Music has a huge impacton individuals andsocieties as a whole. Itallows people to expresstheir thoughts as well asinspires changes.Primarily, music is aseries of motivationalexpressions of emotionsthat is put into dialogueand motion and becomesan active effect on socialchanges. There are manyartists that are not afraidof communicating socialissues to the audiencesinorder to allow them to see the world from his or her perspective suchas Bob Marley, Joni Mitchell or even U2.Yet, one of the most influential singers and songwriters of all time isBob Dylan, whose career began in the early 1960s with songs thatillustrated social issues such as war and civil rights.Bob Dylan, whose birth name is Robert Allen Zimmerman, was bornon May 24, 1914, in Duluth, Minnesota. Growing up, he wasinfluenced by artists like Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and evenformed his own bands. He began performing folk and country songsat local coffee shops, taking the name “Bob Dillon”. He eventuallybecame a regular in clubs in New York and received a glowingreview in The New York Times which boosted his career path. Hesigned a contract with Columbia Records and legally changed hissurname to Dylan (“Bob Dylan Biography”).In 1963, he was portrayed as one of the most original and poeticvoices in the history of American popular music after the release of”The Freewheelin'”. His later album was “The Times They Are A-Changin'”, which accepted Dylan as the ultimate songwriter of the60s protest movement. In 1965, Dylan stunned his folkie fans byrecording the half-acoustic, half-electric album “Bringing It All BackHome”. With his poetic voice and unforgettable, yet, meaningfullyrics, he connected the worlds of music and literature together(“Bob Dylan Biography”).Fast forwarding to the 1990s, since hewent touring full time in the 70s and 80s, he became the first rockstar ever to receive Kennedy Center Honors, which considered asAmerica’s highest award for artistic excellence.After being aware of Bob Dylan’s background, one of his influentialpieces of work, which is ‘The Times They Are A-Changin’, shouldalso be looked in depth. This song was written in the 60s, whichconsidered as the golden age of the protest movement and peak ofprotest songs. This song was composed during the civil rightmovement, which was an issue regarding the African Americans inthe mid-1950s to late 1960s, for equal civil rights as the whites,including equal opportunity in employment, education, as well asthe right to vote, and the right to be free of racial discrimination(“Civil Rights Movement”).This song sums up a lot of main messages from frustrated youth tothe Civil Rights movement in the United States of America in the1960s. To broaden this statement, in the first stanza of the song,Bob Dylan calls out people to gather around and unite as onebecause there were issues that needed to be dealt with together.To elaborate, everyone had to admit the issues, specifically thecivil rights movement, the time when this song was written, and tocome to realization that it needed to be changed from a world thatcares about skin color and race to a world that everyone is thesame. He also added that if people are still continuing thosediscriminative actions, it would be a disappointment and failure forthe younger generations to witness how people treated each otherjust because of the color of their skin.Furthermore, in the secondstanza, Bob Dylan addressesto writers who might havewritten about a particularproblem by predictinginformation that containedexaggerations or distortions.He advised them to keep theireyes open and to not be sureof what’s going to happenahead of time because therewere still changes, we don’tknow the absolute way how itwas going to turn out. Yet, badsituation now might lead to abetter situation later on.Nevertheless, he believedthat there’s a time people arechanging. On the other hand,the writers might interpret themeaning or message of thisstanza differently. They mightget offended by how BobDylan called out their writingas predictive.In the third stanza, he callsout for senators andcongressmen, those who aremembers of the US Senateand the US House ofRepresentatives, to pay closeattention to what the citizenshave to say about their problems. “Don’t block up the hall” means donot block out the citizens’ voices as they also want what’s best for thenation, their ideologies are nationalism and they are innocent. Inaddition, the phrase “for he who that gets hurt will be he who hasstalled” refers to those who involved in the parliament and governmentissues will end up suffering if they neglect those issues or fail to fulfilltheir roles as the voice of the citizens. Moreover, the battle that ragesoutside might seem insignificant but, sooner or later, it will becomemore and more powerful and can affect the nation as a whole andshouldn’t be ignored any longer. Similarly to the second stanza, thismight affect another group of audiences which are the politicians,because they might perceive that Bob is trying to insult or criticize theway they work or assume that they are tunnel vision and do not takethe citizens’ voice into account.As for the fourth stanza, Bob Dylanaddresses the parents to not criticize what they don’t understand.In addition, we can also see how diverse audiences, which are theparents and the children, might perceive the message from the samestanza. From the parents’ perspective, they might intercept that BobDylan is encouraging their children to go against them and that theirways of thinking aren’t applicable in that specific time. On the otherhand, the children perceive Dylan’s message as him thinking that theirthoughts are valuable and new. Therefore, if the parents are notsupportive for those ideas, at least, do not criticize because as timegoes on, new ideas build upon the prior ones.Last, but not least, the final stanza emphasizes that there will bechanges. “The show one now will later be fast” means those AfricanAmericans will eventually be the same as the whites with equal right. Inaddition,”as the present now will later be past” shows that as thechanges are taking place, the protests that happened in the 1960s,which was the present then, will just be something that had happenedand it’ll change for the better. Moreover, what was considered as “order”at that time, which is the discrimination of African American, will fadeand some day be forgotten.


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