Jerome Rodnitzky claimed that “Blowin’ in the Wind,” as well as many other protest songs, were too vague to arouse change in the Civil Rights Movement. He stated, “By saying everything, they in effect said nothing” (Rodnitzky). However, in this statement, Rodnitzky does not account for the fact that the interpretations of these songs were just as important as the actual lyrics. For instance, “Blowin’ in the Wind” encouraged Sam Cooke to write “A Change is Gonna Come.” That song, as mentioned, motivated thousands of African Americans to march and fight for their freedom. Cooke also covered “Blowin’ in the Wind” on his live album Sam Cooke at the Copa . That song was Cooke’s introduction into protest music, a genre that he most likely would have explored more had he not been shot and killed (Guralnick). Bob Dylan also
Weinstein 8 performed the song at a voter registration rally in Greenwood, Mississippi (Barnes). While Dylan wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind,” he was not a very well-known musician at the time so the more famous version of the song was actually recorded by Peter, Paul, and Mary. One of their most famous performances of this song was at the March on Washington. After this performance, the band was interviewed by a reporter named David Edwards. When asked why “Blowin’ in the Wind” is an important song to sing, Mary Travers said, “It is so easy today to not see the things that are happening around you. Because you're too busy, because you're doing something else. But the responsibility, and it is a responsibility, we do not have freedom as a gift. It's not given to us as a God-given right. It's something that you must take, and you must fight for, and you must preserve this liberty. And that's what the song speaks of. Of listening, and watching, and being careful not to lose this liberty” (Travers). The opinion of Mary Travers is an opinion that was held by many people, black and white, at the time and Bob Dylan’s song allowed these people a clearer voice and a more focused goal for equality. There are many very popular renditions of “We Shall Overcome,” a timeless protest song thought to have descended from a similar song written by Charles Albert Tindley in 1901 (Adams), but the most famous version of the song may be Pete Seeger’s portrayal. He performed the song at a concert he played at Carnegie Hall in June of 1963, which was later dubbed the “We Shall Overcome Concert.” In this show, Seeger performed popular protest songs written by both black and white musicians. In introducing the song “We Shall Overcome,” Seeger stated “Go help those people down in Birmingham and Mississippi or Alabama. All kinds of jobs that
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 12 pages?