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
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There really isn't anything new under the sun, is there?
Joni Mitchell accuses Bob Dylan of plagiarism. He chose the surname "Dylan" in honor of the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. Mitchell undoubtedly was aware of Dylan Thomas and was familiar with his poetry. There is this lyric in Mitchell's "Chelsea Morning": "I will bring you incense owls by night." If I wanted to be snarky I would accuse her of borrowing from Dylan Thomas's "Fern Hill": "As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away."
Not plagiarism, but likely cross fertilization of half-remembered thoughts and phrases from many sources.
“If you tried to give rock and roll another name, you might call it Chuck Berry.” John Lennon
If you are looking for someone who set the template for rock music, it is Chuck Berry far more than it was Elvis.
I would say Elvis, Bob and Miles Davis would be the prime suspects.
RE: “Is she one of those chicks with the long straight hair and a real big mouth?”
Yep, sure is!!!
Crank this up from 1965 (written in 64)
and this up from 2009
No one else is even close to making real american music
Sorry, I thought it was legendary musicians.
You can not like someone and still recognize their effect on music. I would be impressed if you can come up with a good reason as to how Dylan isn’t in the top 10 of the most influential and game changing artists of 20th century music.
Joni said Leonard Cohen was a plagiarist too - seems he used terms out of the Bible...
Not to mention this masterpiece.
The one from ‘65 was just barely tolerable. The 2009 could peel the paint off the wall.
You have no ear for genius my friend, none at all.
Thanks to Marty McFly
"Chuck. Chuck. It's Marvin - your cousin, Marvin BERRY. You know that new sound you're looking for? Well, listen to this."
Now I KNOW you're just joking. Seriously, which Dylan songs actually sound good to you?
You mean he likes to play with his "ding-a-ling"?
They are above the plane you occupy. If you know ANYTHING about dylan is that it has nothing to do with a pretty voice. You can listen to worthlessness like Celine Dion or Michel Buble or whatever the hell is name is if you want pretty.
Ever hear of Hank Williams?
Sure. He’s great. But he had a very short career. He’s penned about 10 classics that will remnain in the great American songbook forever. Dylan about 250.
They do sound a bit "spaced out" to me, if that's what you mean?
If all Bob Dylan ever put out was “Blood On The Tracks”, he’d have left a bigger mark in the musical canon than Joni Mitchell. Unfortunately for Joni, he had another dozen albums (at least) just as good.
Or Stephen Foster, W.C. Handy, Scott Joplin, George M. Cohen, George & Ira Gershwin, Hoagy Carmichael, Aaron Copland, Miles Davis, Erroll Garner, Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Glenn Miller, Lerner & Loewe, Rodgers & Hammerstein etc etc—all writers, composers, or performers of authentic “American” music.
And Bob would not look out of place in the least on that list. And Bob is the only still actually making music, although, unless you count hard living, that is through no fault of any on your list. And the original post did say making authentic American music.
He’s got plenty of simple songs too. Ones covered by Elvis, the Ramones, Neil Young, Norah Jones, George Harrison, Rod Stewart, Van Morrison, Nina Simone, Sam Cooke, Johnny Cash, Pearl Jam, The Band, PJ Harvey, The Byrds, Emmylou Harris, Hendrix, Cassandra Wilson, Cheryl Crow, Bette Midler, the Stones, the Grateful Dead, Guns and Roses, The Pretenders, Ben Sidran, Brian Ferry, etc etc etc etc
Joni Mitchell can write this kind of tripe but she says Bob Dylan is a fraud!?
In that case, you'll probably enjoy all of her stuff from the 60's and 70's.
I also agree on Madonna being a modern day Nero. I was influenced by Joni’s guitar work, her lyrics and her phrasing in song but I was first influenced by Dylan and Judy Collins.
I have never paid any heed to her politics or her hatred of my Church. She’s an artist and as I come from a family of them I recognize the wackiness for what it is...she’s nuts. The media isn’t helping her sell any paintings as she isn’t wacky or talented enough, she’s only in it to feed her ego. She could have learned much from Leonard Cohen.
I don't care if they're simple or highly profound. A song has to sound good for me to like it. And only a rare few of his do, and just barely at that. As for his 'genius', I doubt even he could give an intelligent explanation of what his songs were about. If you asked him on different days, he'd probably give you a different answer each time.
I’m not a Bob Dylan fan in any way, shape, or form. However, Joni Mitchell? Seriously???
No, a song is either good or it isn’t. Judged by many people over the course of time. Whether you like the melody or the lyrics or the singing is purely personal. Some folks think Sinatra was the greatest singer of last century. I don’t necessarily agree, but I know this: In 50 years time people will still be relishing Sinatra music. And in 50 years, 100 years time, people will still be recording Dylan songs and buying his music. And I imagine there are songs duylan has forgetten to as to why he wrote it.
But he didn’t forget why he wrote his classic “It Ain’t me Babe”. He was giving the finger to the protest movement.
He didn’t forget why he wrote the classic “Forever Young” which he wrote for his children.
He didn’t forget why he wrote the classic “Blind Willie McTell” about the bues singer Bling Willie McTell
He didn’t forget why he wrote the classics “Sad Eyed Lady of the lowlands” or “Sara” or “You’re big Girl all the Way” for his wife/then wife.
And he didn’t forget why he wrote the most Pro-Israel, anti-terrorist song I’ve ever heard, “Neighborhood Bully”.
It goes on and on over for the last 49 years.
One of the greatest love songs ever.
Somewhere a elevator is missing it’s music ........
Could be for good reason. What the songs mean to him doesn’t have to be what they mean to anyone else. And in the time since he first wrote the songs what they mean to him could have changed as well. He really hit his stride, in my book anyway, 45 years ago. Anyone could look back and find new meaning in those songs even the guy who wrote them. Why would he want to limit the possible meanings from someone by saying definitely, this is what the song is about, this was the inspiration? Obviously he connects with a lot of people, and they take meaning from what he has to say either in his more direct songs or his more abstract songs. You may not appreciate the genius it takes to do that, and to do it over the course of 34 studio albums, but it does take it.
Joni has become bitter with age. She’s a freaking grouch.
I noticed this a few years ago in another interview. In that one she said she was sick of music.
Then he starts talking about his Dylan collection. What a day.
IMO, Dylan is to music what Picasso is to art. Open to an infinite number of interpretations while on the surface often ugly. Yet both are described as ‘geniuses’.
Picasso, btw, was part of the Soviet plan for screwing up American culture with meaningless garbage replacing traditional art.
lol ............. it sounds like that.
I noticed this a few years ago in another interview. In that one she said she was sick of music.
She's spiritually sick. No question about it. A musician of her caliber doesn't say something like that unless they've hit rock bottom as a being.
That's really sad to hear. She was once a valuable contributor to the culture.
Love the subtitles on the first one.
Joni Mitchell crafts meaningless words and phrases into meaningless songs.
But [Dylan] didnt forget why he wrote his classic It Aint me Babe. He was giving the finger to the protest movement.And here I thought the closing lyric of the closing song on the album (The Times They Are A-Changin') previous to the one (Another Side of Bob Dylan) featuring "It Ain't Me, Babe" was his eff-you to the protest movement:
Oh, a false clock tries to tick out my time
to disgrace, distract, and bother me
And the dirt of gossip blows into my face
and the dust of rumours covers me
But if the arrow is straight and the point is slick
it can pierce through dust no matter how thick
So I'll make my stand and remain as I am
and bid farewell and not give a damn.
---From "Restless Farewell."
I didnt realize, Furry Sings the Blues was autobiographical . . .She wrote it about her encounters with Memphis music; the title alludes to bluesman Furry Lewis---who actually hated the song and demanded Mitchell pay him royalties if she was going to use him as a subject. (Furry Lewis also toured with the Rolling Stones once upon a time.
As for Bob Dylan, I still think Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, Blonde on Blonde, John Wesley Harding, Planet Waves, The Basement Tapes, and Blood on the Tracks are the man's best music . . .
Sheesh. Joni seems all Tangled Up In Blue.She should only know just how many people not named Dylan have borrowed or rewritten what came before them. I could run her down a volume equal to the Manhattan telephone book, but I'll just begin with these:
Original: Robert Johnson, "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom"; most famous rewrite: Elmore James, "Dust My Broom" and "Dust My Blues."
Original: Skip James, "Devil Got My Woman"; most famous rewrite: Robert Johnson, "Hellhound on My Trail."
Original: Howlin' Wolf, "Killin' Floor," and Robert Johnson, "Stones in My Passway"; most famous rewrite: Led Zeppelin, "The Lemon Song."
Original: Willie Dixon (for Sonny Boy Williamson), "Bring It On Home"; most famous rewrite: Led Zeppelin, "Bring It On Home." (They took the writing credit over that riffy midsection but never acknowledged Dixon writing the bookends they used.)
Original: Willie Dixon (for Muddy Waters), "You Need Love"; most famous rewrite: Led Zeppelin, "Whole Lotta Love."
Original: Bo Diddley, "I'm a Man" and the Yardbirds, "Over Under Sideways Down"; most famous rewrite: The Count Five, "Psychotic Reaction." (Actually, they nicked that one entirely from the Yardbirds---they used the famous percussing guitar finale of the Yardbirds' version of "I'm a Man" with the basic verse structure of "Over Under Sideways Down," a Yardbirds band composition.)
And let's not get started on how many instrumental licks were borrowed over the years, none of which began with a) Steely Dan nicking the bass line of Horace Silver's "Song for My Father" to use in "Rikki Don't Lose That Number"; or, Grand Funk Railroad borrowing the guitar lick that kicked off the Monkees' "Pleasant Valley Sunday" and using it to kick off "Closer to Home (I'm Your Captain)" . . .
No one else is even close to making real American music
Ever hear of Hank Williams?
Ever hear of Muddy Waters? Robert Johnson? Duke Ellington (who once said he preferred his music be called "American music" rather than jazz)?
Sure. [Hank Williams is] great. But he had a very short career. Hes penned about 10 classics that will remnain in the great American songbook forever.Robert Johnson only penned twenty-nine songs in a career even shorter than Hank Williams . . . and those songs became blues standards and should be considered part of the great American songbook.
As an aside, when Columbia assembled the box set of Johnson's complete recordings (all 29 master takes and several alternate takes), they were figuring they'd be lucky if it sold 20,000 copies. It went on to sell more than two million copies---the first purely blues box that ever sold a million copies or more. And that was 52 years after Johnson's death.
I'd hipped to Robert Johnson (as also a lot of bluesmen including B.B. King, who first moved me to try to play a guitar seriously in the summer of 1969 when "The Thrill Is Gone" hit) in the late 1960s when I heard Eric Clapton, whom I admired growing up, rhapsodise about Johnson; on that alone (and certainly Clapton's rearrangement of "Crossroads"---on which he gave Johnson the writing credit he deserved, as always he did) I went out and bought the Columbia LP King of the Delta Blues Singers, issued first in 1963. I got the second volume when it came out circa 1970. Losing those two LPs over the years was a heartbreaker; when the box set came out I pounced on it. It's still music I listen to at least once a week. And, if only based on "Long Gone Lonesome Blues," I'd be willing to bet Hank Williams was aware of Robert Johnson, too. I often thought Hank Williams took a slight wrong musical turn---listening to him even now, that man was born to sing the blues.
Clapton once said that there was a time in his life when, if you didn't know who Robert Johnson was, he wouldn't talk to you. I can't exactly say I blame the man.
As for rock stars sleeping around, Joni seems to have forgotten about her own reputation in Laurel Canyon -- much as she forgot about her own daughter.
I think she is wrong about Dylan, but she was one of the most creative, original musicians I have ever heard, and her opinions on music are better informed than mine.
I suspect my GGGGGGgrandkids and their heirs will enjoy those works. I know my granddaughter does!Talkin' bout your g-g-g-g-g-g-generations? ;)
(Yep---I also love the Who. Especially The Who Sells Out and the complete Live at Leeds.)
. . . much as she forgot about her own daughter.She gave her daughter up for adoption, a subject to which she's alluded in several of her songs, including especially the striking "Little Green" (she recorded it for Blue, one of her best albums, several years after she first wrote the song).
The man who sired the child with Mitchell in Canada left her; she married a folk singer named Chuck Mitchell rather hastily, hoping to make a home for the baby, but the marriage collapsed and Mitchell didn't think herself strong enough to raise a child single. In a 1990s interview, she revealed why: I was dirt poor. An unhappy mother does not raise a happy child. It was difficult parting with (her) but I had to let her go.
Child with a child pretendingAnd she got the happy ending in due course---Mitchell and her daughter were reunited in 2001. It was a mutual search; Mitchell, who never spoke publicly about it until a Canadian tabloid exposed it a few years prior to that (and when she did talk about it, she expressed hope of meeting her birth daughter again), was more than receptive when the young lady (who apparently had a happy childhood after all) reached out to her (following an arduous search, after her parents told her of her being adopted) through her manager.
weary of lies you are sending home
so you sign all the papers in the family name
you are sad and you're sorry but you're not ashamed
Little green have a happy ending.
---From "Little Green"
Mitchell also alluded to the daughter she surrendered for adoption in a 1982 song, "Chinese Cafe": Your kids are coming up straight/My child's a stranger/I bore her/But I could not raise her.
She seems never to have forgotten the daughter she felt compelled to give up for adoption. For her part, the daughter has said that reunion with Mitchell (with her parents' blessing, incidentally) made her feel complete.
Peter Pan syndrome.....the folk stars never grew up and faced the realities of being adult and making adult decisions.....
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