Bob Dylan: The Times They Are A-changin' Meaning
Song Released: 1965
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The Times They Are A-changin' Lyrics
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a...
Bob Dylan wrote this song in 1963 and this was the era of the PEACE and LOVE generation... Free spirits that would NEVER be tethered and controlled by something like the evils of Nazism, Communism or Socialism.
In the 60s, Dylan could see that the times were changing, people had changed: and he favored change. Remember this was written not long after World War II. It was a time of the youth in this country being adamantly against war, divisiveness hate and injustices like racial discrimination. Young people in the 60s, if you think back to James Dean, Steve McQueen and the young Marlon Brando: were a rebellious and outspoken bunch who were inspired to take the world by storm. If something was horribly wrong, they were out there in a protest. These are the sons and daughters that were beyond parental command, as Dylan wrote. They were the children of the war-generation and they set out to fix what the people of the world in their parents'age group screwed up. They became proactive in their own right, to try to change the times for better; a better world for themselves, and a future for their own children. They knew (collectively, most of them wearing peace symbols around their necks) a change for unity, prosperity and peace was the New Order. When Dylan says "come gather round people", he is really speaking to the whole world, but more specifically to us in America, as world leaders to deluge the world with love, equality, our music singing praises to a free society; and a kumbaya attitude... transforming a postwar world into a planet of peace. He is making a call for change that ALL better join the movement of the Peacemaker-Flower Children. The whole action of the 60s was about movements and protests, to right the wrongs... This of course meant Civil Rights, which they knew would bring them head-to-head with the government. Dylan makes the plea in the song..."senators, congressmen please heed the call,don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall." In other words, these politicians needed to get off their asses and make our country a good place for everyone to be. "Don't block up the hall" could be interpreted as you better stay out of our way because we are going to flood over you and fix our America. The confidence and enthusiasm was at a fever pitch in the sixties: ("there's a battle outside and it's raging"). The message to our Congress was---if you---the Government stand in our way, you will be the ones who drown, if not in keeping with the changes that MUST come---sinking like a stone when the waters (the masses of the people) have risen all around them. Those of the parents' generation are admonished in much the same way ("please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand".)
A kind of mantra in those days was 'don't trust anyone over 30'. This made the older generation sort of a quasi-enemy. They looked on the youth of the 60s as a bunch of pot-smoking, rock and roll or folk music; free- love, hippies. The people over 30 criticized this Peace-Love generation, and even did so in the Press; calling the Baby Boomers degenerates and LOSERS.
But Dylan KNEW! He knew "the loser now would be later to win." This phrase is supported, in effect, when he says in the last verse that "the first one now will later be last". The younger generation was taking the bull by the horns and they were: in it to win it. The status quo is the "present" and it will soon be the "past"; civil rights will come into fruition and the old ways, will as Dylan says, "be rapidly fadin'."
Bob Dylan reinforces this in each stanza of the song: repeating the same words at the end of every
verse (moreso in terms of a promise, not a threat). that: "THE TIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGIN'."
Lee Whitlow-A Baby-Boomer
This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
this dylan song is as revelant today as it was in the early 60s. it's revelant to every major political event, war or threat of war, scandel-nuclear arms-tragedies that affected the world, but that has it's place in a hard rain,. basically in an ever changing world, the way we live and act is also constantly changing and we either change with the times or we are left behind.it's a warning word not a threat and dylan as usual said it better than anyone did or will
anonymous Mar 8th, 2011 3:31pm report
history is in the making. Get ready and be prepared for change. A change is coming whether you are ready for it or not.
anonymous Dec 14th, 2010 12:24pm report
Your asking me for my interpretation is the interpretation for The Times They Are A Changin'. He prophetizing the coming changes in America when the traditional virtues will be replaced with Tolerance and Equality. It's the Revolt of the Masses" that he's writing about where the average person takes control of civilization. The self satisfied masses no longer listen to their betters, their parents, or the past.
Anyone who disagrees with the mass of humanity will be crushed or eliminated. Who am I to interpret this song? The lyrics answer this question for you.
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