He’s in his 70’s now, and he can barely sing (not that he was ever known for his pristine vocal abilities), but the legendary Bob Dylan announced this week that starting in October he’ll be embarking on a fall tour that hits 41 cities. While Dylan’s initial claim to fame was as a folk singer in the 1960s, his lasting influence on rock music can’t be denied–especially the social consciousness and protest part. So it seems fitting to dig into the “vault,” so to speak, and look at one of his signature tunes: “The Times They Are a Changin.'”
Released as the title track of Dylan’s second album in 1964, “The Times They Are a-Changin'” was written on purpose to be an anthem for change in a season of turmoil. Ironically, the single never charted in the U.S., but its Scottish/Irish influences resonated across the pond, landing it in Britain’s Top 10. The album itself peaked at No. 20 on the U.S. album charts, eventually reaching Gold Record status.
When Dylan wrote the song, it’s doubtful that he realized how far reaching or universal its message would become. Not only has it become an indelible part of modern culture, but “The Times They Are a-Changin'” has remained popular in the many decades since its released, having been covered by everyone from Tracy Chapman to Billy Joel to Phil Collins to Flogging Mollies.
Obviously, there’s no “official” music video for this song since it pre-dates the music video era, but the clip below is an excerpt from a TV appearance. Enjoy!