Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Peter, Paul and Mary: Blowin’ in the Wind (1965)



Peter, Paul and Mary (Peter Yarrow, Paul Stookey and Mary Travers) perform the haunting folk song, “Blowin’ in the Wind” in a performance broadcast on the BBC in November 1965. The song is another of Bob Dylan’s masterpieces; he wrote it in 1962 and recorded it as the title track for his album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, released on May 27, 1963. [Dylan’s original version is here.] Dylan later said it was an adaptation of an old Negro spiritual, “No More Auction Block” (1873). Dylan also said this was not a protest song, yet it became one soon after. The kind of protest that reveals man’s inhumanity.

As is common to many Dylan songs, it has biblical allusions, raising the kind of questions that always need to be heard, until they don’t—when the message in the wind is heard and apprehended. Dylan wrote the words, but it was Peter, Paul and Mary’s version, recorded three weeks after Dylan's version, that made the song well-known and commercially successful. The song still resonates today, since music is universal and songs like this speak to our conscience, our being—to the parts of us that can’t be seen on a medical screen or scan but appears in plain full view to the sensitive souls of humanity.

It is music like this that can engender positive and heartfelt change to bring humanity to a place of not forgetting the important parts of being human. Reaching towards this goal is this great American folk song.

Blowin’ in the Wind
by Bob Dylan

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

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

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

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