Photo from the Philadelphia Inquirer collection at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's Library & Archives
“I don’t believe you. You’re a liar.”
“Play f*cking loud.”
This was the simple yet striking dialogue between a fan and Bob Dylan 50 years ago (May 17, 1966) at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, and in my opinion this is the single greatest moment captured on tape at a rock concert.
The voice of the betrayed fan is a like a shot in the dark, accusing Dylan of turning his back his protest-song-singing past, which in retrospect barely lasted four years. However, it was a transition that the folk community that accepted and propelled Dylan was unwilling to recognize.
When I was a new Dylan fan in the mid-1990s, this concert was the bootleg to acquire. At that time there was still a debate over where the show actually took place – in Manchester or at the Royal Albert Hall in London. I ended up buying a compilation of tracks from the May 1966 tour of England, and I didn’t hear the full concert until it was released by Columbia as the 4th volume of Dylan’s Bootleg Series ...
After countless hours researching, interviewing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Paul Simon and collecting for Paul Simon: Words and Music, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum lead curator Craig Inciardi shares some of his favorite things in the new Paul Simon feature exhibit, which opened October 30, 2014.
1. Paul Simon's First Acoustic Guitar
All musicians get their start somewhere. On his 13th birthday, Paul Simon received his first guitar as a gift from his father Louis Simon, who was a musician. His father taught him a few chords and Simon quickly realized that many of the popular songs from the 1950s – the ones he was listening to – used the same chords and patterns. He and childhood friend Art Garfunkel began to write songs using those voicings. The first song they wrote using the Stadium brand acoustic guitar was called “The Girl for Me.”
2. Letter from Paul Simon to Art Garfunkel
Paul Simon wrote this letter dated August 13, 1957, when he was attending summer camp in Bellport, New York. Art Garfunkel was at different summer camp in New Jersey, and it was a pivotal moment in their young lives. They had been singing ...
The musical odyssey of Cat Stevens is well documented, from teenage London art school songsmith (“The First Cut Is The Deepest,” the Tremeloes’ “Here Comes My Baby”) to introspective cornerstone of the 1970s singer-songwriter movement. Who can measure the courage it took him in the late 70s, after seven years of multi-platinum success in the U.S. (and over a decade in the UK) to convert to Islam, amidst the wave of turmoil and confusion that was engulfing the world? He left his touring and recording life behind and named himself Yusuf Islam. Inevitably, many longtime fans abandoned him, and he found certain international borders closed and worse yet, controversies on his doorstep despite his humanist background. It was 17 difficult years between his final LP as Cat Stevens (1978’s Back To Earth), and the first CD as Yusuf and more than a decade until his first pop album in nearly 30 years (An Other Cup in 2006). “When I accepted Islam,” he told Rolling Stone, “a lot of people couldn’t understand. To my fans it seemed that my entering Islam was the direct cause of me leaving the music business, so many people were upset. However, I ...
On the week of January 1, 1966, Simon and Garfunkel started a weeklong run at Number One on the Billboard charts with "The Sounds Of Silence." They were knocked out of that spot on January 8 by the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out," but returned to the Number One slot for one more week on January 22.
Simon and Garfunkel started as Tom and Jerry, Everly Brothers wannabees from Queens, New York. They had a minor 1957 hit with "Hey, Schoolgirl" (Number 49 on Billboard charts), and seemed destined for footnote status in the saga of rock and roll's golden age. After years apart, they resurfaced under their real names as topical folk singers. In the fall of 1964, Simon and Garfunkel released an acoustic album called Wednesday Morning 3 A.M., which included an arrangement of "The Sounds of Silence" that only included vocals and acoustic guitar.
With the folk revival all but over, the record was universally ignored and the duo again split. Folk rock hit a year later, and Wednesday Morning 3 A.M.'s producer Tom Wilson (concurrently helping Bob Dylan "go electric") overdubbed a rock backing track on "The Sounds of Silence ...