"4th Time Around" is a song by Bob Dylan on his 1966 album Blonde on Blonde.

"4th Time Around"
Song by Bob Dylan
from the album Blonde on Blonde
ReleasedJune 20, 1966
RecordedFebruary 14, 1966
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan
Blonde on Blonde track listing


With lyrics that contrast the mundane and the absurd with the unbearably heartfelt, "4th Time Around" is suggestive of a young romance gone wrong. The song revolves around the actions and brief spoken phrases of a man and a woman who are, presumably, in the midst of a lovers' quarrel. The narrative is recounted to a third person who, in later stanzas, becomes the subject of the tale as well as its audience. The song opens with what could be interpreted as the summary of the argument "When she said/ Don't waste your words, they're just lies/ I cried she was deaf." The song continues through escalating levels of anger and conflict until the female protagonist actually falls to the floor; the lyrics are ambiguous as to whether she does so because she is distraught, fainted or dead. At that point, the male protagonist (Dylan) insouciantly covers her up, rifles through her belongings and then decamps to hook up with the third person to whom the narrative is directed.

Comparisons to "Norwegian Wood"Edit

"4th Time Around" was commonly speculated to be a response to The Beatles' song "Norwegian Wood" – written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the 1965 album Rubber Soul – as the two tracks share a reasonably similar melody, lyrical premise, and 3/4 time signature. "4th Time Around" has been seen as either a playful homage, or a satirical warning to Lennon about co-opting Dylan's well-known songwriting devices. Lennon expressed a range of opinions on this topic in interviews between 1970 and 1980. He initially felt it to be a somewhat pointed parody of "Norwegian Wood", but later he considered Dylan's effort to be more a playful homage. Still, the last line of "4th Time Around" ("I never asked for your crutch / Now don't ask for mine.") played into Lennon's apparent paranoia about Dylan in 1966–67, when he interpreted this line as a warning not to use Dylan's songs as a "crutch" for Lennon's songwriting.[1]


A performance of "4th Time Around" from The Bootleg Series Vol. 4: Bob Dylan Live 1966, The "Royal Albert Hall" Concert appeared on the soundtrack for the film Vanilla Sky.



  1. ^ Trager, Oliver (2004). Keys to the Rain: The Definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia. Billboard Books. p. 195. ISBN 0-8230-7974-0. Retrieved December 14, 2009.

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