"Searching For A Gem"

Who really wrote "Blowin' In the Wind"?
Was it Bob Dylan or Lorre Wyatt?

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Cassette by Lorre Wyatt

There was a rumour going around in the early 1960s that Bob Dylan stole "Blowin' In the Wind" from an unknown singer known as Lorre Wyatt. It even appeared in "Newsweek" magazine and nearly ruined Dylan's career. The story goes that Dylan bought the song from Wyatt and claimed it as his own. This has been proven to be completely false, and Lorre Wyatt set the record straight in a 1974 article called "A Rumor Revisited" published in "New Times" magazine and then reprinted in condensed form in "Sing Out!" magazine, volume 23, Number 2, May/June 1974.

Manuel García Jara has 200 covers of this song by worldwide artists, for full details of some of them, see here.

Thanks to Dr. Craig Jamieson and Peter Stone Brown for information.

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Here are some excerpts from his article:

In September of 1962, fall of my senior year, I auditioned for the Millburnaires, a perennial singing octet from Millburn High. Ecstatic over making it, I raced to my first rehearsal overflowing with song suggestions like "Dona, Dona" and "500 Miles".

Several weeks later, I thumbed through the new issue of Sing Out! It was seeded with protest songs which rekindled my songwriting desires. The ideas of one song in particular had an unavoidable impact. They agitated my head, and I made valiant attempt to find my own words. I scribbled feverishly at my heavy blond desk, pressed by the upcoming Millburnaires rehearsal. But the printed words kept looking better and better, and I couldn't resist trying to piece the tune together.

On October 28th, the eight of us were sitting around Don Larsen's beige- carpeted living room swapping songs. In my pocket were two sets of words - the original and the song I had hoped would grow out of it. My mind seesawed nervously back and forth between them. Mine wasn't finished and that song was *so* good. Maybe I could sing it and not say anything and they'd think I wrote it and be impressed. If they said, "Let’s sing that sometime", that'd be OK. I'd finish my song by then, and they probably wouldn't remember the original.

Someone said, "Anybody got a song?" My hands formed a shaky D chord, and a distant voice began, "How many roads..." Unexpected silence as I finished. "WOW! Where'd you get that? Did you write that?"

(Why not, I thought, nothing will ever come of it...)

Yes. A rush in my brain as the chasm between the simple and the horrible surreal complex evaporated. That moment my old life ended and a new one began.

"Hey, we *gotta* do that!...We could learn it for Thanksgiving!!!"

"No- no --we can't –it’s not done yet!"

Thanksgiving Assembly. The ONE time we would do the song. My strictest instructions to everyone were not to mention who wrote it, but Don circumvented that by saying, "Here’s a song written by one of the Millburnaires". At the end of the Assembly, people streamed backstage. Somewhere the answer slipped out. I became adamant that we would never sing the song again. My head was swirling.

Next Monday my homeroom teacher asked to see me after school for a "just between you and me" chat. She wondered why I didn't want to sing that song anymore. I pulled out the answer that I had been toying with all weekend, and told her that I had sold it. But nothing would abate her curiosity. When she asked," For how much?" I blurted out $1,000. Her surprise led me quickly to add that I had given it away, and Where? became C.A.R.E..

I'd begun to make Pinocchio look like he had a pug nose.

While Dylan was taking a flight to Italy to find Suze, I was taking a No. 70 bus to Newark to find his record. My initial reaction was relief! Wind wasn't on it, and he sounded like a loser. Annoyance took over -- "$2.79 for this?" I returned it to Bamburgers and told the clerk something was wrong with it. He listened to half a cut. "Yeah, I see what you mean."

January, 1963. On the way to school, a friend jubilantly told me my song had been played on radio. I feigned nonchalance (while munching on my Adam’s apple) and told him I already knew. But the Chad Mitchell Trio single went nowhere. Whew!

Four more springs later, my therapist listened in amazement as I unraveled the tale of how I picked, by chance, the song that was to become the crowning expression of the "we shall overcome era". She remarked supportively, "Well...at least you had good taste..."


More "Flying Pig" Bob Dylan pages

The Blonde On Blonde Missing Pictures
The Blonde On Blonde Missing Pictures

The Liner Notes That Sank
The Missing Liner Notes from Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits Vol. 3

Mr. D's Collection 2001
"Mr. D's Apocrypha"
(Columbia releases that aren't on Bob's regular albums)


Who really wrote "A Fool Such As I"?

Bob's Appearances on Compilations
Bob's Appearances on Compilations


Bob Dylan at the Movies: An Overview of all Films with Dylan Performances

Bob's "Field Recordings" 1961-87
Bob's Early "Field Recordings" 1961-87

The Never-Ending Tour Official "Field Recordings"
Bob Dylan's Never-Ending Tour Official "Field Recordings" 1988 onwards

Duets with Bob
Duets with Bob

Bob Supporting Other Artists
Bob "On The Side"


My (Dylan-related) review of Stephen King's "Song of Susannah"

 

Home ] Up ] Bob Dylan's Compilations ] Bob Dylan's Duets ] Bob Dylan's Early "Field Recordings" ] Bob Dylan's "Field Recordings" ] A Fool Such As Columbia ] Alan Fraser's review of "Song of Susannah" by Stephen King ] Mr D's Apocrypha ] Bob "On The Side"! ] [ Who really wrote "Blowin' In The Wind ] Red Herrings ] Traders in Bob Dylan Rarities ]


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