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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!: Day 13 - The Times They Are A-Changin'

On this day in 1964 Bob Dylan released his third album,  "The Times They Are A-Changin'". The album surprisingly reached #4 in the UK and only #20 in the US. His previous album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan had reached #1 in the UK and in the US #20. Dylan's debut did not chart in the US but did in the UK peaking at #13.

Whilst some critics think the song is outdated (and was so from the moment he recorded it) I think it is one of those songs that has stood the test of time, a song that recognizes that change is vital to the society we live in. Some of course don't except change and want things to always remain the same, but truthfully, that's never going to happen. There will always be change.

The song has been covered by a multitude of artists down through the years (and that's just a few of them)  with artists from very different musical genres taking a stab at it, Punk, Celtic Punk, Heavy Metal, Pop, Jazz, Soul, Indie, Folk, Americana, Gospel, Country, Rock and Hardcore Punk (and probably quite a few genres I missed). It has also been recorded in many different languages (at least 14: CatalΓ‘n, Czech, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Serbian, Spanish and Swedish) showing that what Bob Dylan was writing about has a broader impact than just for America.

The single of it was released 5th March 1965. It peaked at #9 in the UK and did not chart in the USA.

Bob Dylan said of "The Times They Are a-Changin'":  
"This was definitely a song with a purpose. 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. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close and allied together at that time."

When Bruce Springsteen performed it at the Kennedy Center Honors in 1997 (see video below) he introduced the song like this: 
 "this song I´m gonna sing was, uh....written at the moment in our country´s history....when people´s yearning for a more open and just society exploded....Bob Dylan had the courage to stand in that fire....and he caught the sound of that explosion....and this song remains as a beautiful call-to-arms....meaning of this song and.... the echo of that explosion live on in the struggle....for social America that continues so fiercely today...."

"The Times They Are A-Changin'"
Written by Bob Dylan
Come gather 'round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'.

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'.

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin'.

Quest TV Film from 1964

Bruce Springsteen
Kennedy Center Honors 1997

Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!
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