shortly before the release of Blonde on Blonde. The single's B-side was a live version of "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues." Dylan revisited the song in 1987 on a co-tour with the Grateful Dead; their version was released in 1989 on the Dylan and the Dead album.
Sean Wilentz sees numerous failures documented in early drafts for the lyrics; "deputies asking him his name... lines about fathers going down hugging one another and about their daughters putting him down because he isn't their brother". Finally Dylan arrives at the right formula. The song's sentimental aspect was partially, in a typically gnomish manner, explained in a 1966 interview: "It's not just pretty words to a tune or putting tunes to words... [It's] the words and the music [together]—I can hear the sound of what I want to say."
Andy Gill observed that the song's tension is achieved through the balance of the "direct address" of the chorus, the repeated phrase "I want you," and a weird cast of characters "too numerous to inhabit the song's three minutes comfortably", including a guilty undertaker, a lonesome organ grinder, weeping fathers, mothers, sleeping saviours, the Queen of Spades, and "a dancing child with his Chinese suit". Gill reports that "the dancing child" has been interpreted as a reference to Brian Jonesof The Rolling Stones, and his then girlfriend Anita Pallenberg. Clinton Heylin agrees there may be substance to this because the dancing child claims that "time was on his side", as a reference to "Time Is On My Side", the Stones' first U.S. hit.
Billboard magazine recorded the release of "I Want You" in its June 25 issue, and predicted it would reach the Top 20. The track entered the Billboard Hot 100 charts on July 2, 1966 at #90, and Billboard tapped the single as a "star performer"—a side "registering greatest proportionate upward progress this week". It peaked at #20 on July 30.
"I Want You" entered the Cash Box charts at #59 on July 2, and was tapped for strong upward movement. It rose slowly, and peaked at #25 on August 6. It was also a major hit in the UK, where it peaked at #16.
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- Automatiq did a cover for the French compilation album Dylan Mania (2009)
- Gary Burton covered it in 1966. His version is included on a German compilation by BMG May Your Songs Always Be Sung Again (2001)
- Dave's True Story did a cover for their tribute-album Simple Twist Of Fate: DTS Does Dylan (2005)
- Deep Schrott recorded an instrumental version for their album Plays Dylan & Eisler (2011)
- Cliff Eberhardt covered it for the tribute compilation A Nod To Bob: An Artists Tribute To Bob Dylan (2001)
- Francis Gabrel recorded a French version for his album Vise Le Ciel: Ou Bob Dylan Revisité (2012)
- Another French version was recorded by Marie Laforêt titled "D'ëtre à vous" in March 1969
- Steve Gibbons with his Dylan-Project: The Dylan Project (1998)
- Pat Guadagno & Tired Horses recorded it live for his tribute 2CD That's A Bob Dylan Song: Bob Fest '09 (2009)
- How Many Roads from Germany covered this song for their tribute album From Broadway To The Milky Way (A Tribute To Bob Dylan (2007)
- Cyril Neville does a version which is included on the compilation Blues On Blonde On Blonde (2003)
- Wolfgang Niedecken does a German version for his album Leopardefell (1995)
- Craig Nylon recorded it in 2003 for the record The Hits Of Bob Dylan Performed By Craig Nylon
- The version of Rutherford is on the tribute 2CD Million Dollar Bash: Missouri Salutes Bob Dylan (2006)
- Ernst Schultz recorded a German version for his album Dylan : Deutsch - Es ändern sich die Zeiten (2008)
- Bruce Springsteen covered this song live, prior to his success with Born to Run, during the famous "Main Point show" held on February 5, 1975, and released unofficially on numerous bootleg albums
- Sternberg which is a German Dylan Tribute Band, recorded a version for their album Dylan (2011)
- The song was covered by Sophie B. Hawkins in 1992 on her album Tongues and Tails.
- Brazilian band Skank did a Portuguese version entitled "Tanto" in 1993, and covered the song in 2004
- Arjen Anthony Lucassen covered this song on his 1997 album Strange Hobby
- Les Fradkin released a cover of it on his 2006 CD Jangleholic
- Ralph McTell did a slower, piano-based version on his album Water of Dreams
- Dutch singer Herman van Veen, on the 1969 album Herman van Veen II (as Ik wil jou - Dutch Translation by Rob Chrispijn)
- Belgian singer Bart Peeters did a Dutch version entitled "Ik Wil Je (Nooit Meer Kwijt)" on his album Slimmer Dan De Zanger
- Icelandic rock musician Árni Steinsson covered this on Þjóðhátíð in 1988
- Icelandic Singer Hjálmar Benónýsson covered this on Paddys 2003
- English singer-songwriter James Blunt covered the song on the 2005 tribute album Listen to Bob Dylan: A Tribute
- Cher recorded the song for her 1966 album Cher
- The Hollies covered the song for their album Hollies Sing Dylan
- The Tallest Man on Earth covered the song
- Ximena Sariñana covered the song for Amnesty International's tribute album honoring the songs of Bob Dylan