The True Narrative Behind ‘A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall’
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Legendary singer Bob Dylan penned a seemingly endless number of songs about important social and political issues throughout his career. Many people have heard “The Times They Are A-Changin,” and “Blowin’ in the Wind” at some point, but those who are true Dylan aficionados are just as fond of “A Hard Rain Is A-Gonna Fall” as they are of the other songs.
Dylan wrote and recorded “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” in 1962 for his second album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. Like traditional ballads such as “Lord Randall,” its lyrical structure follows a question-and-answer format. Suffering, pollution, and war are all depicted in vivid symbolism inspired by Arthur Rimbaud in the song.
This is a seven-minute anthem against nuclear war. Dylan included it as one of four primary protest songs on The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan album. Dylan stated that the rain was not fallout rain, but rather “some sort of end that must occur.”
Some have claimed that the song is about the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, but Bob Dylan or anyone else has never confirmed this. Dylan did, however, credit “Lord Randall,” a classic ballad that he admired at the time, with providing most of the song’s inspiration. In “Lord Randall,” a mother is depicted pleading with her son to disclose his location during his absence from the household.
It’s not uncommon for songs to undergo a creative transformation in their early stages. While working on the song, the singer has made numerous revisions to various lines and phrases. Dedicated songwriters care about even the tiniest of differences; Bob Dylan is one of the most ardent defenders of his craft. As a result, many consider him to be one of the most legendary songwriters in history.
Listen to the song below.