"The Times They Are a-Changin'" is a song written by Bob Dylan and released as the title track of his 1964 album, The Times They Are a-Changin'. The song was ranked #59 on Rolling Stone's 2004 list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Dylan appears to have written the song in September and October 1963. He recorded it as a Witmark publishing demo that month, a version that was finally released on The Bootleg Series Volumes 1–3 (Rare & Unreleased) 1961–1991. The song was then recorded at the Columbia studios in New York on October 23 and 24, and the latter session yielded the version that became the title song of Dylan's third album.
Dylan recalled writing the song as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the moment. In 1985, he told Cameron Crowe: "This was definitely a song with a purpose. It was influenced of course by the Irish and Scottish ballads ...'Come All Ye Bold Highway Men', 'Come All Ye Tender Hearted Maidens'. I wanted to write a big song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close for a while and allied together at that time."