Bob Dylan Gives Ringing Endorsement to Obama

Music Audio: Bob Dylan/The Times They are a-Changin’

In an exclusive interview with The Times (U.K.) yesterday, Bob Dylan gave a ringing endorsement to Barack Obama, the first-ever African-American presidential candidate, claiming that he is “redefining the nature of politics from the ground up.” Dylan’s 1964 song The Times They are a-Changin became the anthem for his generation, symbolizing the era-defining social struggle against the establishment. Now Bob Dylan, who could justifiably claim to be the architect of Barack Obama’s “change” catchphrase, has backed the Illinois senator to do for modern America what the generation before did in the 1960s. Dylan, 67, made his comments while being interviewed in Denmark, where he had stopped over in a hotel during a tour of Scandinavia.

Asked about his views on American politics, he said: “Well, you know right now America is in a state of upheaval. Poverty is demoralising. You can’t expect people to have the virtue of purity when they are poor. But we’ve got this guy now who is redefining the nature of politics from the ground up…Barack Obama. He’s redefining what a politician is, so we’ll have to see how things play out. Am I hopeful? Yes, I’m hopeful that things might change. Some things are going to have to.” He added: “You should always take the best from the past, leave the worst back there and go forward into the future.”

Dylan’s endorsement contains a great deal of symbolic significance. The legendary singer-songwriter, who has an art exhibition opening in London next week, became a focal point for young people worldwide when he released the album The Times They Are a-Changin’, including the famous song of that name, back in 1964. The track, which he wrote as the social liberation of the ’60s astonished politicians and parents, included lines urging people to accept and embrace what was happening around them.

Memorable lines included: “Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call. Don’t stand in the doorway, don’t block up the hall,” and: “Come mothers and fathers throughout the land, and don’t criticise what you can’t understand. Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command. Your old road is rapidly agin’.

The complete Times interview is here.

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