A Personal tribute to Bob Dylan

(Written and handed out after his concert  at THE AIR CANADA CENTER in TORONTO in 2002)

Hey, Mr. Tambourine man,

Play a song for me,

In the jingle-jangle morning

I’ll come following you…

Hey, Mr. Tambourine man, we meet again! This time you’re here to sing me a song and I’m here both to listen and to pay tribute to a man who taught me some mighty fine lessons as I was growing up.

For those of this new generation who can’t possibly understand how an entertainer could teach lessons, let me remind folks that Bob Dylan wasn’t really an entertainer in the Hollywood tradition. He was first and foremost a philosopher and a poet, secondly a young wayfaring man searching for the truth, and third a one-man-band with harmonica, guitar, and assorted cacophonic paraphernalia.

The first thing Bob Dylan taught me is that “the times they are a-changing”.

Come mothers and fathers

Throughout the land

And don’t criticize

What you don’t understand

Your sons and your daughters

Are beyond your command

Your old road is rapidly agin’

Please get out of the new one

If you can’t lend your hand

For the times they are a-changin’.[1]

The second thing that he taught me is that there’s a lot of things in this world that need to change.

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.[2]


The third is that there must be a better way than war.


You’ve thrown the worst fear

That can ever be hurled

Fear to bring children

Into the world .[3]

The fourth is that there are more storm clouds on the horizon.

 “There must be some way out of here,” said the joker to the thief,

“There’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief.

Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,

None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.” 

“No reason to get excited,” the thief, he kindly spoke,

“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.

But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate,

So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

 All along the watchtower, princes kept the view

While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.

Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,

Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.[4]

The fifth is that Bob Dylan was determined to find the answer.

 Oh, what’ll you do now, my blue-eyed son?

Oh, what’ll you do now, my darling young one?

I’m a-goin’ back out ‘fore the rain starts a-fallin’,

I’ll walk to the depths of the deepest black forest,

Where the people are many and their hands are all empty,

Where the pellets of poison are flooding their waters,

Where the home in the valley meets the damp dirty prison,

Where the executioner’s face is always well hidden,

Where hunger is ugly, where souls are forgotten,

Where black is the color, where none is the number,

And I’ll tell it and think it and speak it and breathe it,

And reflect it from the mountain so all souls can see it,

Then I’ll stand on the ocean until I start sinkin’,

But I’ll know my song well before I start singin’,

And it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard, it’s a hard,

It’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.[5]

The sixth is that he kept looking until he found it.



The strongest wall will crumble and fall to a mighty God.

For all those who have eyes and all those who have ears

It is only He who can reduce me to tears.

Don’t you cry and don’t you die and don’t you burn!

For like a thief in the night, He’ll replace wrong with right

When He returns. 

Truth is an arrow and the gate is narrow that it passes through,

He unleashed His power at an unknown hour that no one knew.

How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?

How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?

Can I cast it aside, all this loyalty and this pride?

Will I ever learn that there’ll be no peace, that the war won’t cease

Until He returns? 

Surrender your crown on this blood-stained ground,

take off your mask, He sees your deeds,

He knows your needs even before you ask.

How long can you falsify and deny what is real?

How long can you hate yourself for the weakness you conceal?

Of every earthly plan that be known to man, He is unconcerned,

He’s got plans of His own to set up His throne

When He returns[6]

The seventh is that he showed everybody WHERE he found it:

 He printed Jeremiah 31:31 on the inner sleeve of his album SAVED! [7]


”Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new

covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah.”

The eighth is that he pointed straight at Jesus Christ.

 The wicked know no peace and you just can’t fake it,

There’s only one road and it leads to Calvary.

It gets discouraging at times, but I know I’ll make it

By the saving grace that’s over me.[8]

       Dylan was talking about the saving grace of God who gave his son Jesus Christ to die on the cross at Calvary. Christ’s death on the cross paid for your sin and mine, and it is Jesus Christ who will return and set this world to rights. Have you accepted Christ as your saviour? Jesus said of himself, “I am the way, the truth , and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”[9] “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die”.[10] His disciples warned, “ Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”[11] His disciple Matthew wrote, “ Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Bob Dylan found it. What about you?


LINK TO PAGE: The Answer to Life’s Most Important Question

[1] The Times They Are A-Changin’ ©1964 Special Rider Music

[2] Blowin’ In the Wind ©Warner Bros.Inc. Renewed 1990 Special Rider Music

[3] Masters of War ©1963 Warner Bros.Inc .Renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

[4] All Along the Watchtower© 1968,1985 Dwarf Music

[5] A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall ©1963 Warner Bros.Inc. Renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

[6] When He Returns ©1979 Special Rider Music

[7] SAVED! is his twentieth studio album , released on June 23, 1980, by Columbia Records.

[8] Saving Grace ©1980 Special Rider Music

[9] John 14:6  NT KJV

[10] John 11:25 NT  KJV

[11] Acts 4:12 NT  KJV