Bob Dylan denies censoring his shows in China
The voice of a generation isn’t easily silenced. Not according to Bob Dylan, who has issued a rare public statement denying speculation that he gave in to government censors by agreeing not to perform 60s-era protest songs during his recent tour of China.
In a personal message released via his website, the usually-reclusive singer informed fans that he wanted to “clarify a few things about this so-called China controversy” which erupted last month after he staged his first ever concerts in the People’s Republic.
He strongly refuted claims that State censors were allowed to remove what they saw as subversive protest songs from the running order of his shows. Although he’d been required to inform them of his intended set-list, Dylan said no alterations were asked for, or given.
“As far as censorship goes, the Chinese government had asked for the names of the songs that I would be playing,” he said. “There’s no logical answer to that, so we sent them the set lists from the previous three months. If there were any songs, verses or lines censored, nobody ever told me about it and we played all the songs that we intended.”
The 69-year-old singer, whose regular concerts these days tend to focus the more recent (and less popular) records from his 34-album back catalogue, also took issue with media suggestions that his music failed to strike a chord with locals.
“According to Mojo magazine the concerts were attended mostly by ex-pats and there were a lot of empty seats. Not true. If anybody wants to check with any of the concert-goers they will see that it was mostly Chinese young people that came. Very few ex-pats if any... Out of 13,000 seats we sold about 12,000 of them, and the rest of the tickets were given away to orphanages.”
It’s unclear what prompted Dylan’s personal statement, one of the first he’s ever issued via his website. One potential culprit was the New York Times columnist Maureen Down, who recently wrote a stern editorial criticising him for failing to mention the jailed artist Ai Wei Wei during his appearance. "He sang his censored set, took his pile of Communist cash and left," she wrote.
Art Piece taken off website amid 'severe security alert'
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated
tvAn expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle
artLee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
- 5 Narendra Modi: Indian Prime Minister wears suit with pinstripes that spell his name to meet Barack Obama
Ed Sheeran texts Noel Gallagher to offer him tickets after that Wembley Stadium rant
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
Taylor Swift banned from Triple J Hottest 100: Fans react to epic #Tay4Hottest100 defeat
Mortdecai becomes Johnny Depp's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Last Tango in Halifax, review: Can we ever really move on from Kate?
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now