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Joan Baez Love Is a Four-Letter Word Lyrics

Last updated: 05/26/2011 11:00:00 AM

Artist : Joan Baez
Songwriter: Bob Dylan
Song : Love Is Just A Four Letter Word

Seems like only yesterday
I left my mind behind
Down in the Gypsy Café
With a friend of a friend of mine
She sat with a baby heavy on her knee
Yet spoke of life most free from slavery
With eyes that showed no trace of misery
A phrase in connection first that she averred
That love is just a four-letter word

Outside a rambling store-front window
Cats meowed to the break of day
Me, I kept my mouth shut,
To you I had no words to say
My experience was limited and underfed
You were talking while I hid
To the one who was the father of your kid
You probably didn't think I did, but I heard
You say that love is just a four-letter word

I said goodbye unnoticed
Pushed forward into my own games
Drifting in and out of lifetimes
Unmentionable by name
After searching for my double, looking for
Complete evaporation to the core
Though I tried and failed at finding any door
I must have thought that there was nothing more absurd
Than that love is just a four-letter word

Though I never knew just what you meant
When you were speaking to your man
I could only think in terms of me
And now I understand
After waking enough times to think I see
The Holy Kiss that's supposed to last eternity
Blow up in smoke, its destiny
Falls on strangers, travels free
Yes, I know now, traps are only set by me
And I do not really need to be assured
That love is just a four-letter word

Strange it is to be beside you, many years the tables turned
You'd probably not believe me if told you all I've learned
And it is very very weird, indeed
To hear words like "forever" plead
though ships run through my mind I cannot cheat
it's like looking in a teacher's face complete
I can say nothing to you but repeat what I heard
That love is just a four-letter word.

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Written for her | Reviewer: Thomas | 2/20/11

I think Dylan wrote a lot of his songs, not to change the world or educate people, or even to entertain people, but rather, like a poet, simply to express what he was feeling at that particular point in time. It's interesting that he wrote this song after he had broken off his relationship with Joan Baez, having met and fallen in love with Sara. As documented in the film "Don't Look Back", he was working on the song on his tour of England in 1966, with Joan Baez tagging along, perhaps hoping to rekindle the fire? I can't help thinking that he wrote the song for her.

yeah, sure, but.... | Reviewer: Don | 1/27/10

Great song, typical convoluted, oddball Dylan lyrics that simultaneously
resonate and sneakyily pontificate in Bobby boy's inimitable style, playing to the chips on our shoulder and the pain in our butts. Those four letters likely put some jing in Dylan's bank account, so he's in the best of both worlds: whine, complain, and get paid for it. For me,
I'd rather have my ear bent to "Rainy Day Women #12 & 35".

"just" a four letter word | Reviewer: lee | 8/11/09

Dylan likes to lurk in the shadows of meaning, actually play in the shadows of meaning to be more accurate. The title "four letter word" sounds like disappointment, coming back from belief in the healing, salvation quality of love, and seeing that the hope of expectations was created by him and from nowhere else. This is a very sane and open view of reality, because we are mostly assigning blame to so-called external conditions for our own disappointments, without realizing that we are everything we experience. So the conclusion of the song, seeing that "love is just a four letter word" is not a statement of resignation or cynicism. Rather it is a statement of fact, that the meaning of love is assigned out of hope or fear by us, and in reality in fact, it's just a word that has four letters. Period.

He's Right and He's Wrong | Reviewer: Mike | 7/3/09

Yes it is a great song, one of Dylans' best, but it's a temporary piece for all of us who get bitter with life when love falls upon a bare rock. But it isn't the whole truth. Dylan didn't believe the title either. He married at least twice and has never stopped singing about love, not all of it negatively. If you believe the tabloids he never stopped falling in love either. So...hey, wait til the despair passes - then go out and fall in love again. Sing the song on your way home but get up in the morning ready for more. Faith and Hope first and then you'll find Charity. Dylan, you old cynic you, write a reprise, tell us what you really think.

One of those truths that is stranger than fiction | Reviewer: Penny | 10/4/08

I had to listen to this song many times before I really got it. It is a sad truth about love. When you fall in love you think it is forever and that nothing can ever come between you until it does and then love just becomes another four letter word. This song really says it all. We travel through life and experience many different loves and in the end they all become four letter words because nothing lasts forever.

Unforgetable, timeless and ageless!! | Reviewer: jules carr | 8/6/07

This is one of those songs that, once heard, especially sung in Joan Baez's amazing way, with her beautiful voice (still great after all these years!), that you can never forget or get out of your mind. Her range of vocal chords is brilliant, lending pathos to the words, which are themselves hauntingly beautiful and evocative.
Can anyone ever better this song? Perhaps, but it will be a close run contest.
Well done, Joan, and we also remember Bob Dylan, who drew out of you some of the very best songs ever written.