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A Closer Look Into Dylan’s Influential Breakthrough Album, ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’

first_imgReleased on May 27th, 1963, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan marked the second-ever release for the musical poet known as Bob Dylan, and his first major breakthrough as a recording artist. While Dylan’s debut album, Bob Dylan, only featured two original songs, the second release sees Dylan penning new and original lyrics and setting them to the melodies of many famed traditional American ballads. The result is something uniquely Bob Dylan, and captured the hearts of a rising counterculture movement in America.With issues of civil rights and nuclear warfare on the country’s collective mind, Dylan tackled these issues head-on with his new compositions. The album’s opening song is probably the most famous of Dylan’s protest music, a little tune called “Blowin’ In The Wind.” Whereas Dylan’s earlier songs were mostly focused on singular incidents, “Blowin’ In The Wind” captured a more general feeling of discontent. The music was lifted from a Negro spiritual called “No More Auction Block,” only modernized to capture the unrest in the American sociopolitical climate of the early 1960’s.The album features more of Dylan’s well known songs, including “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall.” Another protest song, some have thought “Hard Rain” referred to the fallout from nuclear warfare, but Dylan again said the song more generally refers to the consequences of malicious actions. “No, it’s not atomic rain, it’s just a hard rain. It isn’t the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that’s just gotta happen … In the last verse, when I say, ‘the pellets of poison are flooding the waters’, that means all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers,” he said in a 1963 interview. When the song first debuted, audiences were floored by its complexity and raw power.Another song that has made its way into the folk annals is “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” In the liner notes, Dylan gives a vague explanation to the song’s meaning, saying “It isn’t a love song. It’s a statement that maybe you can say to make yourself feel better. It’s as if you were talking to yourself.” It captures the emotional sadness of the downtrodden and the hopeless pleas to pick oneself up from such a depressive state. The song was inspired by Dylan’s love, Suze Rotolo, who had relocated to Italy and was considering an indefinite move there.Of course, there are many more songs on this album than these three, including a cover of the classic “Corinna, Corinna” and blues standards like “Talkin’ World War III Blues” and “Bob Dylan’s Blues.” He captured the folk scene with hits like “Girl from the North Country” and “Masters of War” as well, only confirming his reputation as a glorious songwriter and musician.The album has since gone platinum in the US and hit #1 in Britain after its release. 53 years later, Dylan and his sophomore effort, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, remain a vital influence for music makers today. Thank you for the music, Mr. Dylan.Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan Tracklistings01 A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall02 Bob Dylan’s Blues03 Bob Dylan’s Dream04 Corrine, Corrina05 Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright06 Down the Highway07 Girl from the North Country08 Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance09 I Shall Be Free10 Masters of War11 Oxford Town12 Talking World War III Blueslast_img

One Comment on “A Closer Look Into Dylan’s Influential Breakthrough Album, ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’

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