Johanna Parker wrote:
Are you aware he admitted to writing TTTAAC because he knew that was what people wanted?
As reported by Tony Glover, but never confirmed by Dylan himself. Even if he did say that to Glover, I believe that's just a machismo throwaway exchange between friends, that has nothing to do with how the song got written. The song got written by a young man, mature beyond his years, who was tapping into the zeitgeist of the times before the pupa had even broken out of its cocoon. If you understood Dylan better, or at least demonstrated some humility in trying to understand him better, you wouldn't toss these random 'facts' around as though they're law, and you're the one that's in the know. Dylan has demonstrated time and time again that the very last thing he'll do is give his audience what they want- not that they were consciously aware of wanting TTTAAC. Here's a reference to your little 'nugget', that then goes on to quote Dylan and the real genesis of the song, from the Biograph liner notes:
"Dylan's friend, Tony Glover, recalls visiting Dylan's apartment in September 1963, where he saw a number of song manuscripts and poems lying on a table. 'The Times They Are a-Changin' had yet to be recorded, but Glover saw its early manuscript. After reading the words 'come senators, congressmen, please heed the call', Glover reportedly asked Dylan: 'What is this shit, man?', to which Dylan responded, 'Well, you know, it seems to be what the people like to hear'.
"Dylan recalled writing the song as a deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for the moment. In 1985, he told Cameron Crowe: 'This was definitely a song with a purpose. It was influenced of course by the Irish and Scottish ballads . . .'Come All Ye Bold Highway Men', 'Come All Ye Tender Hearted Maidens'. I wanted to write a big song, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way. The civil rights movement and the folk music movement were pretty close for a while and allied together at that time.'
"The climactic lines of the final verse: 'The order is rapidly fadin'/ And the first one now/ Will later be last/ For the times they are a-changin' have a Biblical ring, and several critics have connected them with lines in the Gospel of Mark, 10:31, 'But many that are first shall be last, and the last first.'
"A self-conscious protest song, it is often viewed as a reflection of the generation gap and of the political divide marking American culture in the 1960s. Dylan, however, disputed this interpretation in 1964, saying 'Those were the only words I could find to separate aliveness from deadness. It had nothing to do with age.' A year later, Dylan would say: 'I can't really say that adults don't understand young people any more than you can say big fishes don't understand little fishes. I didn't mean 'The Times They Are a-Changin' ' as a statement. . . It's a feeling"
His prescience, in writing this momentous, truly great song just one month before Kennedy's assassination and the turbulent sixties, Vietnam et al kicking off in earnest is extraordinary. You should try and get to know and understand your hero better, and not traduce a huge song from his early career to the output of a Brill Building short order songwriting chef.