Changing of the Guards

Changing Of The Guards

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Changing of the Guards

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"Changing of the Guards" is a song written by Bob Dylan, released in 1978 as a single and as the first track on his album Street -Legal. As an A-side single it failed to reach the Billboard Top 100. However, it was included on Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Volume 3, released in 1994.


Musically, "Changing of the Guards," like much of Street-Legal, has a strange sound, certainly unique for Dylan if not unique in general. This is in part effected by a trio of female back-up singers, a prominent saxophone in between verses, and a hauntingly dynamic chord progression. The chord progression has a certain catch that is very noticeable: there is a repeating cadence, which, by landing on the dominant chord, "begs" for resolution. However, rather than resolving it with the tonic chord, it is resolved with the relative minor chord. This creates an almost tragic feel in the song: everything sounds as if there will be a normal, major and happy-sounding tonic chord; but instead, the song falls into the unusual and dark-sounding relative minor chord. Interestingly, the song speeds up slightly over the course of the song, only noticeable by playing the beginning and the end of the song back to back.

Lyrically, this song has provoked much critical insight, both positive and negative. According to Oliver Trager author of Keys to the Rain: The Definitive Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, "Changing of the Guards" has been criticized as a "song in which...
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