Things Have Changed

"Things Have Changed" is a song from the film Wonder Boys, written and performed by Bob Dylan[1] and released as a single on May 1, 2000, that won both the Academy Award for Best Original Song[2] and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.[3]

"Things Have Changed"
CD single cover
Single by Bob Dylan
from the album Wonder Boys (Music from the Motion Picture)
B-side"Blind Willie McTell" (Live version)
ReleasedMay 1, 2000
Format7" single, CD single, extended play CD (Japan)
RecordedMay or July 1999
GenreRock, country rock, folk rock, blues rock
Length3:37 (radio edit)
5:09 (video version)
5:25 (full-length version)
LabelColumbia Records
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan[1]
Producer(s)Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan singles chronology
"Love Sick"
"Things Have Changed"
"Someday Baby"
Audio sample
"Things Have Changed"
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Dylan critics disagree about when this song was recorded. According to Olof Björner, "Things Have Changed" was recorded in May 1999 at Sterling Sound studios in New York.[4] Clinton Heylin, in his account of Dylan's songs between 1974 and 2008, believes the song was recorded at Sony Studios, New York, probably on 25 and 26 July 1999. On these latter dates, Dylan was touring the US with Paul Simon.[5]

Sources agree the musicians who accompanied Dylan in the studio were his touring band at the time: Charlie Sexton and Larry Campbell on guitar, Tony Garnier on bass and David Kemper on drums.[4]

Kemper has said, "We were touring and had a day off in New York. Bob said, "Tomorrow let's go into the studio. I got a song I want to record. We went in and played "Things Have Changed" with only an engineer. We did two takes. The first was a New Orleans thing. The second was what you hear. So in about five hours we learned it recorded it, mixed it.[5]

Engineer Chris Shaw has confirmed there was another version, which "was really great, which had a kind of New Orleans shuffle to it". Shaw hoped to include this unreleased version on Volume 8 of Dylan's Bootleg Series, Tell Tale Signs. But when the studio recording could not be located, it was replaced by a live version recorded in Portland, Oregon, on June 15, 2000, which Heylin describes as "mediocre".[5]


Clinton Heylin has written that "Things Have Changed" demonstrates a close knowledge of the film Wonder Boys, for which it was written. The lyrics make reference to "dancing lessons", "the jitterbug rag" and dressing "in drag", all of which feature in the plot of the film.[5]

Curtis Hanson, the director of Wonder Boys, has recalled: "I learned that Dylan might be interested in contributing an original song… So when I came back from filming in Pittsburgh, Bob came by the editing room to see some rough cut footage. I told him the story and introduced him to the characters. We talked about Grady Tripp and where he was in life, emotionally and creatively. Weeks later a CD arrived in the mail."[5]

Dylan critic Kees de Graaf places "Things Have Changed" in the context of the Biblical teaching Dylan encountered when he studied with the Vineyard Fellowship in the late 1970s. For de Graff, the sense that "the world may come to an end at any moment" pervades the song. De Graaf notes the images of " the last train", "all hell may break loose", "standing on the gallows with my head in a noose", all contributing to a sense of impending Armageddon: "the last battle of the end times when all powers from hell will explode in one final outburst of violence."[6]

Dylan critic Michael Gray has commented on the wide range of sources in the lyrics of the song, describing it as unique for the way it combines the worlds of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Duane Eddy.[7]

Gray sees Dylan's line "I’m looking up into the sapphire-tinted skies" as an allusion to Shelley's phrase "sapphire-tinted skies" in line 71 of "Written among the Euganean Hills, North Italy".[8]

"Forty Miles of Bad Road" was a 1959 instrumental hit for Duane Eddy. According to Gray, Eddy's producer Lee Hazlewood heard one Texan say to another, "Your girl has a face like forty miles of bad road," and immediately recognised the remark's potential as a song title.

2001 Academy Award

On March 25, 2001, at the 73rd Academy Awards, "Things Have Changed" was awarded the Oscar for Best Original Song.[2] At the time, Dylan was touring Australia. He and his band performed the song in a segment recorded in Sydney, that was inserted into the Academy Awards broadcast via a satellite link.[9]

In his awards speech, broadcast from Sydney, Dylan said: "I want to thank the members of the Academy who were bold enough to give me this award for this song, which obviously is a song that doesn't pussyfoot around nor turn a blind eye to human nature."[9]

Music video and chart position

Curtis Hanson, who directed Wonder Boys, also directed the music video for "Things Have Changed". He intercut footage of Dylan with sequences from the feature film, to suggest that Dylan was appearing in the film. The video appears on the bonus DVD included in the Limited Edition version of Dylan's 2006 album Modern Times.[10]

The single did not enter the Billboard Hot 100. The single reached #58 in the UK Singles Chart in October 2000.[1]

On February 2, 2014, an arrangement of "Things Have Changed" was used in a commercial for the Chrysler 200, aired during Super Bowl XLVIII.[11] Dylan narrated and starred in the commercial, saying “When it’s made here, it’s made with the one thing you can’t import from anywhere else  American pride… So let Germany brew your beer, let Switzerland make your watch, let Asia assemble your phone. We will build your car.”[12]

Track listings

7" single (COL 669379 7) — Limited numbered edition[13]
A "Things Have Changed" – 5:08
B "Blind Willie McTell" (Live version) – 7:01
CD promo single (COL 669333 1) — Europe[14]
  1. "Things Have Changed" (Radio Edit) – 3:37
  2. "To Make You Feel My Love" (Live) – 4:10
CD single (COL 669333 2)[14]
  1. "Things Have Changed" (Radio Edit) – 3:37
  2. "To Make You Feel My Love" (Live) – 4:10
  3. "Hurricane" – 8:33
  4. "Song to Woody" (Live) – 4:26
Things Have Changed/Dylan Alive Vol. 3 (SRCS 2306) — Japanese extended play CD[14]
  1. "Things Have Changed" – 5:09
  2. "Highlands" (Live) – 11:19
  3. "Blowin' in the Wind" (Live) – 7:10
  4. "To Make You Feel My Love" (Live) – 4:11



  1. Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 137. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. Dansby, Andrew (March 26, 2001). "Dylan wins Oscar". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  3. "Things Have Changed: Golden Globes: 1 Nomination, 1 Win". April 1, 2001. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  4. Bjorner Olof (April 27, 2015). "Sterling Sound, New York City, Probably May 1999". Retrieved November 27, 2016.
  5. Heylin, 2010, Still On the Road, The Songs of Bob Dylan: Volume Two, pp. 436–439.
  6. de Graaf, Kees. ""Things Have Changed"- An Analysis By Kees De Graaf" (PDF). Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  7. Gray, The Bob Dylan Encyclopedia, pp. 655–656.
  8. Shelley, Percy Bysshe (April 10, 2015). "Written among the Euganean Hills, North Italy". Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  9. Björner, Olof (September 24, 2014). "TCN-9 Studios. Willoughby, Sydney, New South Wales, 25 March 2001, Taping for the Oscar Awards Ceremony in Los Angeles, California". Retrieved November 28, 2016.
  10. "Bob Dylan - Things Have Changed". BobDylanVevo. October 24, 2009. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  11. "Official Chrysler And Bob Dylan Super Bowl Commercial 2014". February 3, 2014. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  12. Wilkening, Matthew (February 2, 2014). "Bob Dylan Testifies for Chrysler in Super Bowl Ad". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved November 29, 2016.
  13. Things Have Changed 7" vinyl at Discogs
  14. "Searching For A Gem", Bob Dylan's Officially Released Rarities and Obscurities: Audio: 2000
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