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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Rockin' in the U.S.S.R.: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young?!

Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan

OK, file this under the heading of diplomatic nirvana.

Apparently, back in the 1970's, someone thought it would be a good idea to have Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Neil Young fight communism. Per recent Wikileaks disclosures of diplomatic cables, the US embassy in Moscow thought the singer-songwriters might connect with Russian youth.

US ambassador Walter Stoessel Junior wrote:
“Soul genre not of top interest here, and suggest priority consideration be given to soft rock, blues/rock or country rock. Previous country music efforts have succeeded in establishing acceptability of this genre and we believe time is right to expand musical horizons.

Top performers who are both eminent in the field and genuinely creative artists should be approached first before considering ones of lesser stature and perhaps less creative talent."
No indication of whether the US embassy in Moscow was aware that Neil & Joni are Canadian.

Needless to say , these concerts never happened and there's no indication the artists were ever even aware of the possibility. It is highly doubtful any of the artists suggested would have ever accepted such an arrangement.

Now would that have been rockin' in the free world or what?


At 4/11/2013 07:32:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Diplomacy averted. or diverted.
Too bad.

At 4/12/2013 07:35:00 AM, Anonymous Mike said...

O/T, Thrash, but I think there's another date needing to be added to the Eurotour list. Maybe I've missed it but I haven't seen it mentioned: 16/8/2013, Pukkelpop Festival, Kiewit, Belgium. I'm still hoping for a date in UK I can get to, somewhere on the eastern side midway between Birmingham and Newcastle. Sheffield Arena again'd be perfect, but I fully realise he can't go everywhere...

At 4/12/2013 01:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I believe they did have a huge part in ending the USSR despite their never having physically gone there and performed. Rolling Stone magazine said it was "jeans, guitars, and rock and roll" that smashed the Iron Curtain. I was there in the early 70's with 18 of my students and young Russians in their 20's and 30's constantly surrounded us, called out the name of a band or performer, and then listened with total regard for the info we could give them. They just couldn't get enough of what we could give them. These young men and women looked and dressed just like my students. When I've seen the McCartney DVD of his Red Square concert and when the camers focused on the crowd - many of whom had tears running down their faces at finally seeing a Beatle - I've wondered if any of them were the ones we met and talked with. I certainly hope so!

At 4/12/2013 03:56:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

There's a documentary out showcasing how The Beatles music changed that country and completely overhauled the minds of the russian youth during the sixties and ever since.

Who says just singing a song won't change the world!?

At 4/12/2013 04:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Uhhh...his name was Ronald Reagan. That is the man who brought down the USSR - a real leader and polar opposite to the current usurper in the White House.

Rolling Stone can go piss up a rope with their nonsense about "jeans, guitars, and rock and roll".

"Mister Gorbachev - tear down this wall!"

At 4/12/2013 05:03:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Anon

President Reagan's bluster in the early years of his first term (along with Carter's toward the end of his)almost lead to war with the Soviet Union. It was the second closest, aside from the Cuban Missile crisis, that the two sides actually came to war. What Reagan changed over the years, and what might surprise you, was his willingness to compromise and, dare I say, "negotiate with the enemy." I know, I know...talking is a sign of weakness and comparing pant-bulges makes for great diplomacy, but in this case the latter worked. Oh, and in addition to bankrupting the USSR by jumping into wandering foreign interventions, Gorbachev ended the Soviet Union by liberalizing it from within But what do I know, it's only my job, and "tear down this wall" is easier to remember.

Course, this is a Neil site and I prefer to stay on topic. Just can't let counterfactual history go unchallenged. Back to the Pill

At 4/13/2013 02:43:00 AM, Blogger La Johnson said...

As Todd Rundgren said 'you can't the world with a plastic platter'...


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