"The Times They Are A-Changin'" is a song written by Bob Dylan and released on his 1964 album of the same name. In 2004, this song was #59 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time."
Dylan's friend, Tony Glover, recalls visiting Dylan's apartment in September 1963, where he saw a number of song manuscripts and poems lying on a table. "The Times They Are-a Changin'" had yet to be recorded, but Glover saw its early manuscript. After reading the words "come senators, congressmen, please heed the call," Glover reportedly asked Dylan: "What is this shit, man?", to which Dylan responded, "Well, you know, it seems to be what the people like to hear."
A protest song, it is often viewed as a reflection of the generation gap and of the political divide marking American culture in the 1960s. Dylan, however, disputed this interpretation in 1964, saying "Those were the only words I could find to separate aliveness from deadness. It had nothing to do with age." A year later, Dylan would say: "I can't really say that adults don't understand young people any more than you can say big fishes don't understand little fishes. I didn't mean ['The Times They Are a-Changin'] as a statement... It's a feeling."
Here's a young Dylan, with what appears to be his freight train ridin', disgruntled, Kerouacian/Steinbeckian hobo pals, on a CBC TV show called Quest, Feb 1, 1964:
The Byrds, who recorded a version on their Turn! Turn! Turn! (1965) album, performed it on an October 1965 episode of Hullabaloo (introduced by Michael Landon):