After Bob Dylan wrote and sang it, this song and its title became a watchword for a generation and more.
The phrase found its way to the lips of many, whether or not they knew of its origin. In the sixties, it was used by the youth to address an older generation seen as morally bankrupt.
Protest songs like this one sounded a warning that things could not continue as they were. Like Dylan's Masters of War, this ballad spoke against the way the world was being run, and this notion resonated powerfully.
The phrase caught on and came into common use. Last week it was used by Claude Sauhel as the title of a political analysis of Middle East history in the Huffington Post.
Five days ago, it was used by Mark Binelli in the Rolling Stone. Again it was an article title, this time in reference to the remarkable reign of Pope Francis, which has seen a radical departure from the customary ways of Popes.
Yet the poetic voice of Dylan came from a place of mystery. In 2013 he gave an interview where he talked about his creative process -- how some of his most famous songs "were almost magically written," in a way he still doesn't understand.
Dylan denies being "the archbishop of anarchy," or any kind of prophet, but he did use his art to express his passion for justice, and he famously composed a hard-hitting song about the framing of Hurricane Carter. In 2004, he published Volume I of his memoirs, Chronicles (Simon and Schuster), to great acclaim.
Uniquely, his song lyrics garnered a nomination for the Nobel Prize for literature. He didn't win, but the punters bet on him big time, according to The Guardian.
According to Uncut, Chronicles Volume II is underway and expected to come out this year.