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BLOWIN' IN THE WIND

OVERVIEW

In 1962, When Dylan took the stage at Gerde’s Folk City to perform “Blowin’ in the Wind” for the first time, his song’s chords and melody were relatively simple. Many have suggested that it was his lyrics, rich with symbolism and poetic inquiry, that most captivated his audience. To gain a deeper understanding of the song, we have to examine “Blowin’ in the Wind” within the era in which it was composed. During the early 60s, youth culture was becoming more explicitly politicized, giving songs like Dylan’s heightened importance. Although “Blowin’ in the Wind” has never been tied to one specific cause, lyrics such as “How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry? / Yes and how many deaths will it take ‘til he knows, that too many people have died?” seem to point to the issues of racism and war that the country was struggling with at that time. Some argue, however, that the brilliance of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” lies in the fact that the lyrics seem almost timeless. The song can apply to multiple moments in history, including the present day. 


Bob Dylan, Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C.,1963     |     Credit: U.S. Information Agency. Press and Publications Service

LESSONS

INTERDISCIPLINARY LESSON: "BLOWIN' IN THE WIND"
How does the song “Blowin’ in the Wind” use poetic devices to communicate an open-ended yet powerful message about the human condition, without ever losing its historical specificity?
LITTLE KIDS ROCK CHARTS: “BLOWIN' IN THE WIND”
How does understanding the structure and context of the song "Blowin' in the Wind" inform its performance?

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