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Bob Dylan, born Robert Zimmerman in 1941, is a towering figure in American music history. Initially linked to the folk revival of the 1960s, Dylan’s impact transcended genres. His early, poetic lyrics tackling social issues and war resonated with a generation.

However, Bob Dylan’s artistic restlessness led him to embrace electric guitars and explore rock and roll. Before being labeled a “Judas” in 1966 at the Royal Albert Hall, Bob Dylan wrote one of his greatest songs, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

In this article, we’ll explore the meaning embedded within the lyrics of this timeless song.

The Times They Are A-Changin” Lyrics

Come gather ’round people
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’
And you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’

Come writers and critics
Who prophesize with your pen
And keep your eyes wide
The chance won’t come again
And don’t speak too soon
For the wheel’s still in spin
And there’s no tellin’ who
That it’s namin’
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin’

Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don’t stand in the doorway
Don’t block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
The battle outside ragin’
Will soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin’

Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don’t criticize
What you can’t understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is rapidly agin’
Please get out of the new one
If you can’t lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin’

The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’

Bob Dylan – “The Times They Are A-Changin”

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Bob Dylan

The Times They Are A-Changin’ lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin“: The Lyrics Meaning

More than just a song, “The Times They Are a-Changin'” is a powerful anthem for social change. Written by Bob Dylan in 1963, the track became the title song of his album and a rallying cry for a generation yearning for progress. A snapshot of the cultural conflict that defined 1960s America, fueled by a growing generation gap and a stark political polarization.

Inspired by the storytelling tradition of Irish and Scottish ballads, Bob Dylan crafted lyrics that transcended time and place. Critics point to the song’s universality as its key strength, a message of change that is just as relevant in 1964 as it is six decades later in 2024.

“The Times They Are a-Changin'” and the Assassination of JFK

Less than a month after Bob Dylan recorded “The Times They Are a-Changin’,” the nation was shaken by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, on November 22, 1963. With the country in a state of shock and mourning, Bob Dylan took the stage the next night and, according to his biographer Anthony Scaduto, he said:

“I thought, ‘Wow, how can I open with that song? I’ll get rocks thrown at me.’ But I had to sing it, my whole concert takes off from there. I know I had no understanding of anything. Something had just gone haywire in the country and they were applauding the song. And I couldn’t understand why they were clapping, or why I wrote the song. I couldn’t understand anything. For me, it was just insane.

The Times They Are A-Changin” Video

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Bob Dylan – The Times They Are A-Changin (Music Video)
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