The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan is the second studio album by Bob Dylan, released in 1963. It was the first Dylan album where his own material exceeded his covers. Widely acknowledged as Dylan's first masterpiece and one of his greatest albums overall it is best remembered for the hits and audience favourites "Blowin' in the Wind", "Masters of War", "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall", "Girl from the North Country" and "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right". It's equally famous for its iconic cover photo of Dylan and his then-girlfriend walking down a New York City street.
"Rocks and Gravel", "Let Me Die In My Footsteps", "Gamblin' Willie's Dead Man's Hand" and "Talkin' John Birch Blues" were originally supposed to appear on the album, but against Dylan's wishes, they were replaced at the last minute with "Girl from the North Country", "Masters of War", "Talkin' World War III Blues" and "Bob Dylan's Dream".
In 2002, the album was among the first sound recordings to be included in the National Recording Registry for its "historical, cultural and aesthetical importance." The album was also listed at #97 in Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums Of All Time.
- "Blowin' in the Wind" (2:48)
- "Girl from the North Country" (3:22)
- "Masters of War" (4:34)
- "Down the Highway" (3:27)
- "Bob Dylan's Blues" (2:23)
- "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" (6:55)
- "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" (3:40)
- "Bob Dylan's Dream" (5:03)
- "Oxford Town" (1:50)
- "Talkin' World War III Blues" (6:28)
- "Corrina, Corrina" (2:44)
- "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance" (2:01)
- "I Shall Be Free" (4:49)
This album offers freewheelin' examples of:
- Adam and Eve Plot and All Women Are Lustful: "Talkin' World War III Blues"Well, I spied me a girl and before she could leave"Let's go and play Adam and Eve"I took her by the hand and my heart it was thumpin'When she said, "Hey man, you crazy or sumpin'You see what happened last time they started".
- Alliterative Title: "Corrina, Corrina".
- And There Was Much Rejoicing: "Masters of War".I hope that you die and your death will come soon
I will follow your casket on that pale afternoon
And I'll watch as your lowered down to your death bed
And I'll stand o'er your grave 'til I'm sure that you're dead.
- Black Comedy: "Talkin' World War III Blues" starts out with Dylan surviving a nuclear assault on New York, and then gets bleaker and bleaker without ever losing its sense of humor.
- Break-Up Song:
Honey, just allow me one more chance to get along with youHoney, just allow me one more chance, I'll do anything with youWell, lookin' for a woman that ain't got no manIs just lookin' for a needle that is lost in the sand
- "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance"
Corrina, CorrinaGal, where you been so long?Corrina, CorrinaGal, where you been so long?I been worrying about you, babyBaby, please come home
- "Corrina, Corrina"
Well, the ocean took my babyMy baby stole my heart from meYes, the ocean took my babyMy baby took my heart from meShe packed it all up in a suitcaseLord, she took it away to Italy, Italy
- "Down the Highway"
I ain't a-saying you treated me unkindYou could have done better but I don't mindYou just kinda wasted my precious timeBut don't think twice, it's all right.
- "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"
- Breather Song: "Bob Dylan's Blues" and "I Shall Be Free", which are far more light than the heavier topics on the album.
- But Not Too Black: "Oxford Town" is a sardonic attack on the segregation of Afro-Americans at the universities.He went down to Oxford TownGuns and clubs followed him downAll because his face was brownBetter get away from Oxford TownOxford Town around the bendHe comes to the door, he couldn't get inAll because of the colour of his skinWhat do you think about that, my friend?
- But Now I Must Go: The central message of "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright".
- Continuity Nod: Dylan would later sing a different version of "Girl from the North Country" on his album Nashville Skyline from 1969, in duet with Johnny Cash.
- Cryptically Unhelpful Answer:The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind.
- The Diss Track: "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" is a cutting indictment of a former lover.Goodbye's too good a word, babe,So I'll just say fare thee well.I ain't saying you treated me unkind,You could have done better but I don't mind,You just kinda wasted all of my precious time,But don't think twice, it's all right.
- Epic Rocking: "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" and "Talkin' World War II Blues" are 7 and 6 and a half minutes, respectively.
- Face on the Cover: A photo of Dylan and then-girlfriend Suze Rotolo walking down Jones Street in Manhattan's West Village.
- Feeling Oppressed by Their Existence: "Blown' in the Wind"How many years can some people exist before they are allowed to be free?
- Final Speech: "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" was written in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis.Every line in it is actually the start of a whole new song. But when I wrote it, I thought I wouldn't have enough time alive to write all those songs so I put all I could into this one.
- I Just Want to Be Free: "Blowin' in the Wind"Yes, how many years can some people exist before they're allowed to be free?
- Just Ignore It:
Yes, how many times can a man turn his headPretending he just doesn't see?(...) Yes, how many ears must one man haveBefore he can hear people cry?Yes, how many death will it take till he knowsThat too many people have died?
- "Blowin' in the Wind" asks several rhetorical questions, to which "the answer is blowin' in the wind".
I heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin'
- "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall"
- Non-Appearing Title: The album title.
- Nostalgia Filter: "Bob Dylan's Dream", where he dreams from his friends of the past.How many a year has passed and goneMany a gamble has been lost and wonAnd many a road taken by many a first friendAnd each one I've never seen again.I wish, I wish, I wish in vainThat we could sit simply in that room againTen thousand dollars at the drop of a hatI'd give it all gladly if our lives could be like that.
- One-Woman Song: "Girl from the North Country", "Corrina, Corrina".
- Please Don't Leave Me: "Honey, Just Allow Me One More Chance", where Dylan wants his lover to give him one more chance.
- Production Foreshadowing: Electric guitar and drums on "Corrina, Corrina", several years before he officially "went electric."
- Protest Song: "Blowin' In The Wind", "Oxford Town", "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" and "Masters Of War".
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Masters Of War" is one long litany, aimed at warmongers.You fasten all the triggersFor the others to fireThen you set back and watchWhen the death count gets higherYou hide in your mansionAs young people's bloodFlows out of their bodiesAnd is buried in the mud.
- Self-Titled Album: Sort of: The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
Remember me to one who lives thereFor she once was a true love of mine
- "Girl from the North Country" borrows two lines from the traditional song "Scarborough Fair" (best known to modern audiences from Simon & Garfunkel's arrangement a few years later, though they were hardly the first ones to perform it)
Well, the The Lone Ranger and TontoThey are ridin' down the lineFixin' everybody's troubles, everybody except mineSomebody must have told 'em that I was doin' fine
- "Bob Dylan's Blues"
Oh, I set me down on a television floor,I flipped the channel to number four.Out of the shower comes a football manWith a bottle of oil in his hand.Greasy kid stuff.What I want to know, Mr Football Man, isWhat do you do about Willy Mays,Martin Luther King,Olatunji?
- "I Shall Be Free" name-drops John F. Kennedy (whom Dylan calls up), Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren, baseball player Willy Mays, Martin Luther King and Nigerian musician Babatunde Olatunji, best known for his best-selling album Drums of Passion from 1960. Near the end Dylan also "makes love to Elizabeth Taylor" and "catches hell from Richard Burton".
I'm a writer, a poet, a genius, I know it
- On the wall of the bathroom graffiti cover of The Rolling Stones' Beggars Banquet from 1968 we can read the text: "Bob Dylan's Dream", a reference to the song of the same name from this album.
- "I Shall Be Free, No. 10" is referenced during The Beastie Boys' song "Car Thief" from Paul's Boutique from 1989
- Vanilla Sky: One scene in this film duplicates the album cover. Which turns out to be the clue to David's character that he has dreamt his memories about Sofia, because his memory of them two walking on Times Square is just a memory of the image on "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan", which he confused with reality.
- Singer Name Drop: "Bob Dylan's Dream", "Bob Dylan's Blues" and the following line from "I Shall Be Free"It's President Kennedy callin' me upHe said; "My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?
- Something Blues: "Bob Dylan's Blues".
- Something Else Also Rises: "I Shall Be Free"
- Spoken Word: The intro to "Bob Dylan's Blues".
- A Storm Is Coming: "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall".I'm a-goin' back out 'fore the rain starts a-fallin'
- This Is Unforgivable!: "Masters of War".You might say Im unlearnedBut theres one thing I knowThough Im younger than youEven Jesus would neverForgive what you do
- Three Chords and the Truth: All the songs are acoustic, but the lyrics are powerful.
- Time Marches On: During "I Shall Be Free" Dylan phones up president John F. Kennedy.
- To Absent Friends: "Bob Dylan's Dream", where Dylan dreams of friends he lost contact with.
- Train Song: "Bob Dylan's Dream"While riding on a train goin' westI fell asleep for take me a rest
- Uncommon Time: "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" jumps around a lot, but spends more time in 7/4 (or 21/8) than anything else. (There are also bars of 5/4 and 9/4 in the transitions to and from some of the choruses, plus a few measures of 4/4 in each chorus proper.) Many transcriptions just place the whole thing in ridiculously fast 3/4 (with patterns of mostly seven measures) just to avoid having to notate all the changes, but the song doesn't really play like 3/4 - the chord changes are too important to the impact of the song and don't match up with such a fast tempo.
- Walking the Earth: "Don't Think Twice, It's Alright", "Down The Highway" and "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall".
- War Is Hell:
You that never done nothin'But build to destroyYou play with my worldLike it's your little toyYou put a gun in my handAnd you hide from my eyesAnd you turn and run fartherWhen the fast bullets fly.
- "Masters of War".
How many times must a cannonball fly before there forever banned?
- "Blowin' in the Wind"
- Win Your Freedom: "I Shall Be Free".
- World War III:
Some time ago a crazy dream came to meI dreamt I was walkin' into World War ThreeI went to the doctor the very next dayTo see what kinda words he could sayHe said it was a bad dreamI wouldn't worry 'bout it none, thoughThey're dreams and they're only in your head.I said, "Hold it, Doc, a World War passed through my brain".He said, "Nurse, get your pad, this boy's insane".
- "Talkin' World War III Blues".
A world war can be won, you want me to believe
- "Masters of War"