Bob Dylan's lyrics are usually synonymous with folk
singing in the 1960s. Dylan who is a singer-songwriter, musician,
author and poet has been a major figure in the music industry for
over 50 years and his lyrics have reflected radicalism, rebellion
against the Vietnam War and governmental authorities, a voice for
the civil rights movement and a whole host of other themes.
Bob Dylan was known more for his biting lyrics than for his suspect
voice at the beginning and end of his career. The themes of Dylan's
lyrics have included social commentary, politics and philosophy,
largely appealing to the counterculture of whatever decade he happened
to be in.
Inspired by both Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan began
to write "protest songs" in the early 1960s where his
lyrics questioned both the social and political status quo. Dylan's
song, "Blowin' in the Wind" became an international bestseller
for Peter, Paul & Mary and an anthem for political and social
The lyrics of Bob Dylan were cutting-edge social commentary and
were complimented by a sound that referenced many older folk songs
in melody and chord structure. Joan Baez, The Byrds and Judy Collins
all fell in love with Bob Dylan's radical lyrics and recorded his
In fact, Dylan and Baez became lovers and sang together during
civil rights marches and political rallies. In several of his songs,
Dylan wrote about the murder of several young black men by white
men and in the song "The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll",
Dylan talks about the murder of a black maid by her white employer.
Even though Bob Dylan has played in many different styles and genres
over the decades including blues, rock 'n' roll, jazz, rockabilly,
Celtic and gospel, he is best known for his folk
music lyrics, which upset the status quo at the time.
After a motorcycle accident in the mid-1960s, Dylan wrote "All
Along the Watchtower", which became a huge hit for Jimi Hendrix.
The Dylan lyrics contained biblical references not present before
In 1976, Dylan wrote and recorded "Hurricane", a song
about boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter who was falsely convicted
of a triple murder he did not commit and could not get a fair trial.
This was Dylan's first protest song in 12 years. In 1985, Carter
was released a free man as the U. S. District Court stated the Hurricane
had not received a fair trial.
Like any good civil rights activist, Dylan kept the case alive
through his song and lyrics. In August 2006, Bob Dylan released
his latest album, Modern Times, which rose to #1 on the
charts, making Dylan at 65-years-old, the oldest person to top