Happy Birthday Bob Dylan!
Time magazine celebrates Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday (May 24) in their May 23rd issue with a two-page timeline highlighting some of his career achievements.
For example, in 1955, Time notes that the “14-year-old Bobby learns to play the guitar,” while in 1961, he “visits Woody Guthrie, who is dying of Huntington’s disease, in a New Jersey hospital. He then composes ‘Song to Woody,’ his ‘first song … of any substantial importance.’”
In 1965, Time mentions his appearance with a full band at Newport Folk Festival in July, where he “showcases his new electric sound, typified by ‘Like a Rolling Stone.’ Folkies call him a sellout, though reports of booing are greatly exaggerated. People might just as easily have been upset that this set lasted only 15 minutes.”
Accompanying this note is a photo of a Fender Strat, with the caption, “Who knew this would be so controversial?”
In an online Time article, Chris Gavomali elaborates on this game-changing moment and the legendary Stratocaster Dylan played at the festival.
“So when a young, defiantly-haired Bob Dylan—who had previously established himself as the festival’s darling in ’63 and ’64 with earnest, socially conscious anthems like ‘Blowing in the Wind,’ using no more than an acoustic guitar and a harmonica—sauntered onto the 1965 festival’s stage with a Fender Stratocaster strapped purposefully to his chest, it wasn’t only a big “F-you” to an aging folk establishment, but a watershed moment for pop music as a whole.”
Below, Jac Holzman, founder of Elektra Records, talks about Dylan’s 1965 Newport set.