Bob Dylan’s One-Sided Folk Process

by elmergantry

In his rather unpleasant Rolling Stone interview in advance of the release of the musically mediocre and lyrically shoddy Tempest, Bob Dylan claimed that ‘in folk and jazz, quotation is a rich and enriching tradition. That certainly is true. It’s true for everybody, but me. I mean, everyone else can do it but not me. There are different rules for me.’
Given his expression of that opinion, one would expect that he would be relaxed and forgiving in relation to other artists who quoted from his own work. Indeed, a one-sided ‘folk process’ would be an obvious contradiction in terms.
Yet, in reality, this seems to be the way in which Dylan operates- for example, this is what happened when Hootie and the Blowfish quoted from ‘Tangled Up In Blue’ (in this case after making it clear that the lines were ‘borrowed’):
http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=490

Discovered this fact from this quite judicious article:

http://dissidentvoice.org/2013/12/bob-dylan-and-plagiarism/

The details of the settlement between the two parties can be found here (Bob’s signature appears prominently on it, so he cannot put all of the responsibility on his lawyers):
http://entertainment.ha.com/itm/music-memorabilia/autographs-and-signed-items/bob-dylan-and-hootie-and-the-blowfish-signed-agreement-total-2-items-/a/7006-50043.s#47584758096
There are also some rumours around that Bob threatened Rod Stewart with a plagiarism suit over the latter’s song, ‘Forever Young’:

http://rulefortytwo.com/2009/06/18/1988-countdown-68-rod-stewart-forever-young/

Apparently, he was eventually given a songwriter credit on that rather abysmal song…

How Bob’s quotes from the Rolling Stone article fit in with his actions in both of these cases, I leave the readers of this piece to judge

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