This Sunday (July 25) marks the 45th anniversary of an epochal musical event, a sort of rock equivalent of the first public performance of Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring” in 1913: Bob Dylan’s appearance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival backed by a full electric band.
At that brief, tumultuously received evening show, Dylan uncertainly faced his folk constituency backed by guitarist Mike Bloomfield, bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, plus organist Al Kooper and pianist Barry Goldberg.
The group played just three numbers — “Maggie’s Farm,” “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Phantom Engineer” (aka “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry”) — before retreating; Dylan returned to pacify the crowd with two acoustic numbers.
Dylan’s conversion to full-blown rock would have a marked effect on his contemporaries, most notably on the Beatles. SoundCheck wanted to commemorate the anniversary with a clip from Newport ’65, but a scan of YouTube, VEVO and Dylan’s own Web site indicate that Sony Music has scrubbed Murray Lerner’s festival footage off the Web. (It can be found on the 2007 DVD “The Other Side of the Mirror.”)
But Dylan in ’65 was as much about the attitude as he was about the music. So we offer a pair of clips that present the ‘tude-filled Dylan of ’65 from a couple of different filmic perspectives.