September 25, 2006

The words, they ain’t a changin’

Seems that Bob Dylan isn’t quite the rock poet that some like to believe. Well, maybe he is, but he nabbed some of his words from literature, rather than going to the trouble of writing them himself.

You can read the article here, but for the list of examples you’ll need to look at this link - If I was a master thief

I don’t particularly care for Dylan, especially since The Story of Hurricane, which was played every 29 minutes on the radio (they couldn’t play it more often, because the song lasted for 27 minutes). I hated that song with a vehemence. Still do. I hated his whiny voice. The cliché ridden story-poem. The tortured acrobatics of fitting those words to music. The lame rhymes. The fact that two juries found Rubin Carter guilty of a triple homicide. The fact that he was released by a judge on some strange procedural grounds, not on the grounds of new evidence, or innocence.

I don’t imagine the occasional bit of plagiarism is going to bother his fans. Still, it's mildly interesting.


  1. What a co-inky-dink. I posted a Saturday Evening Post cover of Dylan just today. You know, I said a while back that "Hurricane" was pretty good Dylan, but you're right, it's drivel. Especially considering Carter was imho guilty.

    Still love Dylan, though, or at least some of his stuff. Just a remnant of my shameful ultra-liberal youth, I suppose.

  2. Excellent, I plan to be doing a post tonight making fun of poorly written folk music. This is grist for the mill!

  3. Another co-inky-dink! Always glad to help Timmy.

    Drunka - I can forgive you anything, you know that. Let's never speak of this again. [Have the high-tops arrived yet?]

  4. timt,

    Damn, nice Perelman riff. I used his line about giving somebody "a shove on the beezer" just the other day, give or take six months.


    I keep telling you to quit being funny. Do you? No.

  5. Glad you liked it, Drunka. You have to wonder about some of the words he used ('I'll always call you Schnorrer, my African explorer'), but I suspect, like Snirtle, they're all perfectly good and useable English words that no-one ever uses.

  6. Anonymous12:04 AM

    Well, I like Dylan. Don't care what you say. I didn't like him so much when he went through that Christian thing many years ago but "Slow Train Coming" is still a great album.

    I can see where he was coming from now. A matter of experiencing something important from the inside. Like every true artist should.

    Of course a lot of his stuff is derivative. In his case especially from Woody Guthrie who fired his poetry in the first place. Of course he has been a bit loose on the details of certain events. Of course a lot of the stuff he has produced has been crap. Of course the man is deeply flawed as a human being. Name me a poet or artist in all of history who wasn't or hasn't?

    Robert Zimmerman is a major and defining artist of the second half of the last century. My guess is he still has some surprises in store for this century. It is a serious mistake to see him in political terms or to try and put some kind of political label on him. We should enjoy his stuff for as long as we can. Soon he will be dead. Like the rest of us.

    Then it will be just another case of you don't know what you've got until it's gone.

    Like the rest of us.