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Bob the Electric Eccentric

Luke Kenny reminisces about Bob Dylan's stage debut, songs and more.

music Updated: Jul 26, 2011 18:40 IST
Luke Kenny

This day marks a rather unique event in music history. The year was 1965 at the Newport Folk Music Festival in the US, famous for its folk artistes such as Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie and one Bob Dylan. Now Bob was quite a permanent fixture on the American Folk music scene, having already released three folk albums until that time, including ‘The freewheeling Bob Dylan’ and ‘The times they are a-changing’.



So, on this one night in 1965, Bob Dylan came on stage solo with his guitar and harmonica and proceeded to belt out his initial set of songs that comprised, ‘All I really wanna do...’, ‘If you gotta go, go now...’ and ‘Love minus zero...’ and then just like that, spontaneously, he called a band onstage, picked up an electric guitar, plugged it in and did the rest of his set ‘electric’.


And that one night changed folk music (and singer-songwriter music) forever.

Bob Marley

The orthodox concept of folk music being just words/stories with minimal instrumentation went out of the window. Bob Dylan went from being the great white hope of American folk music to a full blown rock n roll star, much to the dismay and disappointment of the purists. Later, it was learnt that it was a premeditated effort on Dylan’s part to give the snooty ‘folkies’ the middle finger. Just as well.



So here’s to a trailblazing event that literally ‘electrified’ pop culture all those years ago… if I may say so.

English Review
Bob the Electric Eccentric

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