Author Topic: How the US nearly turned to Bob Dylan to destroy communism  (Read 1099 times)

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How the US nearly turned to Bob Dylan to destroy communism

Musicians including Bob Dylan, Don McLean, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor were suggested as part of a plan by the US government to undermine communism in the Soviet Union in the 1970s.

Bob Dylan performing in 2001 Photo: TOM YSTHUUS / Rex Features

By Nick Allen, Los Angeles - 9:55PM BST 09 Apr 2013

 Communications from the US Embassy in Moscow, published by Wikileaks, suggested sending high profile rock and country music acts on tour, and also named artists Neil Young, Crosby Still & Nash and Carly Simon as potential performers to be approached.

In a memo sent to Washington in January 1975, headed "Cultural Presentations: Popular Music Group," the US Ambassador in Moscow Walter Stoessel Jr wrote: "Soul genre not of top interest here, and suggest priority consideration be given to soft rock, blues/rock or country rock."

In a follow up communication he said: "Previous country music efforts have succeeded in establishing acceptability of this genre and we believe time is right to expand musical horizons even further. Soft rock group or artist is logical next step, with possibility of country music group for 1976."

Stoessel said he believed "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."

He said that in addition to Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Don McLean and Joni Mitchell, who had already been discussed, he wished to suggest Neil Young, Crosby Stills & Nash, Carly Simon and Carole King "all with appropriate back-up groups."