Legendary Canadian songstress Joni Mitchell has had a pop at equally legendary musician Bob Dylan for being a fake.
As revealed in the media yesterday, Mitchell has declared Dylan ‘a plagiarist’ and says ‘Everything about Bob is a deception.’
Of course, those who live in the glare of publicity always have an element of deception about them, creating a public persona behind which to shelter themselves from the media’s remorseless stare. As the great French poet Jean Cocteau famously declared, ‘I am a lie who always speaks the truth.’
Dylan, it seems, has been accused of plagiarism before, connected with his 2006 album Modern Times.
Both Mitchell and Dylan have changed their names, but obviously Mitchell did not take kindly to the comparison in her interview with the Los Angeles Times.
However, Mitchell also pours scorn on Madonna, whom, she says, marks a turning-point in American culture which has been ‘stupid and shallow since 1980.’ Bear in mind, however, that this was the decade that gave film Oliver Stone’s Platoon (1986), and literature Tom Wolfe’s classic Bonfire of the Vanities, (1987), as well as the photography of Cindy Sherman, to name but a few redeeming cultural icons.
There was blood on Mitchell’s career tracks in the 1980s, when her career took something of a dive after her success in the 70s: it was only with Night Ride Home in 1991 that her career surged back to critical acclaim. Perhaps that’s what it’s all about, really….
Although anyone who can list Court and Spark, The Hissing of Summer Lawns and Hejira amongst their back catalogue deserves our respect.