If You Gotta Go, Go Now

"If You Gotta Go, Go Now" (sometimes subtitled "(Or Else You Got to Stay All Night)") is a song written by Bob Dylan in 1964. The first released version was as a single in the US by the UK group The Liverpool Five in July 1965, but this went uncharted in the US despite receiving much airplay, particularly in the Pacific Northwest. Another English band, Manfred Mann, then issued the song as a single in September 1965; this version reached number 2 on the UK charts.

"If You Gotta Go, Go Now"
Single by Bob Dylan
B-side"To Ramona"
ReleasedJanuary 1967
RecordedJanuary 15, 1965
StudioColumbia Recording Studios, New York City
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan
Producer(s)Tom Wilson
Bob Dylan singles chronology
"Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat"
"If You Gotta Go, Go Now"
"Drifter's Escape"
"Si Tu Dois Partir"
Single by Fairport Convention
from the album Unhalfbricking
B-side"Genesis Hall" (Richard Thompson)
ReleasedJuly 1969
RecordedMarch 1969
StudioSound Techniques, London
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan
Producer(s)Joe Boyd, Simon Nicol and Fairport Convention
Fairport Convention singles chronology
"I'll Keep It with Mine"
"Si Tu Dois Partir"
"If (Stomp)"

Dylan's version

Dylan began the recording for "If You Gotta Go, Go Now" on January 13, 1965, during the first session for Bringing It All Back Home.[1] Of the two acoustic takes completed, neither was used. He recorded the song again on January 15, producing four takes. On May 21, 1965, producer Tom Wilson brought in several unidentified musicians to overdub various parts onto the takes recorded on January 15.[2] From these overdubbing sessions, two takes were eventually released: take 5, released as a single in The Netherlands in 1967, and take 7, released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991 in 1991.[3]

Dylan's Netherlands single-only release failed to chart. No Dylan version was released in the U.S. or the UK until the appearance of The Bootleg Series, which, as noted above, featured a different version of the song from the single. The song also appears on The Bootleg Series Vol. 6: Bob Dylan Live 1964, Concert at Philharmonic Hall, albeit in an acoustic, live form.

Additional versions from Dylan's 1965–1966 recording sessions are included on the Deluxe and Collector's Editions of The Bootleg Series Vol. 12: The Cutting Edge 1965–1966.

Fairport Convention's version

Fairport Convention also took the song onto the charts, albeit in an unusual fashion: the group translated the song into French as "Si Tu Dois Partir". Recorded for the Unhalfbricking album, the song was issued as a single in 1969. This was the band's only charting single, reaching number 21 and staying in the British Chart for nine weeks.[4]

Non-charting cover versions


  1. Bjorner, Olof, Still on the Road 1965, 785
  2. Bjorner, Olof, Still on the Road 1965, 800
  3. Bjorner, Olof, Still on the Road 1965, 1015
  4. ChartArchive - The Chart Archive Retrieved 29 June 2009).
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