Bob Dylan - Mr. Tambourine Man - 1965

Introduction to "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan

"Mr. Tambourine Man" is a song written and performed by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Released in 1965, it marked a significant moment in Dylan's career, showcasing his transition from folk to folk rock. The song's poetic lyrics and Dylan's unique vocal style captivated audiences, making it one of his most famous and influential works. You can learn more about the song's history, lyrical themes, and impact on popular culture in this module.

Historical Context

  1. 1960s Music Scene: Understand the musical landscape of the 1960s, with a focus on the folk and rock genres.
  2. Bob Dylan's Career: Explore the early years of Bob Dylan's career and his influence on music and culture.
  3. The Folk Rock Movement: Learn about the emergence of folk rock and how "Mr. Tambourine Man" played a pivotal role in this genre's development.

Analysis of Lyrics and Composition

  1. Lyrical Themes: Dive into the poetic and abstract lyrics of "Mr. Tambourine Man" and explore their possible interpretations.
  2. Musical Structure: Examine the composition of the song, including its melody, harmony, and rhythm.

Impact and Legacy

  1. Cultural Influence: Discover how "Mr. Tambourine Man" influenced music, culture, and other artists.
  2. Cover Versions: Explore notable cover versions of the song, particularly The Byrds' rendition, which also achieved significant fame.

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "Mr. Tambourine Man" by Bob Dylan released? (1965) (!1970) (!1962) (!1968)

Which genre shift does "Mr. Tambourine Man" symbolize in Bob Dylan's career? (Folk to folk rock) (!Country to rockabilly) (!Blues to rock) (!Pop to psychedelic rock)

What is a distinctive feature of "Mr. Tambourine Man's" lyrics? (Poetic and abstract) (!Political and direct) (!Narrative and simple) (!Humorous and light-hearted)

How did "Mr. Tambourine Man" influence the music industry? (It helped popularize the folk rock genre) (!It introduced electronic instruments in folk music) (!It started the psychedelic rock movement) (!It led to the revival of traditional folk music)

Which band released a famous cover version of "Mr. Tambourine Man"? (The Byrds) (!The Beatles) (!The Rolling Stones) (!Simon & Garfunkel)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Where is Bob Dylan originally from? (Minnesota, USA) (!New York, USA) (!California, USA) (!Texas, USA)

What is Bob Dylan's real name? (Robert Allen Zimmerman) (!David Robert Jones) (!James Marshall Hendrix) (!Stevie Ray Vaughan)

In which decade did Bob Dylan start his musical career? (1960s) (!1950s) (!1970s) (!1980s)

What is one of Bob Dylan's other famous songs from the 1960s? ("Like a Rolling Stone") (!"Hotel California") (!"Stairway to Heaven") (!"Bohemian Rhapsody")

Which prestigious award did Bob Dylan receive in 2016? (Nobel Prize in Literature) (!Pulitzer Prize) (!Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award) (!Oscar for Best Original Song)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

What metaphorical figure does Dylan address in the song? (Mr. Tambourine Man) (!Lady Liberty) (!The Jester) (!The Sandman)

Which line follows "Hey, Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me"? (In the jingle jangle morning I'll come followin' you) (!On the sunny side of the street) (!Under the blue sky) (!In the midnight hour)

What theme is prevalent in the song's lyrics? (Escape and freedom) (!Love and heartache) (!Social injustice) (!Historical events)

The lyrics of "Mr. Tambourine Man" are often interpreted as a reference to: (Dreams and imagination) (!Political activism) (!A specific historical event) (!A romantic relationship)

Which line in the song suggests a sense of longing and adventure? ("Take me on a trip upon your magic swirling ship") (!"My weariness amazes me, I'm branded on my feet") (!"Though you might hear laughin', spinnin', swingin' madly across the sun") (!"The ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming")


Create a memory game with matching pairs for this topic.

Folk Rock The genre "Mr. Tambourine Man" helped popularize
The Byrds Band that made a famous cover of the song
1965 Year "Mr. Tambourine Man" was released
Dreams and Imagination Central themes in the song's lyrics
Nobel Prize in Literature Award received by Bob Dylan in 2016

Open Tasks


  1. Draw a Poster: Create a poster representing the themes of "Mr. Tambourine Man".
  2. Song Analysis: Write a short paragraph on what "Mr. Tambourine Man" means to you.


  1. Compare and Contrast: Compare Bob Dylan's version of "Mr. Tambourine Man" with The Byrds' version.
  2. Historical Research: Investigate the influence of the 1960s folk rock movement on modern music.


  1. Creative Writing: Write your own song inspired by the lyrical style of "Mr. Tambourine Man".
  2. Musical Cover: Record your own cover of "Mr. Tambourine Man", focusing on giving it a new musical twist.

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Oral Exam

  1. Discuss the significance of Bob Dylan's transition from folk to folk rock and its impact on the music industry.
  2. Analyze how the abstract and poetic lyrics of "Mr. Tambourine Man" reflect the cultural and social ethos of the 1960s.
  3. Explore the reasons behind the enduring popularity of "Mr. Tambourine Man" across different generations.
  4. Evaluate the influence of "Mr. Tambourine Man" on other musicians and genres.
  5. Reflect on the role of music as a tool for expressing social and personal themes, using "Mr. Tambourine Man" as an example.

OERs on the Topic


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