Sara (Bob Dylan song)

"Sara" is a song from Bob Dylan's 1976 album Desire.[1] It is the closing song on the album.[2] Unlike many of the songs on the album, which were written by Dylan and Jacques Levy, "Sara" was written solely by Dylan, as an autobiographical account of his estrangement from then-wife Sara Dylan. It was recorded on July 31, 1975.[3]

Song by Bob Dylan
from the album Desire
ReleasedJanuary 5, 1976
FormatVinyl record
RecordedJuly 31, 1975
GenreFolk Rock
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan
Producer(s)Don DeVito
Desire track listing
9 tracks
Side one
  1. "Hurricane"
  2. "Isis"
  3. "Mozambique"
  4. "One More Cup of Coffee (Valley Below)"
  5. "Oh, Sister"
Side two
  1. "Joey"
  2. "Romance in Durango"
  3. "Black Diamond Bay"
  4. "Sara"


The song is named after Dylan's wife at the time, and the song alludes to their earlier relationship, including the couple's children together.[4] In his book Down The Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan, Howard Sounes quoted Jacques Levy's account of the recording of the song, stating that Sara was present at the studio and listened "from the other side of the glass" as Dylan played the song.[4][5] According to Larry Sloman, Dylan turned to Sara just before beginning the song, and stated, "This one's for you."[6]

That first recording of the song is reportedly the one featured on the album.[5] Bob and Sara would reconcile after the release of the song, but would divorce in 1977.[7][8]

The song contains the line "Staying up for days in the Chelsea hotel/ writing Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands for you,"[9] and has been a noted reference to Hotel Chelsea, where Dylan had resided in the 1960s.[10][11]


"Sara" has been called one of Dylan's best love songs. The Irish Times stated the song was "as beautiful an expression of the preciousness and frailty of human love as has ever been put on a record."[12] Rolling Stone called the song perhaps his most personal song in his career.[13] "Sara" was also featured at No. 48 on Rolling Stone's list of 100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs.[14]

Other versionsEdit

In 2002, a live version of the song from the 1975 Rolling Thunder Revue tour was featured on The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue.[15] In 2019, that recording and four other live performances of the song from the tour were released on the box set The Rolling Thunder Revue: The 1975 Live Recordings.

In 2004 researcher Kim Beissel claimed that "Sara" was the basis for Nick Cave’s 1997 song "Where Do We Go Now, But Nowhere?". [16]


"Sara" was recorded on July 31, 1975 in New York City, at Columbia Recording Studios, Studio E.[3]



  1. ^ "Sara | The Official Bob Dylan Site". Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  2. ^ Kirell, Andrew (January 31, 2016). "'Desire': Bob Dylan's Sloppiest Masterpiece Turns 40". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Margotin, Philippe; Guesdon, Jean-Michel (October 27, 2015). Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track. Running Press. pp. "Sara". ISBN 9780316353533.
  4. ^ a b "Bob Dylan: Stories of the songs". The Independent. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Sounes, Howard (2001). Down The Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan (New York, Grove, 2001). New York: Grove Press.
  6. ^ Bob Dylan: The Recording Sessions by Clinton Heylin, p. 114.
  7. ^ 1946–, Gray, Michael, (2006). The Bob Dylan encyclopedia. New York: Continuum. pp. 198–201. ISBN 0826469337. OCLC 67346197.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  8. ^ Reiff, Corbin. "With Blood on the Tracks, Bob Dylan bid an angry, ragged farewell to his wife". Music. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  9. ^ Andy., Gill, (1998). My back pages : classic Bob Dylan, 1962–1969. London: Carlton. pp. 106–107. ISBN 1858684811. OCLC 42406935.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  10. ^ "Future of New York's Chelsea Hotel hangs in the balance". August 2, 2011. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  11. ^ Hoby, Hermione (December 19, 2010). "The 10 best Chelsea hotel moments". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  12. ^ "A taste of Bob Dylan: 10 songs to beat The Band". The Irish Times. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  13. ^ Doyle, Patrick (January 5, 2016). "Bob Dylan's 'Desire': An 'Exotic' Masterpiece Turns 40". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  14. ^ Stone, Rolling (May 24, 2016). "100 Greatest Bob Dylan Songs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  15. ^ "The Bootleg Series, Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975 – The Rolling Thunder Revue – Bob Dylan | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved July 12, 2018.
  16. ^ Original Seeds Vol. 2: Songs that inspired Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Kim Beissel, CD liner notes, Rubber Records Australia, 2004