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Boots of Spanish Leather

"Boots of Spanish Leather"
Song by Bob Dylan from the album The Times They Are a-Changin'
Released January 13, 1964
Recorded August 7, 1963
Genre American folk music
Length 4:40
Label Columbia Records
Writer Bob Dylan
Producer Tom Wilson
The Times They Are a-Changin' track listing

"Boots of Spanish Leather" is a ballad written and performed by Bob Dylan, and released in 1964 on his album The Times They Are a-Changin'.[1]

Dylan's recording features him solo on the acoustic guitar, playing the song using fingerpicking.

Lyrically, "Boots of Spanish Leather" is a "restless, forlorn ballad for the ages and sages—a classic Dylan tale of two lovers, a crossroads, and the open sea."[2] The song is written as a dialogue, with the first six verses alternating between the man and woman; however, the last three verses are all given by the one who has been left, presumably the man. Within these nine verses, the woman goes across the sea. She writes, asking whether the man would like any gift, and he refuses, saying he only wants her back. Towards the end it becomes clear that she is not returning, and she finally writes saying she may never come back. The man comes to realize what has happened and finally gives her a material request: "Spanish boots of Spanish leather." Michael Gray says there is a strong parallel between this line and the traditional folk song "Blackjack Davey," which Dylan arranged and recorded for his 1992 album Good as I Been to You, and in which footwear of Spanish leather also plays a significant role.[3]

The song is included in the Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th edition, in the section titled "Popular Ballads of the 20th Century."[4]

Though occasionally performed live since its composition, Dylan did not start performing "Boots of Spanish Leather" regularly until his Never Ending Tour began in 1988.[5]


"Boots of Spanish Leather" has been covered by many musicians, including:

See also


  1. "The Times They Are A--Changin[[File:Redirect arrow without text.svg|46px|#REDIRECT|link=]][[:mw:Help:Magic words#Other|mw:Help:Magic words#Other]]
    This page is a [[Wikipedia:Soft redirect|soft redirect]].[[Category:Wikipedia soft redirects|Boots of Spanish Leather]] The Official Bob Dylan Site"
    . Sony Music. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
      Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
  2. Trager, Oliver (2004). Keys to the rain: the definitive Bob Dylan encyclopedia. New York: Billboard Books. p. 80. ISBN 0823079740. 
  3. Gray, Michael (2002). Song & dance man III : the art of Bob Dylan. London: Continuum. p. 857. ISBN 0826463827. 
  4. The Norton anthology of poetry (5. ed.). New York: Norton. 2005. ISBN 0393979202.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  5. "Search results for: "Boots of Spanish Leather" The Official Bob Dylan Site". Sony Music Corporation. Retrieved 6 June 2013. 

External links