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PostPosted: Tue January 5th, 2010, 22:20 GMT 
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Will someone kindly direct me to the actual books, chapters, verses, songs, et-cetera, from which Dylan has plagiarized? I am more interested in words and lyrics than music. I am working my way through this thread and wanted to judge the offenders for myself. Thanks.

PostPosted: Tue January 5th, 2010, 23:49 GMT 
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ds5vC6iw_z8 is Bertha Lou by Dorsey Burnette, referred to below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hflCRxduw2M is Clapton performing Dylan's Rita May, rearranged. Unfortunately, it appears Sony deleted a youtube recording of the Dylan version

http://medialogarchives.blogspot.com/20 ... ection.asp article below

Dylan's Japanese connection.

News that Bob Dylan had lifted extensively from a Japanese book on his 2001 "Love and Theft" CD sent me running for Bob Spitzer's Dylan: A Biography (1989). Sure enough, just as I had remembered, I found Spitzer's account of an interview with Rob Stoner, who played bass on Dylan's 1975 Desire album and in the Rolling Thunder Revue. Stoner's recollection of a conversation he once had with Dylan in New York City is worth quoting at some length:

At three o'clock in the morning, in a city once referred to as "the most dangerous place on earth," Bob Dylan and Rob Stoner went on a walking tour that lasted until the sun came up. "We just wandered around until dawn," Stoner recalls. "Bob staring off into space with his hands in his pockets, walking with a bounce in his step. Taking it all in. Later I learned that this was something he did in every major city in the country. No one recognizes him and it allows him to feel completely free and relaxed."
As usual, Bob was preoccupied with plans for the tour, but mostly they talked about obscure rock 'n roll songs. Stoner was a connoisseur of old rockabilly standards. He owns a priceless collection of R&B 78s, including the entire Sun Records catalogue and hundreds of southern "race" records, and as the two men walked they tried to stump each other with a list of their favorite titles and corresponding singles. Bob was no slouch when it came to rockabilly. "He knew almost everything I threw at him," Stoner remembers. "Not just the titles but the entire lyric, too. He'd go into a verse like he was singing it only a couple hours before. The extent of his knowledge was mind-boggling."

Very cautiously, Stoner broached a subject that had been nagging him for some time. "Ever hear a tune called 'Bertha Lou'?" he asked Bob.

Bob nodded confidently. "Sure. Johnny Burnette and his trio. 19 ... 57."

"Fifty-six," Stoner corrected him, "but that's pretty good, man." They walked another hundred feet or so in silence. "The reason I asked is that it's really similar to one of your songs." In fact, it was almost a note-for-note duplication of "Rita Mae," from the Desire sessions. The melodies were exactly the same, and Bob's scansion followed Burnette's pattern to a rhyme.

"Oh, yeah?" Bob remarked, but it was a closing statement if Stoner had ever heard one.

"He never even asked which song of his I was referring to," Stoner says nonplussed. "He didn't care, and at that moment I realized that the line between plagiarism and adaption was so blurred that it wasn't even an issue for him."

A quick search of BobDylan.com turns up a song from 1975 called "Rita May," written by Dylan and Jacques Levy, that has apparently never been released. But Stoner's recollection neatly ties in with a piece in Saturday's New York Times by Jon Pareles on the Japanese connection, who notes that Dylan has always operated as someone who blends together lyrics and music from a variety of sources. Writes Pereles:

The absolutely original artist is an extremely rare and possibly imaginary creature, living in some isolated habitat where no previous works or traditions have left any impression. Like virtually every artist, Mr. Dylan carries on a continuing conversation with the past. He's reacting to all that culture and history offer, not pretending they don't exist. Admiration and iconoclasm, argument and extension, emulation and mockery -- that's how individual artists and the arts themselves evolve. It's a process that is neatly summed up in Mr. Dylan's album title "Love and Theft," which itself is a quotation from a book on minstrelsy by Eric Lott.
The extent to which Dylan, er, lovingly stole lines from a little-known Japanese book, Junichi Saga's Confessions of a Yakuza, is nevertheless a surprise. The details were reported last Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal by Jonathan Eig and Sebastian Moffett. Even Dylanologist Christopher Ricks of Boston University, who never has a bad word to say about Zimmy, comes off in the Journal piece as a tad disappointed.

A big deal? Not really. Dylan has always been pretty transparent about the way he works, even if -- on this particular occasion -- he borrowed from a source so obscure that it's a wonder it was ever discovered. Still, Dylan plays it both ways to an uncomfortable extent: he pieces together bits of found culture, sticks his copyright on it, and collects the royalties.

At the very least, as Pareles notes in the Times, Dylan should be generous the next time a rap musician asks permission to sample one of his songs.

PostPosted: Wed January 6th, 2010, 00:37 GMT 
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harmonica albert - to summarize:
Bob Dylan's song Rita May is a note-for-note copy of Johnny Burnett's 1956 song, Bertha Lou.
This from Rob Stoner. Okay, I accept this as true. Any others?

Junichi Saga's Confessions of a Yakuza - has anyone read this? It was first published with the title, The Gambler's Tale.

PostPosted: Wed January 6th, 2010, 01:06 GMT 
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The stuff taken from the Yakuza novel, the lines cribbed from Ovid et al, are pretty well documented if you do a little googling for people obsessed by such things, or by searching threads here. I don't have the time or interest to go to such lengths on your behalf, but I encourage you to make the effort, because I think you may find some interesting insights, and maybe even develop a taste for Ovid who is a far better writer than Dylan.

PostPosted: Wed January 6th, 2010, 01:30 GMT 
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harmonica albert - I'm reading some interesting comments from Rolling Stone '66. Much of this I know, not the details mind you, but the similarities between lines & lyrics. I don't see any plagiarism here, not within the context of any song or album. "Love and Theft" (quotes and all) always felt like a culmination which started with Good As I Been To You and went through Modern Times. Now, for the first time, it is coming into focus.

If we are taking sides on this thread, I am clearly on the "Bob is a genius and adds value to existing texts."


On September 16, 2006 a person named "Chris" wrote on Rolling Stone:

The bottom line:

Whether or not this is plagarism, it proves his genius. Name another songwriter who is spinning quotes from sources like obscure Civil War poets, Shakespeare, Clint Eastwood, Japanese crime novelists, Scottish folk songs, Neil Young, Arthur Rimbaud, T.S. Eliot, the Bible (listen to “All Along the Watchtower” and read Isaiah Chapter 21), Graham Greene, Charles Baudelaire, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Alfred Hitchcock, and Gregory Peck?

Either Dylan is: A) borrowing these lines from memory and unconsciously putting them in songs or B) actively reading Dostoevsky and saying to himself “This line from The Possessed would work great this album” and writing it down.

Either way, he’s a genius, because he makes it work. You could give a stack of that material to anyone else and no one else would be able to write “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”.

I won't use his words as my own. He's spot on.

PostPosted: Wed January 6th, 2010, 12:03 GMT 
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I thought what he did with the Yakuza book was marvellous. I recall reading that the Author of that book was bemused and flattered.

Found text, cut ups... from Surrealists to Beat writers.. all in the mix for BD.

PostPosted: Wed January 6th, 2010, 13:37 GMT 

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Pockets wrote:
I thought what he did with the Yakuza book was marvellous.

Agree. I still wonder what wrong anybody can see there.

PostPosted: Wed January 6th, 2010, 23:13 GMT 
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Bobbie Deelun Plagerism Blues*

Well, I was feelin’ sad and blue,
I didn’t know what I was gonna do,
Them Plagerists was comin’ ’round,
They wus up in the air
They wus so low down.
They wouldn’t give me no peace . . .

So I run down most hurriedly
And joined the Unique Artist Society,
I got me a unique membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road.
Yee-hoo, I’m a real authentic now!
Look out you Plagerists!

Well, I wus lookin' everywhere for them ol’ Plagerists
Got up in the mornin’ and checked my list,
Looked in my house and backyard too,
I checked my pockets and looked in my shoe.
I couldn’t find ‘em . . .

I wus lookin’ high an’ lookin’ low
Always thought them Plagerists were kinda slow,
I searched on the internet,
And deep in the fur of my pet,
They got away . . .

Well, I wus at home late one night (watchin’ ol’ Kronkite)
And I figured they wus in my home entertainment sight,
I peeked around the plasma screen
Got a shock that was obscene
Them Plagerists caused it!
I know they did . . . the crafty ones.

Well, I quit my job so I could work authentically,
Then I changed my name to Bobbie DEE-lun.
Followed some riffs that were in my mind
And discovered they had all been co-signed!
That ol’ Noah Webster . . .

Well, I googled sheet music in the library,
Ninety percent of it should be deleted anyway.
I tweeted all the people that I knowed,
Ninety-eight percent of ‘em gotta go.
The other two percent are unique . . . just like me.

Now you heard that Obama’s quite a guy,
And Hillary Clinton is a Chinese spy.
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a unique American: DePak Chopra.
I know for a fact he hates Plagerists ‘cause,
I just do!

*©2010 by Fabe. All Rights Reserved.

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