Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’

I like this song a lot and I was drawn to it right away when I listened to it on my copy of Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits…but I cannot connect to it like the listeners did in 64-65. It was more than a pop song.

Dylan wrote this in 1963 when the civil rights movement was underway and demonstrations against the Vietnam War were gearing up. It would become the anthem of his generation.

Sometime songs can sum up the generation and time they are released in and this one is one of the very few that does it.

The song was on Bob Dylan’s 3rd album The Times They Are a-Changin’ released in 1964. The song wasn’t released as a single until 1965 and it peaked at #9 in the UK.

On December 10, 2010 Sotheby’s in New York sold a single rather worn sheet of binder paper on which Bob DylanOffsite Link wrote the original lyrics of his most famous song, The Times They Are A-ChanginOffsite Linkprobably in October 1963. This battered piece of paper with messy writing sold for $422,500.

Bob Dylan

https://www.historyofinformation.com/detail.php?id=2750

The song was ranked number 59 on Rolling Stone‘s 2004 list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”

Bob Dylan: “I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, with short, concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. This is definitely a song with a purpose. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and who I wanted to say it to.” 

From Songfacts

A call to action, “The Times They Are A-Changin'” became an anthem for frustrated youth. It summed up the anti-establishment feelings of people who would later be known as hippies. Many of the lyrics are based on the Civil Rights movement in the US.

Dylan recorded this song in October 1963. He first performed the song at a Carnegie Hall concert on October 26 that year, using it as his opening number.

On November 22, 1963, United States president John F. Kennedy was assassinated, which made this song even more poignant. This also presented a quandary for Dylan, who had to decide if he would keep playing the song; he found it odd when audiences would erupt in applause after hearing it, and wondered exactly what they were clapping for.

Dylan kept the song in his sets. It was issued on the album of the same name on January 13, 1964.

Dylan covered the Carter Family Song “Wayworn Traveler,” writing his own words to the melody and named it “Paths Of Victory”. This recording is featured on “Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3”. After writing that song, he re-wrote the words again, changed the time signature to 3/4, and created this, one of his most famous songs ever.

This was released as a single in the UK in 1965 before Dylan went there to tour. It became his first hit in that territory, climbing to #9 on April 21. British listeners liked what they heard from Dylan and made a run on his second album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (released in 1963), sending it to #1 on April 11. This marked the first time in two years that an album by a group other that The Beatles or Rolling Stones was #1 in the UK.

Dylan allowed this to be used in commercials for accounting firm Coopers and Lybrand in the ’90s. In 1996, he also licensed it for commercial use by the Bank of Montreal. 

This song appears on the official soundtrack of the 2009 movie Watchmen. A cover of Dylan’s “Desolation Row” by My Chemical Romance also appears on the soundtrack. >>

Simon & Garfunkel covered this on their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., in 1964. They were produced at the time by Tom Wilson, who also produced Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’ album.

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come gather ’round, people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth savin’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

56 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin’”

  1. I think you’re right on the money- I quite like it, but I’m sure we – kids born after that – can’t quite get the feel for how relevant and important it probably seemed when it came out. Nonetheless, I’d still put it among his best-written songs and one of his better recordings too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one didn’t come near the popularity of Like A Rolling Stone in the pop world but across the board it’s one his most known

      Like

      1. I sure did…it was so much to respond on you did it great. I like the pop rock band the best but I like all of them. You can’t over do it…there is no wrong answer

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      2. Heh. I was expecting a “are you drunk” comment. LMAO! I am nothing if not different. I like SO MUCH music and so many styles that, picking one person for one job…I couldn’t do it. Hee-hee…

        Liked by 1 person

      3. No that IS passion and I LOVE it. That is what I wanted. Personally I didn’t think the post would fly…but I got a lot of comments. Oh I was going to do a soul, blues and more bands…but it was too much. It took me 3 weeks to come up with what I did…the ONLY certain ones were Moon and Lennon…

        Like

      4. Hey. I nearly put Moon, Lennon, McCartney, Bonham, Townshend (Townsend?) & Mercury in. I just had other favorites for the categories.

        Great post. All your posts generate discussions. I was hoping Stuart might chime in. Or, did he & I missed it?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. No he didn’t drop by on that one…I pushed a couple of people and still waiting on their replies. It’s interesting to see who people would choose…Remember that commercial with Elvis, Moon, Sheryl Crow? It’s something like that.

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  2. I don’t think anyone, when the song first came out, thought of it as ‘pop’. They were impossibly horrible years with the news from Vietnam being propelled all over the globe. We certainly had all of it hitting our shores, so anyone singing and particularly writing about it like this, hammered the message home.

    The one that got to me, more than this was A hard rain’s gonna fall.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yea I can’t imagine how this affected people at the time…
      How are you Val? I hope you are doing well. I’m happy that the first part of the holidays will be over Friday…I should be able to reply this weekend finally…again I’m sorry.

      Like

      1. That’s okay, Max. Me, I’m absolutely exhausted. Just spent about an hour watching most of Mirrorball (video of an early gig by Sarah McLachlan). Nice and relaxing, took my mind off a lot of worries for a while. Hope you’re okay.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Work > Home on and on…the holidays brings specials, menu changes, and other things and I’ve been able to get a post in everyday and not much extra but I’m thankful it should die down a little Friday…plus they haven’t replaced Nathan…so it’s been a little crazy.

        I like Sarah…Building A Mystery is what first got me to listen to her.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ‘Possession’ and ‘Fumbling towards ecstasy’ are my faves of hers.
        It hadn’t occurred to me that you’d have to work through this holiday. Of course you do. We don’t have thanksgiving here, but got Christmas coming… like everyone else. If we’re ‘allowed’ it by our four so-called governments in the UK.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I’ll check them out…
        What is bad is I know nothing about the Point of Sale software of our stores…that is not what I do but guess what? I’m learning some quickly but yea this cannot continue.

        We have been told over here not to travel but of course people are. We were going to Jen’s mother in Ohio but we cancelled it because she was nervous also about us traveling and us.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Ha! I convert everything now to a video file…so I have all of my movies on my computer and I stream them on our television…so much more handier plus we cleared up a lot of storage space for DVDs.

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      6. That’s a good idea. If I could trust my pc not to crash (which it has had a habit of doing ever since I bought it, and it’s even been back to its manufacturers since) I’d do the same. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. I have 8TBs of tv shows and movies…some I picked up from IT friends so I could go months without seeing the same show.

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  3. badfinger20

    For some reason when I read these verses, I thought about the 2020 election.

    Come writers and critics
    Who prophesize with your pen
    And keep your eyes wide
    The chance won’t come again
    And don’t speak too soon
    For the wheel’s still in spin
    And there’s no tellin’ who
    That it’s namin’
    For the loser now
    Will be later to win
    For the times they are a-changin’

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The last time I saw him…he only played Tangled Up In Blue…the only song he played before the 2000’s. In the nineties when I saw him he did play a lot of older songs.

      Liked by 1 person

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