The Missing Link to all other Bob Dylan Plagiarisms

Bob Dylan

in a 2004 interview with Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times, Bob Dylan stated,

“Well you have to understand that I’m not a melodist. My songs are either based on old Protestant hymns or Carter Family songs or variations of the blues form. What happens is, I’ll take a song and simply start playing it in my head. That’s the way I meditate.”

“I wrote ‘Blowin’ in the Wind’ in 10 minutes, just put words to an old spiritual, probably something I learned from Carter Family records. That’s the folk music tradition – you use what has been handed down. ‘The Times They Are A-Changing’ is probably from an old Scottish folk Song.”........Bob Dylan

"I'll be playing Bob Nolan's 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds,' for instance, in my head constantly -- while I'm driving a car or talking to a person or sitting around or whatever. People will think they are talking to me and I'm talking back, but I'm not. I'm listening to the song in my head. At a certain point, some of the words will change and I'll start writing a song.".......Bob Dylan

The question of plagiarism, made public by Joni Mitchell in 2010, is also discussed in Lewis Hyde’s Common As Air. That Dylan’s first 70 recorded songs allegedly had clear predecessors and two thirds of the melodies were directly lifted may be (as Dylan said) common to the “folk process.” But Yaffe also notes Dylan in his autobiography expressing feelings by using unacknowledged lines from Proust, and he derides Dylan’s recent Modern Times album as largely plagiarized, though from public domain sources.

Dylan's Early Plagiarism "Rita Mae"

After the taping, Dylan and his new band were scheduled to fly back to New York early the next morning. According to Bob Spitz in his biography of Dylan, Stoner decided to pull an all-nighter. Dylan had the same idea, and the two of them walked around Chicago until the sun came up. Stoner said Dylan did this all the time because he could experience the city anonymously. The duo talked a little bit about a tour, but mostly about old rockabilly and "race" records. When he mentioned an old Johnny Burnette track, "Bertha Lou", Dylan knew who the artist was. Then Stoner went on the say that it sounded like a song they recorded for Desire (he did not mention it was the out-take single "Rita May"), Dylan ended the discussion by saying, "Oh, yeah?". Stoner said, " . . . at that moment, I realized that the line between plagiarism and adaption was so blurred that it wasn't even an issue for him."

 To hear Johnny Burnette's Bertha Lou released in 1956 click on the arrow below



You can click on the arrow below to hear Bob Dylan's "Rita May" that was copyrighted and released by Bob Dylan in 1981


Bob Dylan - Rita Mae

Powered by


 As you can see on Bob Dylan's record below there is no credit to Johnny Burnette





 If it weren't for the internet you would never have known these facts


This free website was made using Yola.

No HTML skills required. Build your website in minutes.

Go to and sign up today!

Make a free website with Yola