OK, this is just a rant......

A tragic phenomenon that I have noted regularly since my teen years (the 1960's) is that the people who transcribed the lyrics of 60's rock songs for official publication (such as liner notes and sheet music) constantly made errors in their written lyrics, and usually the errors remain forever uncorrected.

For example: The other day I copied the "official" lyrics of "The Chimes of Freedom" off the official Bob Dylan website:

Chimes Of Freedom | The Official Bob Dylan Site

I'm fairly certain, though only from memory, that they are exactly the same lyrics that appeared in his original album's liner notes, and also in a Dylan songbook published in the 60's. And those written lyrics contain 16 mistakes, as I just now found by listening to Dylan's own recording from that album:


I remember, in the 60's, seeing errors in the published lyrics of other songs, too--songs by Dylan, the Rolling Stones, the Four Seasons, the Beach Boys--even the Beatles occasionally. And also in some songs from the 50's (Elvis Presley, etc). And what mainly bugs me about it is that nobody ever corrects the errors. Whenever there's a mistake in a song's printed words--even an obvious mistake--it will continue to appear in every copy published everywhere, even 40 and 50 years later. In fact, even spelling errors -- though not common -- are republished again and again, by different parties, without being corrected.

It isn't a case of errors being "copied and pasted"--because computers as we know them, and "pasting", didn't exist until years after the original errors were made. The only conclusion I can draw from this is that when people reprint something from an earlier published source, they just don't notice that it was written wrong.

And it appears, from all my experience, that this occurs far more often with song lyrics than with any other kind of texts. But it never happened with songs of the older, traditional "Tin Pan Alley" pop type, from the 1920's, 30's, and 40's. No. It began with rock'n'roll.

So, based on what I learned in the 60's about the music business, I have a suspicion about the cause of this revolting "cesspool of errors". I admit I can't prove it, but I think the blame lies with the old Tin Pan Alley sheet-music industry.

In the 50's and 60's, most music people -- record stores, record labels, producers -- recognized rock as a legitimate part of music along with old pop, classical, and jazz. But sheet-music publishers were all about tradition, and were still stuck in the 1930's and 40's. They published rock songs to make money, but they didn't LIKE rock songs. And they were the ones who did the transcribing. They would just play a record and write down the words that they heard; and if it was a rock record they didn't really pay attention when playing it, because they thought of rock as some kind of "garbage" that wasn't worth listening to, or transcribing carefully. Hence the cesspool of errors.