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Channeling the Whistleblower In Bob Dylan: His Top Ten Lyrics On Standing Up for Truth

Posted  May 28, 2021

Hard to believe this music and literary icon of the 1960’s, and every generation since, turned 80 this week (May 24).  With hundreds of songs, thousands of concerts, tens of millions of album sales, and an artistic career spanning more than half a century and counting, Bob Dylan’s influence and contributions to the greater good have been boundless.  His litany of accolades offers just a taste of his grand accomplishment — Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Grammy Awards, Academy Award, Golden Globe Award, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, just to name a few of the most notable.

In trying to find our own small way to honor this living legend who has inspired so many, we dug deep into his infinite songbook to pull out the lyrics we believe best encapsulates the strength, courage, determination, and self-sacrifice it takes to speak truth to power; to cut against the grain; to give a shout when silence will not do; to beat your own drum when the chorus is way off-key.  In other words, we wanted to channel in Bob Dylan’s words and wisdom, what it means to be a whistleblower.

So here is our Bob Dylan Top-10 listing on standing up for truth.  If you think we missed any, please let us know.

  • No. 10Honest With Me, Love And Theft (2001)
    “I’m not sorry for nothing I’ve done,
    I’m glad I fought, I only wish we’d won.”
  • No. 9The Man In Me, New Morning (1970)
    “The man in me will hide sometimes to keep from bein’ seen.
    But that’s just because he doesn’t want to turn into some machine.”
  • No. 8Talking World War III Blues, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
    “Half of the people can be part right all of the time.
    Some of the people can be all right part of the time.
    But all of the people can’t be all right all of the time.”
  • No. 7Rainy Day Women #12 & 35, Blonde On Blonde (1966)
    “Well, they’ll stone you when you’re trying to be so good.
    They’ll stone you just like they said they would. . . .
    But I would not feel so all alone.
    Everybody must get stoned.
  • No. 6Maggie’s Farm, Bringing It All Back Home (1965)
    “Well, I try my best to be just like I am,
    But everybody wants you to be just like them.”
  • No. 5The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest, John Wesley Harding (1967)
    “So when you see your neighbor carrying somethin’,
    Help him with his load.
    And don’t go mistaking Paradise,
    For that home across the road.”
  • No. 4Man In The Long Black Coat, Oh Mercy (1989)
    “[E]very man’s conscience is vile and depraved.
    You cannot depend on it to be your guide.
    When it’s you who must keep it satisfied.”
  • No. 3Masters Of War, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963)
    “You that hide behind walls.
    You that hide behind desks.
    I just want you to know.
    I can see through your masks.”
  • No. 2Gonna Change My Way of Thinking, Slow Train Coming (1979)
    “Gonna change my way of thinking.
    Make myself a different set of rules.
    Going to put my good foot forward.
    Stop being influenced by fools.”
  • No. 1Trust Yourself, Empire Burlesque (1985)
    “Trust yourself.
    Trust yourself to do the things that only you know best.
    Trust yourself.
    Trust yourself to do what’s right and not be second-guessed.”

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