As early as 1965, Bob Dylan had become a top songwriter of the folk music revival in America. The response to his albums has been described by many as electric, which helped him become branded as the spokesperson of a generation.
However, on July 25- 1965, Bob Dylan met with the unexpected. Bob took to the stage in a black leather jacket, black boots and black jeans during the Newport Folk Festival. In his hand was a Fender Stratocaster and not an acoustic guitar, which was his favorite.
The crowd seemed restless, and they kept shifting as Bob was testing and tuning his Fender Stratocaster. He was then joined by a group of backup musicians.
After ensuring all was well, Bob and his team started the music, with Bob hitting his opening line from his favorite music: “I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s farm no more!”
There were mixed reactions from the crowd. And as reported by New York Times, a group of folk song purists roundly booed Bob. They regarded his sentiments as the worst form of heresy. One purist Pete Seeger is reported to have tried to cut the sound cables using an ax.
But, the music went on.
The fierce shock of the music overwhelmed some people. Some were stunned by the perverse reactions, while some were angry and dismayed. Still, there was a group of people who were crying and dancing their legs off while cheering.
Bob excited the dancers more, and as if he was challenging his doubters, he belted his brand new radio hit “Like a Rolling Stone,” with each chorus taking his opponent head-on, asking them: “How does it feel?”
This again attracted mixed reactions and feelings. Bob only did three songs then stepped down from the stage. The scream from the crowd became louder as he left the stage. Some people were angry that he betrayed them. Some were also happy with him, saying that at least they had managed to see their idol perform.
Finally, Bob once again appeared on stage, now with an acoustic guitar, which he had borrowed. He bid them farewell, saying, “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue….”