opinion

'Blowin' in the Wind' turns 55. So I rewrote it.

Ronnie Polaneczky, STAFF COLUMNIST

Updated: Friday, July 7, 2017, 4:55 PM

Bob Dylan during a Spectrum concert in Philadelphia in 1978.

Fifty-five years ago Sunday, July 9, Bob Dylan recorded “Blowin’ in the Wind,” which appeared on his 1963 album, The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan. The iconic protest song (although Dylan never really called it that) became a monster hit for folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary and went on to be recorded or performed by everyone from Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Bruce Springsteen, and Keith Richards to Elvis, Cher, and every living-room troubadour who ever noodled around the frets of an acoustic guitar.

I’d never muck with the song’s tune, which is perfection. But that lyric structure? Heck, yeah! It asks an ambiguous series of questions that can be adapted for any occasion, geographic locale, or point in time. So on a sticky July afternoon, I thought I’d give the song a do-over to reflect life in and around this big city that, God help us, we call home.

So, with apologies to America’s Favorite Bard, and in tribute to the 55 candles blowin’ on his sweet anthem’s cake, I present:

“Blowin’ in Hot Air”

How many times must the Iggles drop the ball

Before they’re allowed to score a win?

Yes’n and how many years will Council tax our drinks

‘Til they add a special tariff to red Zin?

Yes’n how many cars must the PPA tow

Before some church declares the act a sin?

The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in hot air.

The answer’s in our hot and humid air.

How many times can a pol take a bribe

Before he’s convicted and jailed?

How many kids can a crooked judge sell

Before someone says, “Sir, you’ve failed”?

Yes, and how many times must a rich guy be charged

Before he can’t afford to pay his bail?

The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in hot air.

The answer’s in our hot and humid air.

How many guns must the PPD buy back

Before the bullets stop in our ‘hoods?

Yes’n how many pubs must pop up before we’ll slurp

Beer on tap in all the city’s woods?

Yes’n how many fans must do the “wave” at the ‘Bank

Before the Phils deliver the goods?

The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in hot air.

The answer’s in our hot and humid air.

How many pornos can they share with their pals

Before our public servants lose their jobs?

Yes’n how long must teachers demand a promised raise

Before they all yell, “We’re being robbed!”

Yes’n how many times must Jay-Z perform here

Before Beyonce stops being mobbed?

The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in hot air.

The answer’s in our hot and humid air.

How many sequins must a Fralinger sew

Before he does the Mummers’ New Year’s strut?

And what of Tartaglione, Chaka, and Seth —

Will they ever dig out of prison’s rut?

Yes’n how many steps must a “Rocky” fan climb

Before he finally loses his gut?

The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in hot air.

The answer’s in our hot and humid air.

How many verses will it take ’til I stop

Working on this silly Philly tune?

I guess the answer’s “six” because it’s too hot

To keep writing through this muggy afternoon.

If Dylan predicts a hard rain’s a’gonna fall

Will city folk rush home from Jersey’s dunes?

The answer, my friends, is blowin’ in hot air

It’s in Philly’s hot and stinkin’ humid air.

Ronnie Polaneczky, STAFF COLUMNIST

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