Thursday, July 06, 2006

Bob Dylan At Newport

Another non-political thread.

I watched "No Direction Home" on PBS last night. It's a lovely documentary and I highly recommend it.

The most striking segment was Dylan's electric performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival. I had seen clips before but never of this length. Given the narrative up to that point of Dylan as the heir to Woody Guthrie, the sight of him backed by a full blues bland was shocking. It gave me some momentary empathy for those that booed him that night. It was so far removed from anything that was expected.

But that was Dylan.

As I listened to "Maggie's Farm" and "Like A Rolling Stone" it really struck me. A man singing complex folk-style lyrics over a blues backbeat. Revolutionary. Just a few years earlier, the Beatles had shook the world. They would again just a few years later with the seminal Sgt. Pepper's. But now I truly believe the most important moment in rock and roll was when Dylan strode on to that stage with a Fender stratocaster around his neck.

3 comments:

Blackjackk said...

Between Elvis & the Beatles there was Dylan. The Beatles heard "Like a Rolling Stone" and realized, hmmm, let's try something different. Hence "Rubber Soul".

There is no one as important to rock music and you named the defining moment.

I loved the English fans on that first tour with the Band who were just outraged at the audacity of the it all. Heckling him from the crowd but he kept right on playing.

Imagine if he hadn't got in the bike accident....

Johnny Webb said...

I saw that same Dylan documentary...it was real good..I liked those old clips of other musicians up in Greenwhich Village dern that time period, too....I just wish they had some decent concert footage of Hank Sr.

rlpants said...

Amazing Documentary. I picked up the soundtrack as well.

How's about the Royal Albert Hall(get this whole performance too if you can)heckle:

Crowd: "Judas!"

Dylan: I don't believe you."

Dylan to Band (if you listen close): "Play fu*king loud..." as the break into "Like a Rolling Stone." Genius.