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Billy & Bruce & Bob

December 14, 1986

Aw, come on!

Even you guys must realize by now that critic Hilburn is very ill. To say Billy Joel wrote two good songs is to acknowledge hardening of the critical faculties.

But worse, to fault a songwriter for being derivative reveals astonishingly advanced senility for one so young. Nobody who makes a living out of writing about music would make such a claim were they in good mental health.

All music is derivative.

Grieg was derivative, so too were Bach and Wagner and Mozart. The Beatles were derivative. The Rolling Stones are derivative . . . and, land sakes, oh my gosh, even Bruce Springsteen is derivative.

An average student of popular music can hear Phil Spector, Freddy Cannon, a little Dylan and even Woody Guthrie in his music, to mention but a few.

Critic Hilburn needs to define creativity before he tackles anybody's artistic achievements for good or bad review. Try this, sir: Creativity is the original application of existing ideas and materials.

JOHN TORV

Los Angeles

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