Bob Dylan Lyrics
Bob Dylan’s lyrics are usually synonymous with folk singing in the 1960s. Dylan who is a singer-songwriter, musician, author and poet has been a major figure in the music industry for over 50 years and his lyrics have reflected radicalism, rebellion against the Vietnam War and governmental authorities, a voice for the civil rights movement and a whole host of other themes.
Bob Dylan was known more for his biting lyrics than for his suspect voice at the beginning and end of his career. The themes of Dylan’s lyrics have included social commentary, politics and philosophy, largely appealing to the counterculture of whatever decade he happened to be in.
Inspired by both Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan began to write “protest songs” in the early 1960s where his lyrics questioned both the social and political status quo. Dylan’s song, “Blowin’ in the Wind” became an international bestseller for Peter, Paul & Mary and an anthem for political and social change.
The lyrics of Bob Dylan were cutting-edge social commentary and were complimented by a sound that referenced many older folk songs in melody and chord structure. Joan Baez, The Byrds and Judy Collins all fell in love with Bob Dylan’s radical lyrics and recorded his early songs.
In fact, Dylan and Baez became lovers and sang together during civil rights marches and political rallies. In several of his songs, Dylan wrote about the murder of several young black men by white men and in the song “The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll”, Dylan talks about the murder of a black maid by her white employer.
Even though Bob Dylan has played in many different styles and genres over the decades including blues, rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, rockabilly, Celtic and gospel, he is best known for his folk music lyrics, which upset the status quo at the time.
After a motorcycle accident in the mid-1960s, Dylan wrote “All Along the Watchtower”, which became a huge hit for Jimi Hendrix. The Dylan lyrics contained biblical references not present before the accident.
In 1976, Dylan wrote and recorded “Hurricane”, a song about boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter who was falsely convicted of a triple murder he did not commit and could not get a fair trial. This was Dylan’s first protest song in 12 years. In 1985, Carter was released a free man as the U. S. District Court stated the Hurricane had not received a fair trial.
Like any good civil rights activist, Dylan kept the case alive through his song and lyrics. In August 2006, Bob Dylan released his latest album, Modern Times, which rose to #1 on the charts, making Dylan at 65-years-old, the oldest person to top the charts.