“How many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?”
Taken from the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan
What could I, little old me, possibly contribute to the collossal amount of words that have been written about ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’? It’s a song that captures your imagination, simultaneously timeless and irrevocably of it’s time, an anthem for not just a generation, but all generations. I love it to death and yet I play it sparingly – it feels like a religious experience, to be savoured and taken in small doses.
My first memory of ‘Blowin’ In The Wind’ is this cartoon from Sesame Street, in which the guitar player counts sheep to the tune of the song. I was very little but I always got the tune stuck in my head, and I knew it was a very famous and important song though I didn’t know much about who Bob Dylan or what he meant. The lyrics in this song may be incredibly profound or psuedo-psychological depending on how you look at it, but they do what all good pop should – it entices and involves your brain, both the bits that do all the hard, deep thinking and then also the bit that sits back and enjoys the way the guitar sounds.
There have been a huge amount of cover versions over the years from Peter, Paul And Mary to Dolly Parton to Stevie Wonder to Sam Cooke, but none of the interpretations I’ve heard come close to the raw, honest feel of Bob Dylan’s original, which is just so hard to beat. It’s one of those songs that is almost impossible to ruin – but it’s also almost impossible to ever come close to the first, and best, rendition.