Five greatest political songs from Bob Dylan

Dylan specialized in make art from politics.

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SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES (1965)

It may be the greatest song Bob Dylan ever wrote. It certainly was one of his most shattering. Roaring out at the beginning of Bringing It All Back Home, the elliptically-titled track delivers four rapid-fire verses that sum up the zeitgeist of the mid-60s as well as anyone ever had. This was a more mature voice – still full of youthful righteousness – but now taking everything a little more seriously.

Do you know one often-overlooked way you can tell? The title of the album was Bringing It All Back Home and not Bringin’ It All Back Home. Prior to this, Dylan would have relied on the folkie vernacular and dropped the final ‘G” from “Bringing.” He would rarely do that from this point forward.

“Subterranean Homesick Blues” is jam-packed with cultural references and visions of Big Brother pulling the strings. He ends the second verse with one of his most famous lines “Keep a clean nose, watch for plainclothes – You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.” Bill Ayers would borrow that name for his militant protest group, The Weathermen, a few years later. What more bona fides could a political song have?