The Times They Are A-Changin'

Album: The Times They Are A-Changin' (1964)
Charted: 9
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  • A call to action, "The Times They Are A-Changin'" became an anthem for frustrated youth. It summed up the anti-establishment feelings of people who would later be known as hippies. Many of the lyrics are based on the Civil Rights movement in the US.
  • In the liner notes of this album Biograph, Dylan wrote: "I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, with short, concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. This is definitely a song with a purpose. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and who I wanted to say it to." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Dylan recorded this song in October 1963. He first performed the song at a Carnegie Hall concert on October 26 that year, using it as his opening number.

    On November 22, 1963, United States president John F. Kennedy was assassinated, which made this song even more poignant. This also presented a quandary for Dylan, who had to decide if he would keep playing the song; he found it odd when audiences would erupt in applause after hearing it, and wondered exactly what they were clapping for.

    Dylan kept the song in his sets. It was issued on the album of the same name on January 13, 1964.
  • Dylan covered the Carter Family Song "Wayworn Traveler," writing his own words to the melody and named it "Paths Of Victory". This recording is featured on "Bootleg Series Vol. 1-3". After writing that song, he re-wrote the words again, changed the time signature to 3/4, and created this, one of his most famous songs ever.
  • This was released as a single in the UK in 1965 before Dylan went there to tour. It became his first hit in that territory, climbing to #9 on April 21. British listeners liked what they heard from Dylan and made a run on his second album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan (released in 1963), sending it to #1 on April 11. This marked the first time in two years that an album by a group other that The Beatles or Rolling Stones was #1 in the UK.
  • Dylan allowed this to be used in commercials for accounting firm Coopers and Lybrand in the '90s. In 1996, he also licensed it for commercial use by the Bank of Montreal. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Handwritten lyrics to four verses of this song jotted on a scrap of paper by Dylan were sold for $422,500 at a December 10, 2010 sale. Hedge fund manager and contemporary art collector Adam Sender placed the winning bid by phone to Sothebys in New York.
  • This song appears on the official soundtrack of the 2009 movie Watchmen. A cover of Dylan's "Desolation Row" by My Chemical Romance also appears on the soundtrack. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Kleber - São Paulo, Brazil
  • Simon & Garfunkel covered this on their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., in 1964. They were produced at the time by Tom Wilson, who also produced Dylan's The Times They Are A-Changin' album.

Comments: 37

  • Juan Ignacio from Santa RosaThis Great Lyric Song, was one of the more significative social message sent those days, from a young American Poet/ Compouser/ Performer/ Social Leader. To my generation, here in Mexico'sixties.
  • Clarese from Cooma, Australia>>jay i think you are correct i couldnt have explained better!!:)
  • Chomper from Franjkin County, PaBilly Joel onced sang this song to the Soviets (Russian People ) at a Concert he performed back in the 80s( probably around 1985 or 1986)in Leningrad , Soviet Union ( ST. Petersburg , Russia). Several years later in 1991 , the Berlin Wall that seperated East Berlin from West Berlin felled ; marking the beginning of the end of Soviet Occupation in Germany . About a year later , Communism in the U.S.S.R. came to an end ; marking the end of the Cold War , and the beginning of the Russian Federation.
  • Shaun from Frankfort, KyThis song was used during the initial flashback during the opening of the film version of "Watchmen" released in March 2009. It is a very well placed piece that shows the superheroes starting in classic 1940s and moving through the decades to the current setting of the movie (1985)
  • Rick from Seattle, WaShortly after the fall of the Soviet Union, Billy Joel performed this song as part of a concert in Moscow. I heard a recording of that concert, and the crowd went wild, joining in enthusiastically in the chorus" "The times, they are a-changing".
  • Jay from Brooklyn, NySomeone wrote here that Bob Dylan is simply stating that change is occuring in the world. Others have called this a protest song. I do not think either camp is correct. "The Times..." is not a call to arms, but a call for alliance. Dylan acknowledges the changes in the world and asks the older generation to join in the changes. He does not condemn people who do not change; he just asks them to get out of the way. He does not preach like the hippie movement would a few years later, and does not condemn those who do not agree with him, as the radical left did then and does now.
  • Greg from Marietta, GaDylan has found peace through enlightenment from smoking cannabis and is having a change in his life, but no one in society (including critics and audience) can understand his messages through every single one of his songs because they themselves aren't on the same level because they're still sober... Thus, this song was born.
  • Megan from Shineonyoucrazydiamonds, FlThe first time I heard this song I cried. It's so can you listen to this and not relate? The opening line is so nice...
  • Edal from Baltimore, MdThe lead up to "...come gather" is nothing but intense. It makes the hair stand up on my arms. When I sing this song it hallows through my lungs and out though my entire body. They don't make them like this one any more. There is anger in Bob's voice but also negotiation. He is not your average modern day idiot, radical leftist, but an observer first and foremost- one who tells the story, seeks not to change, but to make sure he is heard. Decide for yourself.
  • Allie from A Little Ol' Town In, MiThis song has a very deep meaning to it. The guitar is nice and mellow, bob's voice is very smooth sounding. My hippie song
  • John from Gainesville, GaI like Bob Dylan's voice. This is one of those songs that make me think.
  • Patricia Bourget from Taunton, Mai got this song as an assignment for my reading class and since this song is before my time it's called'' the times they are a changin what's he trying to say with this song
  • Chad from Reading, PaBob denied that he was a protest song writer before he was ever known as one, If you ever get a chance listen to the first time he played Blowin' in the Wind. (Paraphrasing) This ain't no protest song, I don't write protest songs. I don't think Dylan ever wanted to change the world or lead any movement, he did it because he saw something that he might want to say, not to fulfill any political agenda, never wrote a straight out anti-war song. Not even Masters of War is an anit-war song. It's an anti industrial military complex song which is something that JFK was pushing at the time and that Eisenhower had spoken out against strongly.
  • Celeste from Brisbane Australia, AustraliaPlease understand and judge performers in the historic cultural context guys.It was written in 1963 recorded in 1964. Bob dylan was 22 years old. Chad, when he rejected political activism, he did so in a sense of depair 'that songs couldn't change the world' he was also resenting the proprietal self- righteous attitude of the protest movement towards him. He felt he a right to artistic freedom a concept that prior to impact of social personal radicalism in the later sixties was only being grasped at then . Bob however hippyish he sounds now was a proto hippy and did a lot define the personal radical ethos. Lines like Mother and fathers throughout the land don't critise what you don't understand, your sons and yours daughters are beyond your command were novel radical concepts once.
  • Chad from Reading, PaI find it safe enough to take what Dylan said at face value when he stated that he wanted nothing to do with the left wing. He ridiculed the left wing at the time. In 1965 he even said something along the lines of the time that hes going to write something that is meant to be a social protest song for the left wing would be when all the people in the world were dead. His songs were morphed into protest songs. The media was trying to make him into a pawn. This song protests absolutely nothing calls for nothing to change. It just states that the world is going through changes. Dylan even denied that these were protest songs before he was looked at at a writer of topical material. If you want to see protest songs look at Phil Ochs catolog. Those are protest songs.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScUu Chad don't always take what Dylan says at face value. Of course, these songs are protest songs, what else? He wanted to be known as more than a protest writer. That's why he denied it!
  • Kyle from King George, Vai dont care what any body says about his voice. bob dylan is the absolute best st writing,singing,guitar(billy the kid sound track)and the harmonica. i only wish i was born earlier so i could hear him when he was younger
  • Austin from Des Moines, IaOf course Dylan wrote protest songs. He couldn't really support the civil rights movement and not be protesting the subjugation of American Blacks. And what is a song like "Masters of War" but a protest of the evils of the American military industrial complex. He denied writing protest songs beacuse many people wanted to define him by his protest songs, giving the impression that he was one dimensional which he was not.
  • Chad from Reading, PaAgain another misunderstood song. Most people think this is backing the anti-war movement. Dylan wanted nothing to do with that. This song promotes a much stronger message of supporting the Civil Rights movement, something we know he supported quite strongly. It make me mad when people look at Dylan as a protest song writer. He has said it himself that he didn't protest. He showed his support for various things but never wanted to protest anything.
  • Patrick from Wevelgem, BelgiumAn all time classic.
    Best version is the one you can find on the live album "Before the Flood" ('74). Check it out !
  • Dan from Lee, NhIt's awesome he wrote two songs (Blowin' In The Wind and this one) which basically began the hippie movement! That's pretty impresive!
  • Greg from Paris, MiThe verse "The first one now will later be last" is a reference to the Bible
  • Cadence from Sacramento, CaThis song is being used in a Kaiser commercial.
  • Shmyla from Lahore, PakistanTimeless...
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, Scman is he talented!
  • Stefanie Magura from Rock Hill, ScI went to see bob Dylan at a show in greenville South carolina, a couple days ago on June, 7, 2005. I didn't get to see all of the show, but all of his songs were done on the electric guitar including this one. Unvortunately for Bob his voice has gotten worse, but the music of the show kicked ass!
  • Steve from New York City, NyRichie Havens cover, on the album Live in London, is truly remarkable. I'd say almost as good, if not better than Dylan's and that's saying a lot. It's on "Live in London" -- everyone should check it out. Really great, soothing vocals and the message is definitely not lost in Havens' interpretation of this brilliant song.
  • Geoff from Southburough, MaBobs voice might not be loved by eveyone but i personally find it soothing and it makes the lyrics more meaningful. I have to say that bob is the only one who really does justice to his own music. I dont think you can even compare bob dylan and pearl jam let alone say the pearl jam version is better!
  • Chetan from Bangalore, IndiaPearl Jam's version...a live cover! was really awesome. he sang it for ralph nader!!
  • Drew from Austin, TxElloquent, poetic, revealing lyrics...vintage Dylan, the greatest songwriter of all time.
  • Sol from Dallas, TxThis, my friends, is what Bob Dylan is all about. One of those songs you could listen to over and over again like some kinda tape loop
  • Cynthia from Oxnard, Cai have to agree with erica..PEARL JAMS cover of this song really is the people that havent heard their version..i suggest that you do!!
  • Erica from Ericaville, CanadaThe best cover is by Pearl Jam. It's awesome.
  • Deana from Indianapolis, InI was born in 1956, the middle child. I heard a lot of music courtesy of my older siblings, but this song grabbed me at the young age of 10, and made me question, think, and even argue. My mom says I am still her rebel child. Thanks, Bob
  • Nicoletta from Bronx, Nythis song can definitely blend in smoothly with today's world after 9-11
  • Awfs from Fsda, Mdque buena cancion
  • Paulus from Tasmania, AustraliaTracy Chapman performed an acoustic version of this song at Bob Dylan's 30th anniversary concert celebration at Madison Square Garden, NYC, October 1992. The event, dubbed "BobFest", by Neil Young, was staged in front of a sold-out audience of over 18,000 and featured a host of great musicians including; Clapton, Lou Reed & Bob himself.
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