Bob Dylan: Electric Exhibit in Chicago Explores Artist’s Mid-’60s Transformation

The Fender Strat that Dylan played at Newport in '65 is the exhibit's centerpiece.

[caption id="attachment_239237" align="alignnone" width="768"] Photo by Will Byington[/caption] Bob Dylan: Electric, a new exhibit curated by author Alan Light at the American Writers Museum in Chicago, features as its centerpiece the sunburst Fender Stratocaster electric guitar that Dylan controversially played at the largely acoustic Newport Folk Festival on July 25, 1965. In March of 1965, Dylan had released Bringing It All Back Home, foreshadowing what was soon to come with its electric Side 1 and acoustic Side 2. In May, his shows in England were filmed for D.A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back documentary. And that summer, he recorded and released Highway 61 Revisited. Light says 1965 was “the great leap forward” for Dylan. In studying the artifacts for the exhibit, he says, “It became clear how radical the shift is that’s happening day to day in a matter of months in his career.” Dylan archivist and collector Mitch Blank, who provided several artifacts for the exhibit, was in attendance that year at Newport. The electrified “Like A Rolling Stone,” which would soon open Side 1 of Highway 61 Revisited, was released as a single just a few days before Dylan’s electric Newport performance. “People weren’t that aware of what was…

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