Before he took the stage at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival-the annual event that had given him his initial real national exposure 1 year earlier-Bob Dylan was introduced by Ronnie Gilbert, an associate of The Weavers: “And here he is…take him, you know him, he’s yours.” In his 2004 memoir, Chronicles: Volume One, Dylan would create about how exactly he “failed to sense the ominous forebodings in the introduction.” One year later, he’d discover precisely how possessive the Newport audiences felt toward him. On today in 1965, Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival, performing a rock-and-roll set publicly for the extremely first-time although a chorus of shouts and boos rained down on him from the dismayed audience.
Six weeks earlier, Bob Dylan had recorded the single that marked his re-locate of acoustic folk and in to the idiom of electrified stone. “Like A Rolling Stone” had only been released 5 days before his look at Newport, however, so most in no thought was had by the audience what lay waiting for you for them. Neither did festival organizers, who was simply as surprised to see Dylan’s crew establishing heavy sound gear throughout sound check as that evening’s audience is always to hear what arrived of it.
With guitarist Al Kooper and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band backing him, Dylan took to the level along with his Fender Stratocaster on the evening of July 25 and launched into an electrified version of “Maggie’s Farm.” Almost immediately, the jeering and yelling from the audience grew loud adequate almost to drown out the sound of Dylan and his band. It has been stated by some who witnessed the historic functionality that a few of the yelling from the audience that night was concerning the terrible sound quality of the performance-overloud generally and mixed so poorly that Dylan’s vocals have already been unintelligible. But what prompted the outright booing-even over Dylan’s next quantity, the now-classic “Like A Rolling Stone”-was a feeling of dismay and betrayal on the element of an audience unprepared for the singer’s new artistic path.
And what did the person himself believe of the unfriendly reception he received from what will need to have been the friendliest of audiences? Some say he was extremely shaken at that time, but with four decades of hindsight, his feelings have already been clear. Reflecting on Ronnie Gilbert’s “Take him, he’s yours” comment, Dylan wrote, “What a crazy thing to say! Screw that. As far as I knew, I didn’t belong to anybody then or now.”