This is a song that took ten years to live and ten years to write.
~Bob Dylan (Special Events Arena, El Paso, Texas – November 21, 1978)
I was trying to do something that I don’t know if I was prepared to do. I wanted to defy time, so that the story took place in the present and past at the same time. When you look at a painting, you can see any part of it or see all of it together. I wanted that song to be like a painting.
~Bob Dylan (to Bill Flanagan, March 1985)
Joni Mitchell had an album out called Blue. And it affected me, I couldn’t get it out of my head. And it just stayed in my head and when I wrote that song I wondered, what’s that mean? And then I figured that it was just there, and I guess that’s what happened, y’know.
~Bob Dylan (to Craig McGregor, March 1978)
….would be Like A Rolling Stone because I wrote that after I’d quit. I’d literally quit singing and playing, and I found myself writing this song, this story, this long piece of vomit about twenty pages long, and out of it I took Like A Rolling Stone and made it as a single. And I’d never written anything like that before and it suddenly came to me that that was what I should do, you know. I mean, nobody had ever done that before.
~Bob Dylan (to Martin Bronstein – Feb 1966)
.. The sound is so rich the song never plays the same way twice
The first time I heard Bob Dylan, I was in the car with my mother listening to WMCA, and on came that snare shot that sounded like somebody had kicked open the door to your mind
~Bruce Springsteen (Jan 1988)
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind
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 wars… You people over 21 should know better. The first way to answer these questions in the song is by asking them. But lots of people have to first find the wind.
~Bob Dylan (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan Liner Notes – 1963)
The version of “Blowin’ in the Wind” that eventually appeared on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan was recorded at this July 9 session. Of all the available performances of this song from 1962 and 1963, this “official” recording is my favorite. It has a presence, a magic, as if Dylan took a deep breath and thought, “Okay, this one’s for posterity.” I don’t think Dylan ever put quite as much of himself into the song again. He didn’t have to. The song itself was in the wind at that point.
~Paul Williams (Bob Dylan: Performing Artist 1960-1973 The Early Years)
Well, your railroad gate, you know I just can’t jump it
Sometimes it gets so hard, you see
I’m just sitting here beating on my trumpet
With all these promises you left for me
But where are you tonight, sweet Marie?