… at THE LAST WALTZ, Neil Diamond came off stage and said to Dylan, “You’ll have to be pretty good to follow me”. Dylan came back with: “What do I have to do, go on stage and fall asleep?”
Dylan was among those taking part, and though it was far from his best performance, he was sympathetically filmed, as were The Band when they were on stage with him—perhaps especially Levon Helm, in fact, whose keen relish of Dylan’s unpredictability is captured beautifully.
~Michael Gray (The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia)
Winterland San Francisco, California 25 November 1976
I laid on a dune, I looked at the sky
When the children were babies and played on the beach
You came up behind me, I saw you go by
You were always so close and still within reach
Whatever made you want to change your mind?
So easy to look at, so hard to define
I’ve heard it said that Dylan was never as truthful as when he wrote Blood On The Tracks, but that wasn’t necessarily truth it was just perceptive. Or when people say Sarawas written for “his wife Sara” – it doesn’t necessarily have to be about her just because my wife’s name happened to be Sara. Anyway, was it the real Sara or the Sara in the dream? I still don’t know.
-Bob Dylan (to Jonathan Cott, 17 September 1978)
The night Dylan recorded the song in late July 1975, Sara, who was already separated from him, stopped by the studio. Larry Sloman recalls, “Dylan suddenly turned to his wife and said, ‘This is for you,’ and broke into the compelling song he had written for her that summer in the Hamptons. No one had heard it before, but Stone and Scarlet and Wyeth picked up the tempo, Scarlet playing some exquisite fills, underlining the melancholy of the lyrics.
-Philippe Margotin and Jean-Michel Guesdon (Bob Dylan All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Track)
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)
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