DYLAN SELLS OUT

That’s almost certainly a minority opinion but here’s how I see it.

First, the facts. It was reported that Mr. D, a sometimes Santa Monica resident (I know where his house is, nyah nyah nyah) just sold the publishing rights to his entire 60-year catalog, about 600 songs, to Universal Music Publishing Group for about… $400,000,000. Universal Music Publishing Group is also located in Santa Monica. Well, aren’t we special. Maybe he chose them so all those Brinks trucks full of silver dollars wouldn’t have to drive so far. You know, less chance of a flat tire or a stickup.

Dylan also owns a coffee shop and a Jewish temple here in SM. Special, special, special.

BBC estimated the undisclosed sale price at between $200M and $450M, “likely in the higher range.” Rolling Stone said their sources pegged it at $400M. Let’s just call it that.

Dylan’s current net worth is estimated at $200M. How often can you be that rich and then triple it with one stroke of a pen? Certainly, there is only one Bob Dylan and his songwriting contributions to our culture can’t be overstated. But, how much money does one human need? Does ANYone in the world need a billion dollars? Especially when so many, even here in the U.S., are going hungry? Hard core capitalists will declare hey, it’s his property, he can do whatever he wants with it.

I KNOW THAT

But just because you can do something, doesn’t mean you should. Some songs are just… different. Special. Uniquely meaningful to so many. For example, most of the songs by The Who are fair game, IMHO, but when an anthem like “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (beware “the new boss, same as the old boss”) is used to sell Nissan Maxima cars and Dish TV, there’s just something wrong with that, isn’t there? You did fool us, and now you’re throwing it in our faces. Dylan has dozens of those. Will teens be urged to send their vape smoke “blowin’ in the wind”? “Don’t Think Twice,” just book that vacay in Vegas? Noom commercials play “Ballad of a Thin Man”?

Not all rock stars succumb to that lure of more money than Midas. Our own John Densmore successfully fought efforts by other members of The Doors to license their songs. Neil Young, nearly Dylan’s age, still acts like a passionate young radical. Jimmy Buffett put on a free concert right next to a Trump rally in Florida, and our own Jackson Browne has been doing benefits all his career, lots of them.

ONE ARGUMENT IS VALID

That at nearly 80, Bob has surely been thinking about what happens to his empire after he’s gone. Tracking down all the usage of songs, in films, commercials, on radio, covered by other artists, is a huge job. He’s had his own organization doing it for the U.S. but even overseeing that is a big headache he may not want to pass on to his kids. Letting them split a check for 400 mil is so much more fun. Today digital rights are the gold mine of the new music biz. Values have skyrocketed. Stevie Nicks recently sold 80 percent rights to her catalog for $100M.

So it’s a new morning for Bob, no longer tangled up in green. As The Who sang, “I’m Free!”

WHAT A SHOW!

Yes it’s true that I have shied away from recommending virtual performances. I feel so guilty for not supporting the performers and the venues who are hurting so much right now, but, well, it’s a personal strong preference.

But I’m making up for it here, because this benefit is so varied, with so many great performers. Yet another local musician, and writer, radio show host, comedian, producer, documentary filmmaker and so many voices on The Simpsons, Harry Shearer, puts on a variety extravaganza every Christmastime for the past 14 years, this time to benefit “US and UK music communities that have been devastated due to the cancellation of live shows and the closure of venues.” “Christmas Without Tears,” is produced online by and co-starring Harry’s very talented, very funny wife, singer-songwriter Judith Owen.

Here are some of the reasons to buy a ticket: Richard Thompson, John Goodman, Paul Shaffer, Steely Dan’s Donald Fagen, comedian-stripper Trixie Minx, Toto founder Steve Lukather with Ringo Starr, Jeff Goldblum, paranormal phenom Clinton Baptiste, Kermit Ruffins, Chris Difford of Squeeze, London’s Queen of Cabaret Miss Hope Springs, Mad Man Bryan Batt, bearded bass master Leland Sklar, and house band CJ Vanston (of Spinal Tap).

Wait! Just added! Catherine O’Hara, Doña Oxford (don’t miss!), Sex & the City’s Mario Cantone, the enchanting Gaby Moreno, and so many more you may never have heard of but they will knock you out, and — a special tribute to Fred Willard.

TOMORROW! – Friday, Dec 11, 2:00 p.m. PST, “A Very Virtual Christmas Without Tears,” @ nugs.net (ticket good for unlimited listening/watching for 48 hours).

WHAT A HOLIDAY GIFT!

Here’s something I’ve never done in my column, especially the music one, but these are unusual times, and time’s a-runnin’ out.

Are you still sweating gifts, online, without the benefit of in-person shopping? Well here’s something easy on you and should thrill your pet-igreed friends and family.

Is that dog, or cat, or even horse, pig or python, like family to your dear friend? How thrilled do you think they would be with a striking hand-painted portrait of Rover or Monty, from a superb Dutch painter?

No, not Rembrandt, Bosch or van Gogh. They’re dead, silly. But my cousin Roos (Rose) turned back to her love of painting when COVID collapsed her headhunter business, and while she’s great at people she’s an avid horse owner and lives in the country and loves to paint critters. Oil or acrylic.

Info at roossluis.com. She generally paints them about 12” square (like an LP cover) but can go any size, say 5’x7’, like she did for her boyfriend Henri’s portrait. (I don’t know where they’re going to put that one.)

She’s not cheap, but really good never is, is it? This is an heirloom gift that will be around longer than the pet, something to consider. Henri?

Charles Andrews has listened to a lot of music of all kinds, including more than 2,500 live shows. He has lived in Santa Monica for 34 years and wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. Really. Send love and/or rebuke to him at therealmrmusic@gmail.com