Song Review: Blowin’ in the Wind (Dylan) 60th Anniversary (1962-2022)

Blowin’ in the wind is an iconic anthem of the 1960s, which has been covered by many artists. Purists shudder at the implications. They believe that only the 1962 Dylan recording is perfection. I too thought this way, until like a good researcher, I want back to the sources. This was a salutary experience. The magic of YouTube means covers are available in an exceptionally usable way. And the result of my anti-nostalgia dive into the sound archive? Dylan’s version comes second behind Sam Cooke.

Joan Baez, a longtime associate of Dylan, shared both the stage and song with him on the Rolling Thunder Revue. Even more importantly she was with Dylan in his gigantic creative years in the 1960s. A Blowin’ in the wind cover by Baez should be magical. Not so. She managed to flatten the passion with bourgeois Folk Singer sincerity. Peter, Paul and Mary’s offering grimly sandpapers the lyrics into banality. Ditching prejudice I hurtled into a rendition by the very youthful Bee Gees. Horrible! Then I listened to Sam Cooke. A fast 2 minutes 34 seconds of a brilliant gospel version with his wonderful singing voice. The lyrics had their meaning enhanced as Cooke elevated them into a stratospheric masterpiece.

Dylan has two versions reviewed here. The first is the 1962 original. Absolutely terrific and as good as remembered. Then, unfortunately, I listened to the 1985 Live Aid version, which should have been strangled at birth.

Blowin’ in the wind is a wonderful song written by Dylan at the height of his powers. Of the six versions offered below go for either Dylan (1962) or Cooke.

Notes

Baez Joan Baez – Blowin’ in the Wind (Live 1978) – YouTube

Peter Paul and Mary Blowin’ in the Wind – YouTube

Bee Gees Bee Gees – Blowin’ In The Wind 1963 – YouTube

Sam Cooke Sam Cooke – Blowing in the Wind – YouTube

Bob Dylan Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the Wind (Official Audio) – YouTube

Bob Dylan, Keith Richard Ron Wood Bob Dylan / Keith Richards / Ron Wood – Blowin’ In The Wind (Live Aid 1985) – YouTube

There are hundreds of covers of this song. If you want to catch the flavour of them try this site Cover versions of Blowin’ in the Wind written by Bob Dylan | SecondHandSongs

Lyric

Bob Dylan – Blowin’ In The Wind Lyrics | AZLyrics.com

 1997 Time out of mind

35 years after Blowin’ in the wind had hundreds of covers Dylan’s Make you feel my love also had hundreds of covers. This one is by Adele Adele – Make You Feel My Love (Lyrics) – YouTube This completely endorses the status of Dylan as a popular songwriter as well as a profound spokesperson for his era. It also points at his restless genius constantly reinventing himself.

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