Track 6. A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall
When you hear this song you can understand why the hardliners in the folk community wanted so desperately to keep Bob Dylan. As Hard Rain poured out it seemed as if he were some answer to a promise, an exponential Woody Guthrie. If you came from a place where you believed that folk songs could change the world outside the individual, the political landscape, and social hierarchy, then this song and this Bob Dylan would certainly have been exhibit “A” proof.
That infamous tag he has spent a lifetime dodging, “The Voice of a Generation” is understandable when you listen to A Hard Rain’s A Gonna Fall. In an interview with 60 minutes Bob seemed at a loss himself as to where songs like Hard Rain came from. He was asked if he could write songs like it anymore. “No” was his answer, that comes once and you’re lucky if you receive it at all.
This is the Wiki entry:
Dylan was only 21 years old when he wrote one of his most complex songs, "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall", often referred to as "Hard Rain". Dylan is said to have premiered "Hard Rain" at the Gaslight Cafe, where Village performer Peter Blankfield was in attendance. "He put out these pieces of loose-leaf paper ripped out of a spiral notebook. And he starts singing ['Hard Rain']...He finished singing it, and no one could say anything. The length of it, the episodic sense of it. Every line kept building and bursting".
Dylan performed "Hard Rain" days later at Carnegie Hall on September 22, 1962, as part of a concert organized by Pete Seeger. Seeger was so impressed by "Hard Rain", he covered it himself in his own set.
Many critics interpreted the lyric 'hard rain' as a reference to nuclear fallout, but Dylan resisted the specificity of this interpretation. In a radio interview with Studs Terkel in 1963, Dylan said,
"No, it's not atomic rain, it's just a hard rain. It isn't the fallout rain. I mean some sort of end that's just gotta happen... In the last verse, when I say, 'the pellets of poison are flooding the waters', that means all the lies that people get told on their radios and in their newspapers."
The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan is off the board (slow tear falls for Girl From the North Country, Bob Dylan’s Dream, Masters of War, Talkin’ World War III Blues, Blowing in the Wind).