Last Thursday, July 25th was the anniversary of a big day in rock ’n roll history. Actually it was a big night.
On that date, 54 years ago in 1965, Bob Dylan appeared at the Newport Folk Festival with a full band (the rhythm section from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band along with Mike Bloomfield on guitar and Al Kooper on organ) with electric guitars plugged into amplifiers and played his new rock ‘n roll styled songs.
If you weren’t around at the time you may be thinking, “So what?”
Well back then it was a big deal.
Bob Dylan was considered a folk musician and people in the folk world didn’t take too kindly to rock ’n roll. Especially in 1965 which was the height of the “British Invasion,” which was stealing a good portion of their audience.
Bob Dylan was smart enough to see the writing on the wall and five days before the Newport Folk Festival, he released his first, full-fledged rock ’n roll single, the blistering, “Like A Rolling Stone.”
A lot of people in the folk scene considered him a traitor to their movement and the shit hit the fan at the Newport Folk Festival and you can read all about it in the six links below.
And then you can check out what’s happening on the blog next week in the MBIP Coming Attractions!
Remembering When Bob Dylan Shocked The World By Going Electric, On This Day In 1965 - This is a good article about the infamous evening and there’s three videos within it showing Dylan at the Newport Festival in 1963, 1964 and when he went electric in 1965.
July 25, 1965: Dylan Goes Electric at the Newport Folk Festival - It’s noted in this feature that Dylan actually came full circle that evening, because he started his music career playing in rock and roll bands.
Newport Folk Festival Marks 50 Years Since Bob Dylan Went Electric - Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul and Mary, introduced Dylan at the concert and he shares his memories in this article.
Revisit Bob Dylan’s electric performance at Newport Folk Festival 50 years later - This article has more videos plus the entire set list from the show.
Did Fans Really Boo Because Bob Dylan Went Electric At Newport? - The answer to that question isn’t blowing in the wind, it’s answered in the article by the guy playing organ at the concert, Al Kooper!
Review: ‘Dylan Goes Electric!’ Considers Folk, Rock and a ’60s Divide - Writer Elijah Wald wrote an entire book about the controversial Dylan set and this is the review of the book by Janet Maslin of the NY Times.