Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch” series where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore psychedelic tunes from the 60’s to today. Weekdays At Noon EST. Enjoy the trip!
Bob Dylan, Times They Are A Changin. Album: The Times They Are A – Changin’ (1964)
In the 1960s, several now-influential artists appealed to the disaffected counterculture’s emphasis on peace and love, especially with the sliding approval rates of the Vietnam War. As public approval of the Vietnam War dwindled in the latter half of the 1960s, popular music artists began to record songs that reflected this disapproval and ultimately became a new method of protest.
To begin, the highly-influential folk musician Bob Dylan recorded the song “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” Written in 1963, just before the public began to disapprove of America’s involvement in Vietnam, the song features a simple melody played by Dylan’s acoustic guitar and harmonica. The lines “There’s a battle outside/and it’s ragin’/it’ll soon shake your windows/rattle your walls” are an obvious reference to the Vietnam War.
Dylan goes further and sings the lines, “Come mothers and fathers/throughout the land/and don’t criticize/what you can’t understand/your sons and daughters are beyond your command.” While at first glance Dylan could be pleading with the public to stop trying to understand the war, Dylan is in fact trying to tell us something else. In poetic terms, he shows the mass confusion, frustration, and anger at how many parents’ sons and daughters were sent off to war.
Moreover, a 1966 anti-war music poster advertised the popular rock groups Jefferson Airplane and Mystery Trend. The event, a benefit dance held at the University of California at Berkeley on March 25, 1966, features a large war scene drawing at the center. The war scene, colored in red, white and black, features combatants wearing helmets and holding machine guns, while avoiding explosions triggered by bombers flying overhead. At the top of the scene, the words “Vietnam” can be seen in the same font that the military uses. Below “Vietnam,” the word “Peace” can be seen scrawled in white lettering.