Bob Dylan Defends Jann Wenner And Covers Billy Joel In NYC
In a New York Times interview earlier this year, the Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner said some terrible and revealing things about the way that he regards women and Black artists. Wenner was promoting his book The Masters, a collection of interviews with famous rockers, and all of the artists included in the book are white men. When pressed on why he focused exclusively on white guys, Wenner responded that women and Black artists “just didn’t articulate on that level.” As a result of his comments, Wenner was removed from the board at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, an institution that he helped to found.
One of the white men who is included in The Masters is Bob Dylan. Last night, Dylan played New York’s Beacon Theatre, and Jann Wenner was in the audience. During his set, Dylan became one of the very few prominent people to come out in defense of Wenner. Dylan told the crowd, “Jann Wenner, surely everybody’s heard of him. Anyway, he just got booted out of the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, and we don’t think that’s right. We’re trying to get him back in.” From Dylan’s tone, there’s at least some possibility that he was joking. But still. Sheesh.
Dylan also opened last night’s show with a brief, hard-to-recognize cover of Billy Joel’s deathless 1976 song “New York State Of Mind.” You can hear an audio recording of Dylan’s version below.