Music has a very strong influence on many many people and their cultures. More importantly, music can bring unity and love when tension is high. Bob Dylan’s song “Blowin’ in the Wind” was a song that brought unity and happiness during times that were hard and uncertain.
Bob Dylan and his hit song
The song “Blowin’ in the Wind” was written and sung in 1962, then released in 1963 on Bob Dylan’s album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” In 1994, the song was put into the Grammy Hall of fame, and it was put in the rankings at No. 14 for Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time.”
Bob Dylan wrote to Tony Glover, his best friend, “A lot of people are under the impression that Jews are just money lenders and merchants. A lot of people think that all Jews are like that. Well they used to be cause that’s all that was open to them. That’s all they were allowed to do.”
Dylan was part of a small Jewish community, growing up in Minnesota whose grandparents emigrated from Ukraine in 1902.
In an interview he explained, “The thing about rock’n’roll is that for me anyway it wasn’t enough. … There were great catch-phrases and driving pulse rhythms … but the songs weren’t serious or didn’t reflect life in a realistic way. I knew that when I got into folk music, it was more of a serious type of thing. The songs are filled with more despair, more sadness, more triumph, more faith in the supernatural, much deeper feelings.”
Where it began
So, the origins of “Blowin in the Wind” came from a song with deeper meaning. Dylan acknowledged the source when he told journalist Marc Rowland, “’Blowin’ in the Wind’ has always been a spiritual. I took it off a song called ‘No More Auction Block’ – that’s a spiritual and ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ follows the same feeling.”
Dylan wrote this song during the Vietnam War in 10 minutes at a cafe. He then sang this song at a rally in Greenwood, Mississippi, and Peter, Paul and Mary subsequently sang it at Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.
The Peter, Paul, Mary version became the fastest selling song of that era because it was topical and political. Many believe this song can mean anything to whomever listens.
A global phenomenon
In the article “20 of your songs that changed the world,” BBC News reports on a 2013 magazine feature that raised the question: Can a song really help change the world? Hundreds of readers responded, including Siegmar Siegel of Gaufelden, Germany. He cited “Blowin’ in the Wind”:
I first heard this song at a Scout camp in 1967. Before long, ALL of us were singing along — including those (like myself) who didn’t speak English. One of its greatest merits is that it is so simple. Over the decades, I have encountered this song — and the positive spirit that emanates from it — the world over. It ranks among the very few songs that are truly universal. Or, in a nutshell: Never before has so little given so much to so many.
This song has had many underlying impacts on the world, and that was only a little understanding of what it did. If Bob Dylan’s song hadn’t been written or released, how would things look now? How close would people be? Where would the unity be? Many believe this is a song that fostered change.