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Bob Dylan is one of the most influential figures in music. After more than four decades, this talented poet and gifted songwriter remains to be relevant in the music industry. However, the influence of this amazing musician goes beyond the realm of music. He is also an important part of American history, specifically of the civil rights movement. How and why is Dylan’s music significant to the said movement? Bob Dylan is a prominent figure in the American civil rights movement because he provided the songs that clearly defined the issues of the era. Moreover, the majority of his songs are political in nature, even if he wrote outside the context of the movement. This research paper aims to discuss the crucial contribution of Bob Dylan to the American civil rights movement and politics in general, through his music and lyrics, Before there could be a discussion on Bob Dylan’s participation, it is necessary that a discussion on the beginnings of the American civil rights movement be made.
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Yes, ‘n’ how many ears must one man have Before he can hear people cry? Yes, ‘n’ how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind, The answer is blowin’ in the wind (“Lyrics”). Another song that was born out of the civil rights movement was “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” (Chapman). In this song, Dylan gives a warning, as his words present the repercussions of racial discrimination in America: I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains, I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways, . I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests, I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans, I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard, And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall (“Lyrics”). One of Dylan’s songs that exhibit obvious reference to the civil rights movement is “Only A Pawn in their Game. ” This song was inspired by the demise of Evers prior to the Washington March (Chapman). Dylan wrote the song about the underlying origin of racism, which is believed to be class rule (“Politics”; Chapman).
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” Bob Dylan Lyrics. 28 Feb. 2008 <http://www. net/bob-dylan-biography. Chapman, Robert. “African American Culture and Bob Dylan: Why He Matters. 28 Feb. 2008 <http://www. org/twice/threads/why_he_matters. 28 Feb. 2008 <http://www.
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His passion for music and empowering lyrics really enabled the people to make a difference and stand firm for what they believe is right.fr/musa/bob_dylan/bio.“The Life of Bob Dylan.“Bob Dylan: A Biography.Bob Dylan’s Performance Artistry.
Just after the assassination of John F. Kennedy and during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement, Dylan’s second album was released.Dylan has mastered the craft of songwriting and will forever be known as the voice of our generation.Dylan imposes the idea that a new generation is forming with newer ideas and ideologies, and they are right in front of everyone’s face but they go unnoticed just like the ‘wind’.Although the Vietnam war was not in full swing until a few years after the song was composed it was still used as the anthem of the antiwar movement which shows that Dylan is not only a timely writer but also a timeless one as well.All of Dylan’s songs are timeless; just how “Masters of War” is relevant during the Vietnam War it is j...
New Haven [Conn.: Yale UP, 2011.A famous song, Blowin in the Wind talks about society’s inability to change their views, and can be translated to be an antiwar anthem or a Civil Rights commentary.Bob Dylan: Like a Complete Unknown.In another critical essay, Ellen Willis points out in Cheetah Magazine that although he may be seen as a poet, his poetry has “horrendous grammar, tangled phrases, silly metaphors, embarrassing clichés, muddled thought; at times he seems to believe one good image deserves five others, and he relies too much on rhyme.”(Willis, “Dylan”).Dictionary of Litereary Biograhy Vol 16.
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