Bob Dylan was never at a loss for a putdown, and "It Ain't Me Babe," which appeared as the final track on his fourth album, Another Side of Bob Dylan, in August 1964, was one of his classic songs of criticism and rejection, in the tradition of "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." The difference between it and Dylan's several earlier songs about romantic discord is that he gives no indication that he was ever interested in the person he is dismissing. Relentlessly through three verses, he explains that he is not the right partner for the person he is addressing; the lyric is basically a more detailed version of the title. Given the song's unromantic quality and its presence at the end of Another Side of Bob Dylan, an album that, from its title to its contents, represented a rejection of the political stance Dylan had previously espoused, some listeners have interpreted "It Ain't Me Babe" as a message from the singer to his audience, telling them that he is no longer willing to be the political spokesman, "the voice of his generation" that he had been cast as in the past year. "It Ain't Me Babe" quickly became a regular part of Dylan's concert repertoire in the summer of 1964. It earned its first cover version soon after being released on Another Side of Bob Dylan. Johnny Cash had scored a number one country hit earlier in 1964 with "Understand Your Man," a song credited to him as songwriter that bore a strong resemblance to Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right." Cash stuck to Dylan's original for "It Ain't Me Babe," which he released as a single that he was accompanied on by his future wife June Carter's harmonies, in October. Cash became the first in a long line of people who felt required to improve upon the author's punctuation, however, as the title was printed "It Ain't Me, Babe." Eventually, even Dylan would give in to the insertion of the comma, and the song was listed in his songbooks and on his later albums as "It Ain't Me, Babe." The Cash recording reached the Top Five of the country charts and peaked halfway up the Top 100 of the pop charts. By that time, Joan Baez, who had duetted with Dylan on the song during the summer, had put out her version on her Joan Baez/5 album. In January 1965, Dylan began recording with rock instrumentation, and by the summer he was having hit singles, while the Byrds had topped the charts with "Mr. Tambourine Man." Suddenly, "folk-rock" arrangements of Dylan songs were all the rage, and the Turtles, formerly a surf band called the Crossfires, quickly cashed in, cutting a version of "It Ain' t Me Babe" (no comma) that used a 12-string guitar and a prominent tambourine, just as the Byrds had on "Mr. Tambourine Man." The result was a Top Ten hit. With that, "It Ain't Me Babe" became a folk-rock standard among Los Angeles popsters, quickly cut by the likes of Dino, Desi & Billy, Jan & Dean, and Nancy Sinatra. Dylan himself tried a rock arrangement of it at his concert at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in New York on August 28, 1965, but after that dropped it from his sets. He next performed "It Ain't Me Babe" at the Isle of Wight four years later, playing it solo. It was a regular part of his sets on his 1974 comeback tour, performed in a rock version with the Band, and was included (with the comma) on the subsequent live album Before the Flood. From then on, it was a regular part of his live repertoire; another concert version (this one performed solo with an enthusiastic crowd singing along) turned up on Real Live in 1984. At the Dylan tribute concert at Madison Square Garden in 1992, Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash reprised their 1964 cover of the song.