Bob Dylan: 'People Who Complain About Me Plagiarizing Them Are Pussies'

Bob Dylan has hit out at those who have accused him of being a plagiarist, describing them as "wussies and pussies".

Ultimate Guitar

In a heated interview with Rolling Stone magazine, Bob Dylan has hit out at those who have accused him of being a plagiarist, describing them as "wussies and pussies".

Dylan, responding to claims that he had "stolen" lyrics from Junichi Saga's 1991 book "Confessions Of A Yakuza" and the 19th century poetry of Henry Timrod, went on to suggest that people should be grateful for him using their works in his songs as it gives them greater exposure:

" far as Henry Timrod is concerned, have you even heard of him? Who's been reading him lately? And who's pushed him to the forefront? Who's been making you read him?"

The songwriter went on to describe his plagiarism critics as the same kind of people who had branded him a "Judas" for playing the electric guitar at Newport folk festival:

"These are the same people that tried to pin the name Judas on me. Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you've been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar? As if that is in some kind of way equitable to betraying our Lord and delivering him up to be crucified. All those evil motherf--kers can rot in hell."

Dylan's 35th studio album, "Tempest", was released earlier this month. It includes the singer's tribute to John Lennon, "Roll On John", as well as a 14 minute epic about the Titanic which is the album's title track.

This is not the first time that the singer has been embroiled in a plagiarism controversy. A series of paintings that he produced in 2011 were accused of being uncredited tracings of famous photographs.

86 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Henry Timrod died in 1867. His poetry is public domain and Dylan is well within his rights to use it.
    It would have been nice if he at least cited his work...
    What's wrong with citing his work? I get that it's ok to use without permission, but why not cite it? You know? Just so people know?
    True. But if someone re-published the entire works of Timrod under their own name and no one noticed would that be ok? No. You can't just put a line in and assume that everyone will think "Ah, Timrod!"
    No, but he can take the original source material and alter it in any way he chooses. Which, by adding musical accompaniment to it, he is doing.
    Yeah, it's no big deal, but if it were me personally I would still want to give credit where credit is due.
    Yeah, I'm not questioning the use of it, but it's courteous and decent to credit him. He respects him enough to be inspired by him, but not enough to credit him or make any kind of reference?
    It's not plagiarism unless he claimed the works as his own, which he isn't doing. If Bob ****ing Dylan wanted to use lyrics I wrote, I really don't think I would mind.
    Maybe it's not plagiarism but it is misleading and dishonest. It is normal to assume that the lyrics a person sings were written by them unless stated otherwise. You don't listen to a song and think "Ooh I wonder what 19th century poet wrote these lyrics." I'd like to know if Timrod, Saga or others are credited or thanked or mentioned at all on his album. I don't really mean to challenge him alone, I think that's a standard everyone should live up to. If Coldplay did it people would call it plagiarism. Really, I class it as plagiarism. Plus, Dylan didn't bring our attention to these writers - the people who spotted the lifted lyrics did. So he's claiming their work! I hate to have a go at him, I love him. However, although being Bob Dylan gives you the right to do what you want creatively, it does not give you a get out of jail free card (The Monopoly Guy, et al.)
    Musician use's books as inspiration for songs!!!!.....Wow, how dare he...
    If Bob Dylan can't snag quotes from other artists, metal bands shouldn't be allowed to reference Lovecraft.
    He thinks Judas is the most hated man in history? I would have thought it was Hitler. Nothing he said surprises me, most musicians that achieve the status of "cultural icon" usually go crazy and get a god complex.
    Municipal Waste
    Hitler was only around 70 years ago, and is still revered by certain people even today as a great leader. Judas has been the epitome of the traitor figure for almost 2000 years. In the Divine Comedy, the 3 most prominent traitors were Brutus, Cassius and Judas who were all being chewed on by the 3 headed Satan figure. Dyalns comment makes sense.
    Plenty of people can philosophically justify the actions of Judas as necessary to fulfill the prophecy of the Messiah. Genocide has no real justification to anyone except racists and psychopaths.
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought it was prophesied that the Jews would be a hated people because of what they did to Jesus.
    Jesus was a jew himself.
    That statement is always the stupidest thing I've ever read. He was a Jew... on the technicality that there wasn't such thing as Christianity yet? The fact that he couldn't exactly accept himself as the savior? Is that your argument? Good job, you're so intelligent and I wish I was you.
    Well he was a Jew because he was one of those people from around the area that we now call Israel that we refer to as Jews. It doesn't just have to do with what someone believes.
    Not that there is really a justification to genocide, but to generalize that anyone who ever supported one as either just a racist or psychopath would be untrue. Most of them are regular people, under a sad set of circumstances leading to such a catastrophe. To disregard them as simply psychopaths, shows a lack of understanding of the situation, and which makes it easier for such an event to reoccur. The circumstances are not as hard to come to as many believe, sadly.
    that was also written in like the 1300's. Not that I'm disagreeing with you but shit's changed since then
    If quoting other pieces of art is plagiarism, then pretty much all art is plagiarism and there are no "original" artists out there (excluding some avant garde artists). Is quoting real life plagiarism too? Some peoples ownership of artistic ideas is astounding to me. Ideas are meant to be shared, not owned solely by single persons. Quoting and referencing other works is one of the oldest techniques and traditions of art in the world, but now we are going to call it plagiarism? The idea of copyrighting has really poisoned art in the modern world in that a person can't even use an idea without people screaming plagiarism often. It kills a lot of genuine ideas because artists are afraid to do anything that could be accused for stealing. Even if their art comes straight from the heart, and has their unique viewpoint attached.
    At first I was like, "Why is there a Phil Spector photo for a Bob Dylan story?",,, then I realized my mistake.
    Every artist in the history of the world has plagiarized something. There's no such thing as an original idea.
    Bob Dylan: 'People Who Complain About Me Plagiarizing Them Are Pussies' ...In other news: Bob Dylan is still a badass
    He seems to have built up a pretty big ego over the years.
    When you have impacted the music world as culturally, musically, and politically as Dylan has you're allowed to have an ego
    You act you he is as big as Elvis or the Beatles lol
    I never said he was bigger than either. However, he is definitely influential enough to have an ego.
    I'm sorry to say that if you asked an average joe on the street they wouldnt know who bob dylan is
    Are you joking? You act as if he's this obscure act. Bob Dylan is one of the most iconic musicians, artists and poets of all time. Even an as image, his signature curly hair, sunglasses, and black outfit is widely recognized. He's just as much a household name, if not more, than Jim Morrison. I think the "average joe" is aware of Bob Dylan... give me a break haha
    This makes me hate the world today and I wasn't even a glint in my Dad's eye when Dylan rose to prominence!
    Yeah! How dare you criticize someone who is so overrated!
    Plagiarism sucks but this isn't some up-and-comer... this is Dylan. Every hippie who's picked up and acoustic guitar or wrote some poetry has plagiarized Dylan at some point.
    Rammstein uses others poetry and stories on most of their albums.
    This probably means Neil Peart should've been sued by authors, God knows how many times!!
    I'm curious if he would let the same argument stand if his music was pirated. I'm not going to debate Dylan's influence (because that would be silly), but I don't think he's as much a household name as some of the above posters would think. I doubt he's at all well-known among non-musicians today.
    Did someone actually bother to translate him into English or was it a written interview?
    Judas is definitely not the worst name in history cuz I'm pretty sure the guys in Judas Priest are pretty awesome.
    Meh he's just a big headed dickhead if you ask me, humility = 0, and doesnt he do shit like turn up to gigs of over 10k people hammered out of his face and tell them to **** themselves, that he cant be bothered to play to him as the only reason they're there is to see his face...
    In the old Testament, the Jews are told that they are Gods chosen people and that this will bring with it persecution and suffering brought on by the rest of the world. Long before "What they did to Jesus." Fucking idiot. -VanTheKraut
    Metallica used the 1971 anti war movie johnny got your gun as inspiration for the song "One", and how many bands have used love over and over, why, because they are unoriginal or they feel inspired. That is what being an artist is aboot, getting inspiration from any source, just don't copy word for word the whole book. Quotes are OK if you give the writer credit or get their permission.
    There's a difference between ripping someone off and using an extract. I do it in some of the songs ive written were ive taken a small extract from 2nd dynasty poetry, changed it to make sense in a modern context and had in their because its the inspiration of the song and a cookie for the people that actually read the original. It would be a completely different matter if i just used it to make the entire thing...
    Deja Alamino
    Everybody plagiarizes. Nothing is a new or original idea. We've been here for millions of years. I assure, someone, somewhere has had the same idea as you. And if someone else had the same idea as you, I'm sure someone else before them had the same idea. There are 7 billion people in this world, and that's not counting the one's who have already been on this planet and left. So, I'd say 10 billion people have probably been here on Earth, and people actually think they can "copyright" things? PCHT. Be humble and no so full of yourself. Bobby has it right.
    Even when Dylan's talking trash, it's like he's singing a song. "Like a complete wussy, Like a rolling pussy."