Eco-communities as a social vision

Eco-communities as a social vision
Egalitarian and ecological communities, like the pictured East Wind (, are very close to our vision of an ecological society

05 July, 2007

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, 1963 - The first song about ecological crisis?

We consider as the first rock song with ecological hints (or protoecological), Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall” (1963). To be more specific, it was a folk-rock protest-song.

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall
(The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, 1963)

Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I've stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains,
I've walked and I've crawled on six crooked highways,
I've stepped in the middle of seven sad forests,
I've been out in front of a dozen dead oceans,
I've been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, and it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, what did you see, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, what did you see, my darling young one?
I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it
I saw a highway of diamonds with nobody on it,
I saw a black branch with blood that kept drippin',
I saw a room full of men with their hammers a-bleedin',
I saw a white ladder all covered with water,
I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken,
I saw guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

And what did you hear, my blue-eyed son?
And what did you hear, my darling young one?
I heard the sound of a thunder, it roared out a warnin',
Heard the roar of a wave that could drown the whole world,
Heard one hundred drummers whose hands were a-blazin',
Heard ten thousand whisperin' and nobody listenin',
Heard one person starve,
I heard many people laughin',
Heard the song of a poet who died in the gutter,
Heard the sound of a clown who cried in the alley,
And it's a hard, and it's a hard, it's a hard, it's a hard,
And it's a hard rain's a-gonna fall.

Oh, who did you meet, my blue-eyed son?
Who did you meet, my darling young one?
I met a young child beside a dead pony,
I met a white man who walked a black dog,
I met a young woman whose body was burning,
I met a young girl, she gave me a rainbow,
I met one man who was wounded in love,
I met another man who was wounded with hatred,
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.

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.

you can hear this song in youtube:

Send us your comments. Do you consider this song as ecological? Does it move your ecological feelings?


aigaiopelagitis said...

Many have interpreted the lyrics as a comment for the terror of an immanent nuclear disaster. The song premiered shortly before the Cuban Missile Crisis, and drew many comparisons to it due to the bleakness of the lyrics that reflected the worried mood of the time. However, the meaning behind the words has stayed relevant throughout the years as they seem to have a broader sweep in their descriptions of injustice, suffering and warfare. Some have suggested that the refrain of the song refers to nuclear fallout, however Dylan himself refutes that this was a specific reference:
"It's not atomic rain, it's not fallout rain... I [just] mean some sort of end that's just got to happen"
According to me, the surrealistic lyrics of Bob Dylan may take on many and individual meanings. One of these could be deservedly the ecological meaning of protesting against not only nuclear weapons, but also nuclear energy plants and the whole industrial-military complex that supports such kind of “development”. Easily there could be an extention of meaning towards the protection of the planet and humanity from nuclear disaster, through grassroots ecological activism and green political action.

candiru - stratis aigaiopelagitis said...

I add a link after the lyrics for hearing dylan's song

aigaiopelagitis said...

One of the most interesting Dylan's (as well as Baez's) early influences, apart from Woodie Guthrie, was Pete Seeger, a folk singer, political activist, and author. He was initially member of the Communist Party, then anti-Stalinist and then an active environmentlist.
He is involved in the environmental organization Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, which he founded in 1966. This organization has worked since then to highlight pollution in the Hudson River and worked to clean it. As part of that effort, the sloop Clearwater was launched in 1969 and regularly sails the river with volunteer and professional crew members, primarily conducting environmental education programs for school groups. The Great Hudson River Revival (aka Clearwater Festival) is an annual two-day music festival held on the banks of the Hudson at Croton Point Park. This festival grew out of early fundraising concerts arranged by Seeger and friends to raise money to pay for Clearwater's construction.

candiru - stratis aigaiopelagitis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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