10 Facts About ‘Blowin’ The Wind’ By Bob Dylan
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Alan Messer/REX/Shutterstock (133333jj) DON McLEAN VARIOUS
A Powerful Song
“Blowin’ in the Wind” is one of Bob Dylan’s most powerful songs with a message that remains relevant today. Featured on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, here are some facts about it:
10. It’s one of his most covered songs.
9. Dylan performed it sporadically in the ’60s and it wasn’t until 1975 when he included it in his setlist.
8. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994.
7. Dylan gave permission to a folk magazine called Sing Out! to publish the song’s lyrics. A high school student Lorre Wyatt from Millburn, New Jersey claimed he wrote it. Wyatt later came clean and admitted it wasn’t true. He said, “I’d begun to make Pinocchio look like he had a pug nose.”
6. Dylan first performed it in public at a nightclub called Gerde’s Folk City in Greenwich Village on April 16, 1962. Before launching into the song, he told the crowd: “This here ain’t no protest song or anything like that, ’cause I don’t write no protest songs.” Since he couldn’t read some of his own handwriting, he had to make up some of the lyrics during the performance.
5. Pope John Paul II included it in his homily at the World Eucharistic Congress in Bologna in 1997. He said, “You say the answer is blowing in the wind, my friend. So it is: but it is not the wind that blows things away. It is the wind that is the breath and life of the Holy Spirit, the voice that calls and says, ‘Come!'” He then added, “You ask me how many roads a man must walk down before he becomes a man. I answer: there is only one road for man, and it is the road of Jesus Christ, who said, ‘I am the Way and the Life’.”
4. Dylan was accused of stealing the lyrics. And he commented on it in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview saying, “Newsweek magazine lit the fuse way back when. Newsweek printed that some kid from New Jersey wrote ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ and it wasn’t me at all. And when that didn’t fly, people accused me of stealing the melody from a 16th century Protestant hymn. And when that didn’t work, they said they made a mistake and it was really an old Negro spiritual. So what’s so different? It’s gone on for so long I might not be able to live without it now. F–k em. I’ll see them all in their graves.”
3. Dylan’s original rendition wasn’t a hit and the most commercially successful version was that from folk music trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Dylan performed it with them at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. Dylan went from being an obscure talent to someone who got covered by magazines such as Time, Playboy, and The New Yorker following that particular performance. Peter Yarrow told Radio Times in 2007, “His (Bob Dylan’s) writing put Peter, Paul and Mary on another level. We heard his demos and Albert (Grossman, both Dylan and the trio’s manager) thought the big song was ‘Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,’ but we went crazy over ‘Blowin’ In The Wind.’ We instinctively knew the song carried the moment of its own time. He was rising so fast over anybody else, in the level of poetry and expression, to a shatteringly brilliant level.”
2. It was written in just ten minutes, further proving Dylan’s genius.
1. It had a huge influence on Sam Cooke. Cooke did a soulful take on it on the show Shindig and even included a live cut on his 1964 album “Sam Cooke at the Copa”. Cooke was inspired to write political songs such as “A Change Is Gonna Come”.