Bob Dylan: 6 “Blowin’ In The Wind” Versions From 6 Different Decades

Blowin’ In The Wind has always been a spiritual. I took it off a song, I don’t know
whether you ever heard a song called No More Auction Block?
-Bob Dylan (Marc Rowland Interview – Sept 1978)

I wrote ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ in 10 minutes, just put words to an old spiritual, probably something I learned from Carter Family records. That’s the folk music tradition. You use what’s been handed down.
-Bob Dylan (Robert Hilburn Interview – Nov 2003)

The 1960’s

Westinghouse Studios
New York City, New York
3 March 1963
Folk songs and more folk songs

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

The 1970’s

Starlight Ballroom
Belleview Biltmore Hotel
Clearwater, Florida
22 April 1976

With Joan Baez

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
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

The 1980’s

Minestadio del F.C. Barcelona
Barcelona, Spain
28 June 1984


  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Carlos Santana (guitar)
  • Mick Taylor (guitar)
  • Ian McLagan (keyboards)
  • Greg Sutton (bass)
  • Colin Allen (drums)

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

The 1990’s

The Arena
Sheffield, England
23 June 1998

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Bucky Baxter (pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)

The 2000’s

Newcastle Arena
Newcastle, England
19 September 2000

  • Bob Dylan (vocal & guitar)
  • Charlie Sexton (guitar)
  • Larry Campbell (guitar, mandolin, pedal steel guitar & electric slide guitar)
  • Tony Garnier (bass)
  • David Kemper (drums & percussion)

The 2010’s

Chicago, Illinois
Wintrust Arena
October 27, 2017

  • Bob Dylan – piano
  • Tony Garnier – bass
  • George Recile – drums
  • Stu Kimball – rhythm guitar, maracas
  • Charlie Sexton on lead guitar
  • Donnie Herron – violin, electric mandolin, pedal steel, lap steel


One thought on “Bob Dylan: 6 “Blowin’ In The Wind” Versions From 6 Different Decades”

  1. Egil; Thank you for this wonderful post. Bobby was well established as a singer of Woody Guthrie songs when he wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind.” This song was the anthem that separated the wheat from the chaff . Those of us who were plying the folk singers trade in the Village in those days witnessed an explosion that changed the world of music and the ancient troubadour tradition of songwriting forever. Yet when he appeared on the scene he deftly played the role of a wandering country bumpkin. Here’s an excerpt from my book, “This Singin’ Thing” that tells of my first sit down conversation with Bobby. I grew up in Hannibal, MO and was a lover of Mark Twain’s tall tales about Tom Sawyer, BeckyThatcher and Huckleberry Finn. This story from Bobby was also very well told.

    “He’d appeared on the scene in 1960 and started the rounds of the basket houses, clubs like the Café Wha’ where you could walk in off the street and play for tips. At that time he was singing Woody Guthrie songs in a voice that sounded like he had a mouth full of corn mush. He really did look like a homeless waif and rough as his singing was, I found it to be curiously engaging. One morning about a couple of weeks after he showed up in New York City he wandered into the Gaslight. I was having a morning blast of espresso and invited him to join me. He mumbled something like “sure enough” and sat down on the other side of the booth. I introduced myself, told him that I’d seen one of his performances, had enjoyed it and was interested in knowing something of his background. He fiddled with the brim of a crumpled old cap that was squished down on a very tousled head of hair and proceeded to unwind a most unusual ball of yarn. “I’m an orphan and I was raised on an Indian reservation in Gallup, New Mexico. I ran away to travel with the circus when I was sixteen. I hoboed around and rode the rails with Big Bill Broonzy. Then I hitchhiked to Memphis where I played piano for Elvis Presley.” As I was listening to these fanciful tales, I thought, this guy looks to be about 19 years old and these are really some wild stories. And as we later found out, that’s all they were, stories. But hey, they were good stories. Most of us who had been in the Village for a while took them with a substantial sprinkling of salt. But there were many who were believers. When the news surfaced that his real name was Bob Zimmerman from Hibbing, Minnesota, his fans would not have been more astonished if they had just learned that the Pope was not Catholic.” JRW

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