"Blowin' in the Wind" as written by and Xiao Tian/lo Li....
How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, 'n how many times must the cannon balls fly
Before they're forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, 'n ow many years can a mountain exist
Before it's washed to the sea?
Yes, 'n how many years can some people exist
Before they're allowed to be free?
Yes, 'n how many times can a man turn his head,
And pretend that he just doesn't see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
The answer is blowin' in the wind.

Yes, 'n how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?
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 submitted by Jack, edited by Yazardshir, Mellow_Harsher, goodnews

"Blowing in the Wind" as written by Xiao Tian/lo Li

Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

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Blowin' in the Wind song meanings
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  • +9
    General CommentThis song, to me, is about how knowledge and enlightenment is right in front of us but we cannot see it (just like the wind.)
    "how many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before they're forever banned?" and "how many deaths will it take till he knows
    That too many people have died?" are very clear anti-war messages and Dylans saying that people still don't realize that war is pointless.
    Additionally, the line about the mountain washing to the see shows that nothing lasts forever, the line about people not being free shows that there is too much oppression in the world. He also talks about people turning their heads and pretending they do not see the trouble in the world. Dylan is saying that the answer to all these questions is right in front of us, yet we do not see it.


    MrMojoRisin5552on May 03, 2002   Link
  • +5
    General CommentYeah, you guys are right...but I think it's more that people CHOOSE not to see the reality. It's like, they think we can't change it, so they try not to notice. For example, about the 'too many people have died'...everyone SEES that people are dying horrible deaths, but for some reason don't understand the severity.
    It's kind of Bob's way of sayin' that yes, love is all that can change everything. And I agree with him :).
    BlackBasilSupplyon May 14, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General CommentBeautiful song.
    Everytime I hear it, it's like the first time. I just listen, it's unbelieveble brillant.
    Ciaránon August 04, 2002   Link
  • +3
    General Commentwell here we go!!!

    How many roads must a man walk down
    Before you call him a man?

    Afro-American males were not called man...they were called boy...so how many roads must a man walk down before they start to take him serious

    How many seas must a white dove sail
    Before she sleeps in the sand?

    Noah set out a white dove to find out when the earth was dry. Where should you go to find rest when there is only water?

    Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly
    Before they're forever banned?

    how many wars must be fought to see that violence is not the answer.

    The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind,
    The answer is blowin' in the wind.

    Now this is an interesting part. Bob dylan took the words from a childrens song; How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? the answer my friend is blowing in the wind the answer is blowing in the wind... Now what is the origin of the answer is blowing in the wind? It`s a saying in a lot of country`s (also in the netherlands) It means that you can give someone an answer but it would be `blowing in the wind` you don`t give the answer because someone won`t listen to you anyway.

    Yes, 'n' how many years can a mountain exist
    Before it's washed to the sea?

    how long can a system as huge as a mountain stand before it is washed away?

    Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist
    Before they're allowed to be free?

    How long must there be slavery and denial of civil rights? were the afro-americans not long enough in america to have earned it to be free?

    Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head,
    And pretend that he just doesn't see?

    well how many times can you turn your head? This sentence is about everyone who was against racisme but did not do anything about it.


    I am still unsure about the final verse. There is a lot of imagery which I can`t explain. So I leave those to another brave soul ;)
    The_Baronon November 10, 2008   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's about the despair and uncertainty that comes in EVERY generation. YES, IT WAS INFLUENCED IN A MINOR WAY BY THE VIETNAM WAR. But seriously. The part about people being free is factual. When you're old enough to walk and talk, read and write, and almost get off on their own, they go into school. After so many years of school, you get a job, a family, etc. Never do you have the ability AND the time to do what you want. When you retire, you're too old and frayed to consider adventure. How many times can we do war, kill neighbors for money, say to a man that they just can't go on, and pretend that nothing's happening? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind. The answer is blowin' in the wind.
    christianPhilosophyon September 03, 2005   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationGreat song, amazing lyrics! I especially like the last verse:

    How many times must a man look up, before he can see the sky?
    Yes, an' how many ears must ONE man have, before he can hear people cry?
    Yes, an' how many deaths will it take until he knows that too many people have died?

    Stop looking for God to solve or explain the follies of mankind. By noticing the sky instead of Heaven, that is the first step towards excepting responsibility and working towards a solution.
    The ONE man was, and always will be, the President. In conflict, that position is always the target for the people's frustrations. Will Johnson or Nixon ever hear us?
    How many American soliders and Vietnamese have to die before the President will save face and end the war, any war.

    I'm sure that is not what Dylan was thinking but I was drawing those conclusions the other day.
    BilliamCon August 02, 2011   Link
  • +2
    General CommentIt's not rocket science. This classic is simply about indifference, expressed in a way only Dylan could.
    cscrantonon August 14, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYeah, you guys are right...but I think it's more that people CHOOSE not to see the reality. It's like, they think we can't change it, so they try not to notice. For example, about the 'too many people have died'...everyone SEES that people are dying horrible deaths, but for some reason don't understand the severity.
    It's kind of Bob's way of sayin' that yes, love is all that can change everything. And I agree with him :).
    BlackBasilSupplyon May 14, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthis is awsome.amazing.incredible.why dont people listen?
    apryl008on June 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthat's the beauty of the song. we know its there but we just refuse to act on it.

    i kinda just had an epiphany, back in the early 1900's woodrow wilson tried to prevent future wars w/ the treaty of versailles. of course stalin and mussolini were both against him but he called world war one, "the war to end all wars" he saw this answer blowin' in the wind and tried to bring it to light but failed to do so. this shows some people can see this wind but the world in general is too involved in its own betterment to try and prevent future events which keep this world from being peaceful.
    also another thing it reminds me of is books like '1984' in which it shows that a utopian society will never happen.
    retsynon July 06, 2002   Link

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