Skip to comments.Joni Mitchell Sets Us Straight: Bob Dylan "A Plagiarist," Americans "Stupid and Shallow"
Posted on 04/26/2010 6:26:23 PM PDT by Artemis Webb
"What is the big deal about Bob Dylan?" Julia Schrenkler wondered on Gather.com three years ago. Well, according to fellow folkie Joni Mitchell, he's a plagiarizing fraud.
"Bob is not authentic at all," Mitchell tells the Los Angeles Times. "He's a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I."
True, Dylan's name is a "fake" -- he was born Robert ... um, Zimmerman -- but he'd have to be some kind of crazy to invent a voice like his current subterranean croak. Let's assume she's talking about his Woody Guthrie-isms of the '60s, just to be on the safe side.
But Mitchell (birth name: Roberta Joan Anderson, btw) doesn't restrict her remarks to male performers of her generation, letting us know that "Grace [Slick] and Janis Joplin were [sleeping with] their whole bands and falling down drunk."
Well, yes, but what of the Canadian-born Mitchell's own work? Time for a little self-examination, perhaps?
"My work is set against the stupid, destructive way we live on this planet," she announces. "Americans have decided to be stupid and shallow since 1980. Madonna is like Nero; she marks the turning point."
Ladies and gentlemen, Joni Mitchell: Special Ranting 2010 Edition. Approach her at your own risk...
(Excerpt) Read more at knittingcrochet.gather.com ...
Old Rock Star Whine....
Bitter, not smooth and does not age well.......
Jeez Louise. Nobody says you have to like Bob. He's not everyone's cup of tea. However, he is a very significant figure. He's authentic -- he's Bob freakin' Dylan.
I don't care for James Joyce, but I can't deny the fact that he's a major literary figure. Dylan is at that level. One hundred years from now, when people talk about mid-20th century American music, the names they will mention will be Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan. There may be some others, but not many.
Joni Mitchell will NOT be considered a major figure of 20th century music.
“He’s a plagiarist, and his name and voice are fake. Everything about Bob is a deception. We are like night and day, he and I.”
Let’s see...authentic American musical geniuses...number 1...Joni or Bob? Hmmmmmmmmmphh...I’ll have what ever SHE’S drinking...or smoking...or whatever..like it or not, he’s the legend Joni...not you. And like it or not, like him or not, like his politics or not, some of the greatest and most loved and most performed records in history. And if there is a better album than Blood on the Tracks, I don’t know about it and I know a shipload about American music...
Yep. I probably shouldn't look. I'll probably be sorry I did this, but here goes...
I have a feeling someone might throw in the name of a guy named Frank Sinatra.
I bet Bob got a little of Joni’s country pie way back when.
Joni said this with a straight face.
Tough call on Sinatra. I consider “In the wee small hours” to be one of the greatest albums of all time. But Sinatra didn’t write nor was even able to read music. His voice (in his prime) and interpretive skills were unmatched though.
Call me contrary, but I always love it when some bitter old has-been rock “star” lets lose with a stream of bile and invective against anyone and everyone. Something refreshingly pure about it—no “my good friend Janis” and “I love Bob” nonsense. Put Joni on again and simply mention names of other 60s rock “icons” and then get out of her way.
She's not now, nor has she ever been. She's got a little niche, but that's it.
I could also say something about whiny, petulant, self-righteous, and narcissistic, but I won't.
Bob Dylan: Still Christian after all these years?
Bob Dylan: Time Out of Mind, Sony, 1997.
THE CHRISTIAN community has not always been kind to high-profile musicians who have espoused Christian beliefs. A prime example is Bob Dylan: although he did some superb Christian albums and a phenomenal gospel tour, and continues to perform faith-affirming songs in concert, I’ve encountered church musicians who have told me Dylan has “left the Lord.” Because of this assumption, they refuse to play his songs, thus depriving congregations of some of the best Christian lyrics ever written.
Dylan has been much in the news recently. In May, he almost died of a viral infection; by August he was touring again. In late September, he sang before the Pope, at a eucharistic conference. Soon after, he made the cover of Newsweek; most of the attention is due to his latest album.
Time Out of Mind consists mostly of songs about failed romance, and world-weary laments. Such material becomes tiresome in the wrong hands, but with the assistance of producer Daniel Lanois, the energy of the music has an exhilarating effect. The album sounds like a long, troubled summer night, with a spooky heat rising from the fierce electric rhythm and blues backups, and Dylan’s voice overflowing with experience.
While none of the songs mention Christ, there are several references to faith: “I know the mercy of God must be near”; “I’m tryin’ to get to heaven before they close the door”; and “I know God is my shield, and he won’t lead me astray.”
As to whether this faith is specifically Christian, his Newsweek interview simply states: “This is the flat-out truth . . . Songs like ‘Let Me Rest on a Peaceful Mountain’ or ‘I Saw the Light’ — that’s my religion. I don’t adhere to rabbis, preachers, evangelists, all of that . . . The songs are my lexicon. I believe the songs.”
Years before accepting Christ, Dylan wrote songs affirming faith in God, such as ‘Father of Night’ and ‘Forever Young’; other songs, such as ‘Gates of Eden’ and ‘Sign on the Cross’ made use of biblical imagery.
In 1979 he announced his conversion with Slow Train Coming. The record was a hit, but many fans reacted against his faith. The next album, Saved, was shunned — a pity, considering it is one of the finest gospel albums ever made. A live album, Solid Rock, was shelved by Dylan’s record company. Several songs, such as ‘Yonder Comes Sin,’ ‘No Man Righteous’ and ‘I Ain’t Goin’ to Hell for Anybody,’ were recorded, but never released.
From 1979 to mid 1980, Dylan’s concerts consisted exclusively of Christian material, prompting some nasty audience reactions. The shows were outstanding, incorporating black gospel soloists with Dylan’s fervent evangelistic monologues and passionate performances of songs like ‘When He Returns,’ ‘Saving Grace,’ ‘Pressing On,’ ‘Are You Ready?’ and ‘Blessed is the Name of the Lord.’ On the following tour, in an effort to reach a wider audience, he combined gospel songs with his more familiar hits.
He has continued to write and perform songs clearly expressing faith, such as ‘Every Grain of Sand,’ ‘Death is Not the End,’ and ‘God Knows.’ Others contain biblical references, including ‘Caribbean Wind,’ ‘Ring them Bells,’ ‘Man of Peace,’ and ‘Shooting Star.’ He has also performed gospel standards like ‘Precious Memories,’ ‘Rank Strangers’ and ‘Go Down Moses.’
Dylan has not spoken often about his beliefs, but a 1986 interview indicated that his faith had not waned: “All that exists is spirit, before, now and forever more . . . Messiah will rule. He is, was and will be about God, doing God’s business. Drought, famine, war, murder, theft, earthquake and all the evil things will be no more . . . God is coming.”
He has never renounced his overtly Christian songs and, in 1991, he included some previously unreleased material on The Bootleg Series: the moving ‘Lord, Protect My Child’; the apocalyptic ‘Foot of Pride’; the stunning, mystical ‘Angelina’; and the joyous, unrestrained ‘You Changed My Life.’
Most significantly, he has continued to perform two of his finest gospel songs, ‘I Believe in You’ and ‘In the Garden.’ The latter begins: “When they came for Him in the garden, did they know He was the Son of God?” It ends: “When He rose from the dead, did they believe?”
Has Bob Dylan left the Lord?
What about Chuck Berry?
hmmm...hell hath no fury?
Hey Joni: They paved paradise and put in a parking lot.
Never liked Joni - Credence Clearwater made some of the best music back then.
Dylan was never on the same planet as Presley. He'd be about 873 on my top 1,000 list. Sam Cooke would definitely be in the top 3.
Maybe in that case the song “Idiot Wind” applies to Joanie.
Maybe in that case the song “Idiot Wind” applies to Joanie.
That’s a real compelling analysis — though I believe he did write “I’m a Fool to Love You.” I think the fact that he changed the face of popular singing (from crooner to swooner) will weigh heavily in his favor.
She does seem a little harsh on Mr. Zimmerman...I enjoyed both of them a great deal back in the 60s/70s. Saw Joni at Stegman Hall, University of Georgia back in 1975 and wrote the headline about her concert for the “Red & Black” newspaper the next day.....gettin’ old....miss those days.
I saw Dylan in concert about four years ago. In the scripted announcers introduction to him he was mentioned as being born again and there was something about his, “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”.
She said in an interview that she and Geraldo Rivera are great friends- their friendship goes all the way back to college days. Enough said.
Hey Joni, I never liked a single song you ever did, and for the life of me, I can’t remember a single one either.... so just STFU!
I actually used to love Little Richard interviews. Talk about someone who has a grudge. He did not have a good word to say about anyone. Quite frankly, he and other early black rock acts have good reasons to be upset. Its just great to listen to it rather than the sleep-inducing, normal “I love this one and I love that one” banalities.
“Maybe in that case the song Idiot Wind applies to Joanie.”
Heh heh...yep....exactly...it’s a wonder that she still knows how to breathe.
HMMMM..... I’m gonna have to go w/Dylan on this one. I’ve read and seen dozens of interviews, documentaries, and “biopics” of him, and don’t recall him ever saying a single disparaging word about anyone (well, except that clueless Mr. Jones). On the other hand, he has withstood the slings and arrows of his “peers” with nonchalance and aplomb for decades.
Just my opinion...
Joni Mitchell has always been one of my favorite musicians, but this sort of back-stabbing of fellow musicians just turns me off.
I mean, what is the point?
Do artists who do this believe that sniping about their former peers raises their withered status among the public who once adored them? Are they so desperate for attention that they see this sort of ugly behavior as their only route to relevance?
It’s sad. Just sad.
Too bad about Joni. She has a nice voice until she gets that yodeling thing going. Ugh.
Yep...don’t like Dylan, and never worshiped at his altar, but I recognize that he was an original. Hey...Ty Cobb was arguably the greatest baseball player ever, but NOT a nice man.
Or maybe she ain’t changed a bit.
Joni Mitchell consciously tried to recreate Bob Dylan's rise to fame.
Five years after Dylan had become a star, she moved to New York City from the Midwest, changed her name, and started playing open mic nights at Greenwich Village folk clubs.
But she did not make it like Dylan had. She met David Crosby at a Florida nightclub and he brought her back to LA and convinced his record company to let him produce an album of her music.
Given her failed attempt to imitate Dylan's career arc and the likely very unplatonic story of how she first got her big break, I'm going to guess that her criticisms of Slick and Joplin are similarly hollow.
Slick was the draw for the Jefferson Airplane - she was actively recruited by the bandmembers to leave Great Society and sign on with them.
Janis Joplin was actively recruited by Big Brother and the Holding Company.
Neither Slick nor Joplin slept their way into recording contracts.
Long straight hair, yes - big mouth, no.
Joni Mitchell was once one of the finest rock musicians on the planet. She was an extraordinary songwriter and lyricist, and had a decent set of pipes.
And she could play a guitar. Man, could Joni play.
But Sinatra didnt write nor was even able to read music. His voice (in his prime) and interpretive skills were unmatched though.”
Exactly. But ooooh, that phrasing...unmatched.
Okay, I can go along with that. By the Sixties, Frank had become more of an icon than a trendsetting singer.
“What about Chuck Berry?”
Catchy pop lyrics “coffee colored Cadillac”...but not the stuff of legends...Dylan was there.
A Canadian version of a Dixie Chick wannabe.
Neither Slick nor Joplin slept their way into recording contracts.
Janis sure didn’t...
Meow. Back in the day, Joni made her way through the entire folk-music scene, so she shouldn't throw stones. Why the need to trash poor dead Janis? And somehow for all her alcohol consumption Grace Slick is still attractive at 70. This comes off incredibly catty.
Wide difference of opinions about her work on this thread. Personally, I loved Joni Mitchell's work, and still do. I consider her to be one of the signature artists of the 60's era.
Ever heard the song, "Woodstock" by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young? Joni Mitchell wrote that.
Thanks for injecting a little reality into this Joni bashing thread...
Bitter and bitchy is not attractive in young, beautiful women. It is particularly unattractive on this old biddy.
She’s had some hard times and health problems...
I can cut her slack for her bit on “The Last Waltz.”
Bob Dylan soured on the "social justice" scam early, I mean REAL EARLY--like around 1965. That's what the lyrics to "My Back Pages" are all about. But his repudiation was indirect and the flower-children foolishly mistook him to be their prophet.
He explained some of this in his autobiography--which discloses him to be relatively conservative on many issues. I think that's what annoys fading fraying folk artists like Joni Mitchell, who take themselves far too d*mn seriously. He didn't leave them. He was never really with them.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.