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On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival. Backed by an electric band, he roared into a blistering version of “Maggie’s Farm,” followed by his new rock single, “Like a Rolling Stone.” The audience of committed folk purists and political activists who had hailed him as their acoustic prophet reacted with a mix of shock, boos, and scattered cheers. It was the shot heard round the world-Dylan’s declaration of musical independence, the end of the folk revival, and the birth of rock as the voice of a generation-and one of the defining moments in twentieth-century music.In Dylan Goes Electric! Elijah Wald explores the cultural, political, and historical roots and impact of this seminal event. He delves deep into the folk revival and its intersections with the civil rights movement, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide important insights into Dylan’s artistic evolution, his special affinity to blues, his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime mentor Pete Seeger, and the ways he reshaped popular music forever.
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