Credit: Columbia RecordsDebuting a skeletal version on April 16, 1962 at Gerde’s Folk City in NYC, Bob Dylan walked in to Columbia Recording Studios three months later on this day, after Peter, Paul and Mary made a watered-down version of it famous for him, and etched out straight from the horse’s mouth, the most well known protest song of all time, “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Waxing for the first time as a young twenty-something on something intangibly larger than the freight-train finger-sweepers he’d been tinkering around with, it was also the first time that Dylan dabbled with his genius cryptic mystique, famously introducing the song back on Gerde’s stage like so: “This here ain’t no protest song or anything like that, ’cause I don’t write no protest songs.

Meanwhile, the Civil Rights movement co-opted it swiftly, any folkie in its immediate wake and far beyond attempted to incorporate it into their open-mic sets, hard inspiration Woody Guthrie smiled from his sick bed and most importantly, Dylan kept writing songs like it. To that end, listen to the answer, maybe or maybe not blowin’ in the wind:

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?
Yes, ’n’ how many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?
Yes, ’n’ how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind