John Lennon Didn’t Think Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ Was ‘That Political’

TL;DR:

  • John Lennon revealed his opinion of the songs Bob Dylan released during the “Blowin’ in the Wind” era.
  • John discussed his interpretation of “Blowin’ in the Wind.”
  • Audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom had different reactions to the song.
The Beatles' John Lennon with a guitar
The Beatles’ John Lennon | Max Scheler – K & K/Redferns

Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” is one of several classic rock songs associated with the civil rights movement. John Lennon opened up about his evolving feelings on Dylan’s songs during a 1980 interview. The former Beatle discussed the fan reaction to “Blowin’ in the Wind.” 

When John Lennon stopped caring about Bob Dylan’s songs

A 1980 interview with John and Yoko Ono is transcribed in the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. During the interview, John discussed Dylan. “Yoko was never under any Dylan mystique,” John said. “She never thought much of him either way.”

Subsequently, John discussed his feelings about Dylan. “For a period, I was very impressed with him,” the “Imagine” singer revealed. “But I stopped listening to Dylan with both ears after [Highway 61 Revisited] and Blonde on Blonde, and even then it was because George [Harrison] would sit down and make me listen.”

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How John Lennon interpreted Bob Dylan’s ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘Soldier Song’

John also spoke about Dylan’s relationship to politics. “[He] wasn’t ever that political, really,” the former Beatle opined. “He wrote ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ and ‘Soldier Song,’ but they’re just poetic politics, folk music of the day. He’s commenting on what’s going on, like a journalist. He never stood in the corner and shouted anything.”

John said fans interpreted Dylan’s songs as political. “It’s what people read into what he did,” he said. “It’s only the constant necessity to identify and label people for the media and public. Maybe millions of people have been born again and then forgotten all about it next Friday. It just so happens that Dylan did it in public.”

RELATED: The Beatles: John Lennon Said Paul McCartney and George Harrison Overshadowed Him on This Song

The way listeners in the United States and the United Kingdom reacted to ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’

“Blowin’ in the Wind” did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The song appeared on the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan reached No. 22 on the Billboard 200, staying on the chart for 32 weeks.

“Blowin’ in the Wind” became a minor hit in the United Kingdom. The Official Charts Company reports the song hit No. 93 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for three weeks. For two weeks, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan reached No. 1 in the U.K. The album spent 49 weeks on the chart altogether.

“Blowin’ in the Wind” is one of Dylan’s most famous songs — regardless of how John interpreted it.

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