Bob Dylan Sings 'Blowin' in the Wind' With U2 Bono - Rolling Stone
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Flashback: Bob Dylan Sings ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ With Bono

The U2 frontman didn’t know any of the words to Dylan’s protest classic when he sang with him in 1984, so he simply made up new ones on the spot

Bob Dylan‘s 1984 summer tour of Europe wrapped up at Ireland’s Slane Castle in front of 40,000 fans thrilled to have their first chance to see their hero since his legendary 1966 electric tour with the Hawks. Irish rock magazine Hot Press sent Bono to interview Dylan before the show, and the U2 frontman walked away from the discussion with an offer to come onstage for the encores of “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Van Morrison came out near the end for stunning renditions of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” and “Tupelo Honey.” That would be tough act to follow, but U2 was incredibly hot at the moment and Bono got a great reception. He hit a minor snag when he opened his mouth to join Dylan on “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat” and didn’t know the words, but he blustered through by singing along the best he could. He then went backstage while Dylan sang “Tombstone Blues” and “The Times They Are A-Changin'”. Whatever Bono did during those few minutes, he definitely didn’t learn the lyrics to “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

He got the nod to take the mic for the “how many times must a man look up” verse, but he took the song in a different direction. “How many times must a bombsman last,” he sang. “How many times must people cry? How many newspapers must we read before we go to sleep?” The lyrics get a little tough to decipher at this point, but he wraps up by passionately repeating the question: “How many times?” Dylan then stepped in and actually delivered the correct lines. Undeterred, Bono introduced a previously unknown fourth verse to the end of the song. “I want to see your heart shine,” he sang. “I want to see your faces. I want to see your hands wave… My friend, it’s blown’ in the wind. It’s blown’ in the wind!” 

In This Article: Bob Dylan, Bono, U2


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