♫ Blowin’ In The Wind ♫

Yesterday, I played a song that I thought I had only played once, back in 2019!  In his comment, Clive said he still liked it, just as he had when I played it two months ago!  I went back and re-checked the archives, and sure ’nuff, I had played it back in August!  My mind … I tell you, I’m losing it!  So, it is with some trepidation that I tell you I last played this one back in August 2019 … but I really think that was the only time I’ve played it before!  Honest!

This morning’s post was my reflection about the divisiveness in this nation, about how far apart those on the political right and left are, and whether there is any hope for a meeting in the middle, or whether we are bent on the destruction of the nation.  When you spend as much time as I do reading, observing, researching, and thinking about these things, you don’t just flip a switch and bring your head back to a happy place.  The darkness remains even long after the post has been scheduled and put to bed.  Tonight’s song is a reflection of what I see happening, what I think and feel.

This song was written by Bob Dylan who claims that he wrote it in about 10 minutes one afternoon. He put words to the melody of an old slave song called “No More Auction Block,” which he might have learned from Carter family records. In the evening, Dylan took the song to the nightclub Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village, where he was due to play a set. Before playing it, he announced, “This here ain’t no protest song or anything like that, ’cause I don’t write no protest songs.” During this first performance, Dylan couldn’t read some of his own handwriting and made up some of the lyrics as he went along.

The Dylan version of this song was never a hit – it was a cover by Peter, Paul & Mary that made #2 in the US in February 1963, introducing many people to the music of Bob Dylan, who was an obscure folk singer at the time.

“There ain’t too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain’t in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it’s in the wind — and it’s blowing in the wind. Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won’t believe that. I still say it’s in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it’s got to come down some … But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know … and then it flies away. I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it’s wrong. I’m only 21 years old and I know that there’s been too many … You people over 21, you’re older and smarter.”

One line, the one in bold typeface, says so much about our troubles today.

As I like both the Bob Dylan and the Peter, Paul and Mary versions, I present you with both for your listening pleasure.

Blowin’ in the Wind
Bob Dylan

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, ‘n’ how many years can a mountain exist
Before it’s washed to the sea?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, ‘n’ how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?
Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Songwriters: Bob Dylan
Blowin’ in the Wind lyrics © Audiam, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group

14 thoughts on “♫ Blowin’ In The Wind ♫

  1. Jill, given Bob Dylan’s huge body of work that won him a Nobel Prize in Literature, I am still surprised more artists have not covered his work. The best thing Peter Paul and Mary did was give the song exposure, especially as an anthem sung at MLK’s “I have a dream speech.” To me, his work deserve as much notoriety as it can get. Keith

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    • Last time I played this, back in 2019, I played a different, newer version of Bob Dylan’s and you weren’t as crazy about it, said you preferred the original. So, this time I went in search of a version I hoped you’d like better! I like both just fine, though if I had to pick, I’d likely pick the PP&M version. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  2. Both versiobs have their merits, but in my mind PP&M actually take the bite out of the message that Bob’s gravelly voice adds. Comfort vs harshness, and all that. One should never feel comfortable contemplating the questions this song asks. If one is comfortable the message is being missed.

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  3. This still sounds so fresh and relevant sixty years on. Much though I like PP&M’s harmonies I prefer the original: it has beauty in its simplicity. He had quite a good career after that, I gather 😊

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    • I used to much prefer PP&M’s version, but the more I hear it, Dylan’s has begun to grow on me and I like both now, though I think PP&M still win out. For today’s, I was going to play Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire” as a bit of a tribute in light of his death. But then I read a bio of his life and … he was really a nasty piece of work! I can overlook some things in an artist as long as I love the music, but his … the list is longer than my arm and I just … cannot. Too bad, ’cause I really like that song, too!

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      • I’ve always preferred Dylan’s- PPFM could be a bit too ‘sweet’ for my taste and once my parents bought one of their albums well, that was it for me!

        I wouldn’t go near Jerry Lee Lewis either. Good decision.

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        • True … I know you like your music with a bit more … punch … than PP&M. Yeah, as I read about the man, I told my daughter that I couldn’t, in good conscience, play a tribute to him. I love the song, and I can often overlook an artists flaws, for heck, we all have flaws. But … his entire life has been spent being a bastard!

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