Blowin' In the Wind
Artist & Tune
About the Song
Dylan first performed the song during a hootenanny hosted by Gil Turner (editor of Broadside Magazine & a close friend of Dylan's at the time) at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village on April 16, 1962. H
Some notable recordings:
- Dylan first recorded the song in July 1962 & released it on his 2nd studio album "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" in May 1963 on Columbia Records.
- The New World Singers (a folk group Gil Turner was part of) actually was the first to release the song on Broadside Balads Vol.1 five months before Dylan's release.
- A few weeks after Dylan's release, Peter Paul & Mary released the song as a single. The single reached #2 on the Billboard chart. They released the song on their 3rd studio album "In the Wind" on Warner Brothers Records the same year.
- Dylan performed the song at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival with Pete Seeger, The Freedom Singers, Joan Baez, and Peter Paul & Mary.
- Marlene Deitrich's 1964 German language recording on the song titled "Die Antwort weiß ganz allein der Wind" charted in West Germany,
- English folksinger Marianne Faithfull released the song as a single in 1964. The Seekers also released it the same year.
- Stevie Wonder recording on the song in 1966 peaked in the top 10 on Billboar's Hot 100 & #1 on the R&B chart.
- Dylan performed it at Live Aid in 1985 accompanied Keith Richards & Ron Wood.
- The Chenille Sisters have written a parody of the song "from a female perspective". The live recording above is from a 1996 Shanachie album "Christine Lavin presents: Laugh Tracks".
A list of 200+ recordings of the song can be found on Secondhandsongs: https://secondhandsongs.com/performance/2673
The theme of the song may be partly derived from a passage in Woody Guthrie's autobiography, Bound for Glory, in which Guthrie compared his political sensibility to newspapers blowing in the winds of New York City streets & alleys.
It was published in 1962 in Broadside and in June 1962 in Sing Out! Dylan wrote about the song in Sing Out!: "There ain't too much I can say about this song except that the answer is blowing in the wind. It ain't in no book or movie or TV show or discussion group. Man, it's in the wind — and it's blowing in the wind. Too many of these hip people are telling me where the answer is but oh I won't believe that. I still say it's in the wind and just like a restless piece of paper it's got to come down some ... But the only trouble is that no one picks up the answer when it comes down so not too many people get to see and know ... and then it flies away. I still say that some of the biggest criminals are those that turn their heads away when they see wrong and know it's wrong. I'm only 21 years old and I know that there's been too many wars ... You people over 21, you're older and smarter."
Parody by The Chenille Sisters (see final video above):
"Bob Dylan has been such an inspiration to songwriters for decades now.
Nearly 30 years ago he wrote a song full of probing questions...
But so much has happened since then, and now there are so many more questions: "
How many roads must a man drive down
Before he admits he is lost?
Why when a man becomes married is he
Unable to find his own socks?
How many times will it take 'til he knows
He has seen the Three Stooges enough?
The answer my friend, I cannot comprehend
The answer, I cannot comprehend
How many shows can a man surf through
Before the remote burns out?
Why does he think that an intimate gift
Is a Dustbuster Plus for the house?
How many sounds can a man's body make
Before he sleeps on the couch?
The answer my friend, is take two aspirin
The answer is take two aspirin
Why when we go for a romantic drive
Do we wind up at Builder's Square again?
How many nights will he leave the seat up
So I land on cold porcelain?
How men really feel is mystery to me
And probably a mystery to them...
The answer girlfriend is driving me to gin
The answer is driving me to gin.
- lyrics (parody) by Grace Morand & Cheryl Dawdy