There are winds of changes blowing,
Gathering leaves up in its path
And the people who are the leaves
Will remain in our hearts
With love, till eternity.
King Oliver was born.
So was Duke Ellington.
Jelly Roll made love--
Bessie Smith was created! Heavens above!
Robert Johnson sang the blues.
Chick Webb did those things that only he could do.
Charlie Christian started a new thing.
And, oh my, how Billie Holiday could sing…
Alan Freed rock and rolled.
Joe Turner's voice was very low.
B.B. King wailed.
Charlie Parker cried.
Louis Jordan smiled.
Ray Charles moaned.
Chuck Berry rock and rolled.
Fats Domino made me feel good.
Elvis Presley did things that no one thought he could.
Then came the Beatles, Rolling Stones--
Whole new thing was going on.
Frank Zappa zapped.
Mamas and Papas knew where it was at.
They all listened to Ravi Shankar…
Now that we got Jimi Hendrix
We know where we are. (and Louis Jordan smiled…)
And the winds of change go on blowing, blowing, (Ray Charles cried...)
Gathering more and more leaves in its path,
As time goes past…
Winds of change keep on blowing,
Winds of change..
Bobby Dylan sang about the winds of change
Blowing, it's all blowing in the wind,
Winds of change…
Before I go any further, let me apologize here for the wind machine sound, awash in reverb, used in Winds of Change. Such technological effects were precisely the sort of tricks that when used heavy-handedly, as in this song, would turn listeners against psychedelic music. Though the electic violin is a new addition to psychedelia that would be later used by such groups as Blind Faith and It’s a Beautiful Day, I must note a decline in the effective use of the sitar in this record. The instrumental melody line of the violin is from a nursery rhyme, which isn't bad in itself, but doesn't bear the sitar’s exotic filigree. Instead of a drone trance, we have a lullaby working at odds against the quick improvisation by the soloists.
Having put that aside, I would like to address the fact that Eric Burdon here is beginning to self-consciously chronicle the development of music as something that will give confidence in the progress of mankind. The spoken lyric (a tone Eric Burdon explored far more than other vocalists of the period) expresses gratitude and indebtedness to at least two generations prior, a rare attitude when the hippies were convinced they were an entirely new thing. Burdon grants them that: A whole new thing was going on, but insists it has roots in the generation of their parents and grandparents. Winds of Change is sung as if the realization of a combination of Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind and Times They Are A-Changing, the fulfillment of a prophecy. The lyric is an improvisation to rehearse the ancestors and contemporary artists, but Eric Burdon was unfortunately given to hero worship: Now that we got Jimi Hendrix / We know where we are. This seems an unusual remark. Is he the Messiah that Bob Dylan foretold? Was Hendrix, like Obama more recently, a sign of racial healing? I feel Jimi Hendrix was far too cosmic in his metaphors and music to be able to give us a secure feeling of our location on Earth.