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Dylan’s Guitar from Newport Folk Fest to be Auctioned

Sunburst Fender Stratocaster Dylan wielded when he ‘went electric’ to be sold at auction


It was one of the most pivotal moments of the Sixties when after completing his three-song acoustic folk set at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan announced that he would be bringing out “some friends.”


Joined by a band of electric powered backup musicians, the folk icon ditched his battered acoustic guitar for a sunburst Fender Stratocaster and launched into a three-song set that changed the face of popular music forever. Dylan, darling of the academically anti-establishment folk scene had “gone electric” and in doing so, married the politics and intelligence of folk with the attitude, energy, and yes, electricity of rock and roll.


He was greeted by a chorus of boos for his efforts and after three songs – “Maggie’s Farm,” “Like a Rolling Stone,” and “Phantom Engineer,” – Dylan and the band exited.


The folksinger who’d effectively just “come out” as a rock and roller returned, acoustic in hand, and gave the crowd a solo rendition of “It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” and then departed, having made history and pissed off legions of folk purists in the process.


Now the sunburst Strat Dylan wielded onstage on that day in 1965 is coming up for auction at Christie’s in New York City on December 6. Five lots of handwritten lyrics, that were discovered inside the guitar’s case, are also being sold. The lyrics are expected to fetch anywhere from$3,000 to $30,000. The guitar could easily go for half a million dollars.


Here’s a video clip that shows Dylan onstage that day as well as some of the pressures and controversies that surrounded him at Newport that year, as he took it upon himself to single-handedly turn a page in popular culture.



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