Times They Are a-Changin’

po_Dylan-Bob2The Times They Are a-Changin is the third studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in January 1964 by Columbia Records.

Produced by Tom Wilson, it is the singer-songwriter’s first collection to feature only original compositions. The album consists mostly of stark, sparsely-arranged ballads concerning issues such as racism, poverty, and social change. The title track is one of Dylan’s most famous; many felt that it captured the spirit of social and political upheaval that characterized the 1960s.

The Times They Are a-Changin’ opens with the title track, one of Dylan’s most famous songs. Dylan recalled writing the song as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the moment. In 1985, he told Cameron Crowe: “This was definitely a song with a purpose. It was influenced of course by the Irish and Scottish ballads …’Come All Ye Bold Highway Men’, ‘Come All Ye Tender Hearted Maidens’. I wanted to write a big song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close for a while and allied together at that time.”

The climactic lines of the final verse: “The order is rapidly fadin’/ And the first one now/ Will later be last/ For the times they are a-changin’” have a Biblical ring, and several critics have connected them with lines in the Gospel of Mark, 10:31, “”But many that are first shall be last, and the last first.”

The Times They Are a-Changin’
Lyrics by Bob Dylan

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’
Then 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
There’s a battle outside
And it is ragin’
It’ll 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’.