Blowin’ in the Wind

20 Jan

I am listening to various covers of Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” today on this MLK day.

Dylan sang at the march on Washington in 1963, where MLK delivered his now famous “I Have a Dream Speech.” Dylan released this song in 1963. It became an anthem for both the civil rights movement in the sixties and later the anti-war movement. It was dubbed a “protest song,” but Dylan never seemed to be comfortable with that label. The song is much more of a lament. It grew out of the tradition of the spirituals sung by those enduring the inhumanity of slavery. “Blowin’ in the Wind” was inspired by “No More Auction Block,” a negro spiritual originally sung by freed slaves living in Canada in the 19th century. It seems fitting for “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which asks how many years can some people exist, before they’re allowed to be free, to be rooted in the that tradition of slavery and freedom.

“Blowin’ in the Wind” may be the most covered Dylan song of them all. Peter, Paul And Mary made the song a hit in 1963. Their harmonious, folk version was just one of the dozens and dozens of covers that have been recorded over the last forty years. From my quick perusal through the Internet, I found versions of this song done in Rock, Folk, Reggae, Country, Punk, R&B, Pop, Gospel, Latin, Children’s, Jazz, Blues, and Techno. I am still waiting for Jay-Z to come out with full rap version. I have really enjoyed Stevie Wonder’s cover. He performed this one in 1992 at Dylan’s Tribute in Madison Square Garden. “Blowin’ in the Wind” has been covered by a ton of artists. (Most of these are in iTunes Store). I have really enjoyed this one by Stevie Wonder:

Stevie Wonder is right. This is a song that will endure. It will always be relevant to something going on in the world, at least until Jesus returns. This is a classic song that refrains with the same messages of Old Testament prophets. It asks questions about righteousness and justice. These are the questions asked by the biblical prophets and prophets today. The Church that Jesus is building and the kingdom he is proclaiming is centered on the issues of righteousness and justice, living in right relationship with God (righteousness) and living in right relationship with neighbors (justice). And Jesus is the answer. He is the One blowing in the winds of the Spirit. He is for us righteousness and justice. He justified us through his death, burial, and resurrection, giving righteousness to us. And he is our example and empowerer in living a just life. Dylan is right in line with the biblical prophetic tradition.

In addition to Peter, Paul And Mary, and Stevie Wonder. This song has been covered by:

Joan Baez

Neil Young

Sam Cooke

Don Carlos

Etta James

Dolly Parton

Duke Ellington

Elvis Presley

Glen Campbell

Alanis Morissette

John Fogerty

The Abyssinians

The Chad Mitchell Trio

House of Fools

The Soul Stirrers

Susie Tallman

Judy Collins

The Settlers

The Hollies

Chet Atkins

Marianne Faithfull

The Doodletown Pipers

Marlene Dietrich

Bobby Darin

The Hooters



Salsa Rosso


Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

The Edwin Hawkins Singers

Stan Getz

Max Romeo

The Seekers

Den Fiori

Duane Eddy

Vitamin String Quartet

Jerold Ottley & Mormon Tabernacle Choir

Countdown Kids

Dionne Warwick

Leontyne Price

The Gospel Hummingbirds

Saturday Nite Fish Fry

Maya and Miguel

The Gene Norman Group

David Roth


Ray Conniff

Billy Strange

King Curtis

Annie Sims

Jack McDuff

The Rezidudes

The Magic Time Travelers

Lena Horne


The New World Singers

Shirley Scott

Jan Johansson

Billy Lee Riley

C.J. Johnson

Tim Grimm

The Tolley Town Orchestra

Die Inselfeger

Kek Lang

Scott B. Adams & Tom Rasely

Chris Charles

John Burrows & The Cocabanana Band

Just B

Nina & Rederik

Estudio Miami Ritmo

Slim & The Supreme Angels

Jette Torp

Is there any doubting Dylan’s influence on popular music?

Is there any doubting Dylan’s prophetic sustainability?

Here is one of my favorite live versions. It is a duet with Joan Baez. This is from 1976:


Posted by on January 20, 2009 in Life



3 responses to “Blowin’ in the Wind

  1. Joe Beach

    February 7, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Hey Derek,
    I think the new blog look is great! Great post on Bruggeman. I need to finish that book! For some reason, I wasn’t aware that Dylan sang Blowin in the Wind at the March on Washington. I’ve always seen him singing “When the Ship Comes In.” I heard that he also sang “Only a Pawn in Their Game,” – but I hadn’t heard about Blowin in the Wind. I did hear, though, that he sang “several songs.”

    Anyway, good job!

  2. derekvreeland

    February 8, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Hey Joe!
    I did not mean to imply that Dylan sang “Blowin’ in the Wind” at the march on Washington. I don’t know if he sang that song there or not. I was just listening to on MLK day and thinking about the significance of the song to the civil rights movement.


  3. Joe Beach

    February 8, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Thanks Derek.


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