'Blowing in the Wind'

Freshmen Deny Dylan Wrote Song

(From page 4 of the November 13, 1963 edition of The Daily Princetonian.)

November 13, 1963 — If Bob Dylan sings "Blowing in the Wind" at his midnight concert Saturday, two loud hisses may accompany the applause.

The noise, if any, will come from Stephen A. Oxman ’67 and Richard W. Erdman ’67, who contest Dylan’s claim that he wrote the hit parade favorite.

Dylan holds the copyright to the song, and by law at least is the man who wrote it.

Oxman and Erdman claim the real credit belongs to a former classmate of theirs, Lorre Wyatt.

Now at the University of Akron majoring in music, Wyatt headed the Millburnaires, the octet of Millburn (N.J.) High School, and wrote wrote many of its numbers himself.

According to fellow members Oxman and Erdman, Wyatt wrote "Blowing in the Wind" early in September a year ago, and had it performed by the octet as early as Oct. 6.

Dylan did not secure his copyright until later in the fall, and his recording did not come out until winter.

Since then the song has been recorded by the Chad Mitchell Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary, but each group has paid Dylan royalities.

As Oxman understands it, Wyatt traveled to New York that November and sold the song outright to Dylan.

The reported price was $1000, all of which Wyatt is said to have donated to CARE.

Wyatt has since denied the transaction in a recent "Newsweek" article, but Oxman pointed out that he could not claim credit legally if Dylan holds the copyright.

"Of course he denied authorship," explained Oxman. "He’d get himself in trouble if he didn’t."

Partial confirmation of Oxman’s story comes from Gabriel Chiodo, music director at Millburn High.

Chiodo reports that he heard the Millburniares sing "Blowing in the Wind" long before the Dylan version came out. On the other hand, Chiodo has no idea how Dylan and Wyatt stumbled on the same number before a recording was issued.

What none of the Millburn party can explain is the fact that Dylan knew a song entitled "Blowing in the Wind" as early as June 1962 — two months before Wyatt’s reported composition date.

New York’s ASCAP, an association for singers and composers, reports that Dylan registered a song of the same name in July, pending a copyright.

What they or no one else seems to know is whether the two songs are the same.

Oxman does not want to hear the concert, but expects to go anyway because his date is a Dylan fan. Erdman would like to attend, in the hopes of confronting Dylan with his evidence.

Neither had bought tickets by 3 p.m. yesterday, however, when McCarter reported only 43 left.

Copyrights notwithstanding, Wyatt’s octet has recorded an LP album called "A Time to Sing," which includes the song in question.

During the summer, the album was released on a national basis, this time under "Teenage Hootenanny."

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