The first version released. The first take Dylan recorded (with Ramblin' Jack Elliott) during the marathon session for the Another Side Of Bob Dylan lp (June 9th, 1964) was shelved and resurfaced on No Direction Home ('05). A copy of this 6+ minute version was send to The Byrds. Their cover triggered a never ending rush on the Dylan song canon. Dylan's Witmark demo (on Bootleg Series Vol 9) is not the oldest version nailed.
Bob Dylan [author on lp Bringing It All Back Home; had been playing it live for seven months; there's footage of his performance during Newport '64 in Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home]
Byrds [debut single, n°1 US & UK; intro inspired by the Rickenbacker outro of The Beatles' A Hard Day's Night]
Hugues Aufray [as L'Homme orchestre]
STS [Austrian folk band as He, alter Liedersänger]
Tito Schipa Jr. [as Tu Col Tamburino]
Crowded House [with Roger McGuinn live]
Byrds & Bob Dylan [live on Roy Orbison Tribute]
Gregory Isaacs [on Is It Rolling Bob]
Written while driving across the USA from New York over New Orleans to San Francisco, just like Jack Kerouac indeed. Who was this Tambourine Man? According to Dylan biographer Howard Sounes in Down The Highway, Bruce Longhorne was the man. During the Freewheelin' sessions this guitarist always carried a big Turkish tambourine.