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…Still Blowin’ in the Wind

Bob Dylan has been famous for so long that it’s easy to forget how he first became famous. It wasn’t as a recording artist or performer, but as a songwriter.

His self-titled debut album appeared 50 years ago this spring and failed to generate much attention, except among some industry insiders, some of whom dubbed it “Hammond’s folly,” a jab at John Hammond, the legendary producer/label exec/talent scout who brought the barely-out-of-his-teens Dylan to Columbia Records.

Preparing material for his second album, Dylan penned an anti-war tune that came to the attention of the popular folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Their cover of “Blowin’ in the Wind” was an instant sensation before becoming one of the cultural touchstones of its time. Since then, Dylan has become one of the most-covered songwriters in history.

The ranks of artists who’ve put their spin on Dylan’s music grows mightily with the appearance of Chimes of Freedom, an ambitious multi-disc package released to honor the half-century anniversary of another institution—the human rights organization Amnesty International.

At Starbucks, you’ll find a specially curated two-disc version of the collection (a four-disc version is available elsewhere) that features inspired, often daring takes on songs for the ages, ranging from “Like a Rolling Stone” to “I Shall be Released” and “All Along the Watchtower,” and performed by everyone from Pete Townshend to Diana Krall to Adele.

“Blowin’ in the Wind” is on there, too, performed by Bob Marley’s son, Ziggy.

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