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Unicheck Blog on Plagiarism

Accused of Plagiarism: Similarities in Bob Dylan’s Lyrics

Accused of Plagiarism: Similarities in Bob Dylan’s Lyrics

Over the years, plagiarism in music has been a common and often debated phenomenon.

The traditions of any country run deep, are multi-layered and mixed. They are built thanks to numerous factors, borrowed and altered in the course of time. There is certainly no way to find out which was born first. Of course, folk music is an integral part of any country’s traditions. When folk music performers are accused of citing sources improperly, it seems rather strange.

Numerous accusations in plagiarism

Bob Dylan was accused of plagiarism a great many times. He tired of all this wearing criticism. While being interviewed for Rolling Stone in 2012, he said, “When you ask me if I find criticism of my work irrelevant or silly, no, not if it’s constructive… The people who are obsessed with criticism – it’s not honest criticism. They are not the people who I play to anyway.”

Another quote shows what he actually thinks about folk music, stating “Newsweek magazine lit the fuse way back when Newsweek printed that some kid from New Jersey wrote “Blowin’ in the Wind” and it wasn’t me at all. And when that didn’t fly, people accused me of stealing the melody from a 16th-century Protestant hymn. And when that didn’t work, they said they made a mistake and it was really an old Negro spiritual.”

It’s quite clear with folk music. But what about Bob Dylan’s memoir? Checking for plagiarism online shows a number of coincidences in his Chronicles: Volume One (2004) and novels of other outstanding writers.

Examples of plagiarism quotes from memoir and novels:

“Walking back to the main house, I caught a glimpse of the sea through the leafy boughs of the pines. I wasn’t near it, but could feel the power beneath its colors.”

Marcel Proust in the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (1919):
“…I caught a glimpse of the sea through the leafy boughs of trees… I was no longer near enough to the sea which seemed to me not a living thing now, but fixed; I no longer felt any power beneath its colours.”

“One night when everyone was asleep and I was sitting at the kitchen table, nothing on the hillside but a shiny bed of lights.”

Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn (1884):
“Every night we passed towns, some of them away up on black hillsides, nothing but just a shiny bed of lights; not a house could you see… There warn’t a sound there; everybody was asleep.”

“She was cool as pie, hip from head to toe, a Maltese kitten, a solid viper — always hit the nail on the head. I don’t know how much weed she smoked, but a lot.”

Mezz Mezzrow, Bernard Wolfe Really the Blues (1946):
“Baby this that powerful man with that good grass that’ll make you tip through the highways and byways like a Maltese kitten. Mezz, this is my new dinner and she’s a solid viper.”

“He didn’t need to say much—you knew he had been through a lot, achieved some great deed, praiseworthy and meritorious, yet unspoken about it.”

Jack London, White Fang (1906):
“He carried himself with pride, as though, forsooth, he had achieved a deed praiseworthy and meritorious.”

“A tiny spaniel lay at the guy’s feet, the dog’s beady black eyes following the nervous movements of his master.”

Sax Rohmer, Dope (1919):
“A tiny spaniel lay beside the fire, his beady black eyes following the nervous movements of the master of the house.”

“I bought a red flower for my wife, one of the loveliest creatures in the world of women.”

R. L. Stevenson in Providence and the Guitar (1878):
“…A red flower set provocatively in her corset, he repeated to himself for the many hundredth time that she was one of the loveliest creatures in the world of women.”

Now it’s up to you to decide whether the examples above should be considered as plagiarism or not. And it’s up to you to change your attitude towards Bob Dylan, despite the fact that the best online plagiarism checker shows duplications. So, how can you avoid plagiarism? You should always check originality of your content with the help of anti plagiarism software to keep your reputation high.

Are you ready to use Unplag plagiarism checker? It’s easy to sign up for it today in order to keep your work plagiarism free!

Unicheck Team

Unicheck Team

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