//
you're reading...
Daily History

July 9 1962 Bob Dylan records “Blowin’ In The Wind”


On July 9th 1962, Bob Dylan walked into a studio and recorded the song that would make him a star. A few weeks earlier, in the spring of his first full year in New York, he was onstage at Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village, talking about a song he claims to have written in just 10 minutes: “Blowin’ In The Wind.”

He famously said: “This here ain’t no protest song or anything like that, ’cause I don’t write no protest songs.” That was how Bob Dylan introduced one of the most eloquent protest songs ever written when he first performed it publicly.

Dylan’s recording of “Blowin’ In The Wind” would first be released nearly a full year later, on his breakthrough album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. This was not the version of the song that most people would first hear, however. That honour went to the cover version by Peter, Paul and Mary—a version that not only became a smash hit on the pop charts, but also transformed what Dylan would later call “just another song” into the unofficial anthem of the civil rights movement.

“Blowin’ In The Wind” bore little or no resemblance to the highly topical, highly literal protest songs of the day, but that may have been precisely what made it so effective as a protest song. A lyric like “How many roads must a man walk down, before you call him a man?” lends itself perfectly to those seeking racial justice, just as “How many seas must a white dove sail, before she sleeps in the sand?” does to those seeking peace. The moving, vaguely spiritual, clearly dissatisfied, yet ultimately ambiguous nature of “Blowin’ In the Wind” made it the quintessential protest song of the 1960s—”A song that the times seemed to call forth,” in the words of critic Greil Marcus.

It also represented a significant breakthrough for Bob Dylan as a songwriter. From “Blowin’ In The Wind” onward, Dylan’s songs would reflect a far more personal and poetic approach to self-expression—an approach that would lead him away from songs like “The Times They Are a-Changin'” and toward songs like “Like A Rolling Stone.” And Dylan’s development as a songwriter would, in turn, have a similar effect on The Beatles, whose own move from “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” to “A Day In The Life” can be traced directly to their exposure to The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in the spring of 1964.

Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24th 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota, and raised in Hibbing, Minnesota, on the Mesabi Iron Range west of Lake Superior. His paternal grandparents were from modern day Ukraine, in what was previously the Russian Empire. His maternal grandparents were Lithuanian Jews.

Zimmerman (Dylan) played in several local bands during high school, and in 1959 played keyboard in two concerts with Bobby Vee. He moved to Minneapolis in September 1959 and enrolled at the University of Minnesota, where his early focus on rock and roll gave way to an interest in American folk music. He changed his name to Bob Dylan to acknowledge he had been influenced by the poetry of Dylan Thomas

He dropped out of college at the end of his freshman year, and moved to New York in January 1961, hoping to meet his inspiration, Woody Guthrie. Guthrie, at that stage, was in a psychiatric hspital with Huntington’s Disease, but Dylan mett with him regardless. He claimed this as a major inspiration in his life.

His first album sold only 5,000 copies, and Columbia considered dropping him. However, they decided to persist with him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

This Day In History

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Discussion

16 thoughts on “July 9 1962 Bob Dylan records “Blowin’ In The Wind”

  1. Yes but while it may be the best, he doesn’t consider it a protest song.

    Posted by sinithwar | July 9, 2012, 15:37
  2. Proof that beauty and musical complexity are two different animals.

    Posted by Smaktakula | July 9, 2012, 16:05
  3. One of so many wonderful songs he’s written.

    Posted by tomsimard | July 9, 2012, 19:33
  4. Craig, we play a cover of this song, and while being simple in nature regarding the chord structure, the lyrics are chalk full of meaning that, while written many years ago, fits anytime when a country is at war….Nice blog!

    Posted by jazfagan | July 9, 2012, 23:48
  5. This is one of my all time favorite tunes. I still dig out recordings of Dylan to enjoy over and over.

    Posted by swabby429 | July 9, 2012, 23:53
  6. C, again you capture a bit of the past that still is very current. Nice job.

    Posted by GrooveCentral LA | July 10, 2012, 00:17
  7. so in our 8th grade graduation ceremony our class sang this song …. how much has public education changed in the usa since then? I am 57 now.

    Posted by pdlyons | July 10, 2012, 02:10
  8. It always looks nice reading your posts.

    Posted by neelkanth | July 10, 2012, 17:35
  9. Great post.

    Fantastic song, one of the first I learnt on my old trumpet. I love the Peter, Paul and Mary version.

    Posted by Edward Fraser | July 10, 2012, 19:38
  10. I did a “Blowin’ In The Wind” post, too, except I also included a couple of versions that I like better than Dylan’s.

    Posted by Russel Ray Photos | July 17, 2012, 08:19
  11. I knew most of this, but loved reading about Dylan again – the Baez documentary on TV reveals Dylan as a self-centered, self-aggrandizing slob, but what the heck – talent is never a personality contest. It might not have been “protest” but it was so “in tune” (sorry!) with the feelings of an entire generation. “Times They Are A’Changing'” is my favorite!

    Posted by elisefrancesmiller | July 17, 2012, 15:05

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: (WE’RE ALWAYS) BLOWIN’ IN THE WIND / 50 YEARS AGO BOB DYLAN PREMIERED HIS SONG – LACER/ACTIONS POSTCARDS # 6 | robertoalborghetti - July 18, 2012

  2. Pingback: knocked out loaded « just for the records ~another 365 project - July 19, 2012

  3. Pingback: Bob Dylan and Philosophy | Episyllogism - September 9, 2014

Leave a Reply to Russel Ray Photos Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 17,664 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

When Beijing was burning, Xi was playing personal games 

A great fire destroyed Rome for six days in the summer of AD 64. Famous Roman historian of that time, Tacitus, recorded that 70 percent of the city was destroyed and half of the city’s residents were displaced. Roman ruler Nero was accused of being indifferent, ineffective, and careless. The end result of this neglect […]

China would re-educate Taiwan in event of reunification

China would re-educate Taiwan in event of reunification

Once China achieves its professed goal of establishing control over Taiwan, a process of “re-education” of the island’s population would follow, according to China’s Ambassador to France Lu Shaye. The ambassador was speaking on French television channel BFM TV on Wednesday night, when he said a majority of the Taiwanese population actually wanted to be […]

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a political sabotage

Sri Lanka’s economic crisis is a political sabotage

Sri Lanka’s present state confirms the famous statement: “Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.” Sri Lankans have been repeating the mistakes of choosing the politicians Rajapaksas again and again. It is confirmed that there were unaccounted payments that the Chinese were liberal with during project negotiations with the island nation. They were paid […]

<strong>China’s military drills around Taiwan drive foreign firms to draw up exit plans for staff and assets</strong>

<strong>China’s military drills around Taiwan drive foreign firms to draw up exit plans for staff and assets</strong>

China’s military drills around Taiwan have led some foreign companies on the island to draw up contingency plans in case there is an attack. Photo: Reuters (image omitted) Multinational businesses in Taiwan are laying plans to evacuate assets and personnel in case mainland China attacks the island. While no one is fixing to leave, analysts […]

Chinese aircraft, ships and drones circle Taiwan on final day of military drills

Chinese aircraft, ships and drones circle Taiwan on final day of military drills

The Chinese military continued joint air-naval exercises on Sunday, simulating attacks on Taiwan, the Taiwanese defense ministry said as China announced new drills north of the island in the Yellow Sea. It was the last day of drills held as an angry response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island. At the […]

What may be China’s response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

What may be China’s response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit

Nikkei Asia describes US military deployment for possible military response to China’s response to Pelosi’s Taiwan visit in its report “U.S. deploys ships and planes near Taiwan as Pelosi eyes visit” yesterday. However, China is not fully prepared for taking Taiwan by force now, especially a war with the US due to its military takeover […]

A Quad of a new kind: Tech Quad   

A Quad of a new kind: Tech Quad   

Machines, big and small, all rely on one component, semiconductor. Be it computers, telecommunications, household appliances, banking, security, healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, and last but not least, war-making machinery, all depend upon semiconductors. So, it won’t be unreasonable to say that the country that controls the semiconductors controls the future. Do you know, just like Rare […]

Taiwan’s aircraft and warships stage five-day live-fire exercise

Taiwan’s aircraft and warships stage five-day live-fire exercise

The Taiwanese military kicked off a five-day annual live-fire exercise on Monday aimed at bolstering the island’s defense capabilities and combat readiness at a time when China and Taiwan’s allies have been facing off in the airspace and seas around the island. The Han Kuang drills will be taking place at a number of locations […]

China plundered, India blundered and Sri Lanka surrendered  

China plundered, India blundered and Sri Lanka surrendered  

On Wednesday, Ranil Wickremesinghe, present acting President, was voted in as the next President of Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan parliamentarians. Some people are prematurely hailing new President Ranil Wickremasinghe as P V Narasimha Rao of Sri Lanka, who steered India through 1991’s economic crisis towards economic stability. Would Ranil Wickremesinghe — a record six-time […]

India gains on China in crisis-hit Sri Lanka

India gains on China in crisis-hit Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s pre-emptive default on its foreign debt obligations in mid-April 2022 and recently resigned president Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s flight from Sri Lanka on 12 July provides India with an opportunity to match China in the foreign aid game. The Indian government held an all-party meeting on the Sri Lankan crisis on July 19 and new President Ranil […]

%d bloggers like this: