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 ...
As detailed in Clinton Heylin's biography Behind the Shades, musician Tony Glover visited Bob Dylan's New York apartment in early October 1963 and stumbled across the lyrics to a new song, "The Times They Are A-Changin'." When Glover expressed reservations about the line "Come senators, congressmen, please heed the call," Dylan countered, "Well, you know, it seems to be what the people want to hear."
Dylan had recorded a publishing demo the previous month and recorded the song officially on October 24. Though the Times They Are A-Changin' album wasn't released until mid-January 1964, Dylan performed the song in concert throughout the fall of 1963.
His ambivalence about the song colors his divergent recollections. Discussing "The Times They Are A-Changin'" in the notes for the mid-Eighties Biograph retrospective, Dylan stated, "This was definitely a song with a purpose. I knew exactly what I wanted to say and for whom I wanted to say it to.... I wanted to write a big song, some kind of theme song, ya know, with short concise verses that piled up on each other in a hypnotic way....I had to play this song the same night that President Kennedy died. It ...
The Band, more than any other group, put rock and roll back in touch with its roots. With their ageless songs and solid grasp of musical idioms, the Band reached across the decades, making connections for a generation that was, as an era of violent cultural schisms wound down, in desperate search of them. They projected a sense of community in the turbulent late 60s and early 70s – a time when the fabric of community in the United States was fraying. Guitarist Robbie Robertson drew from history in his evocative, cinematic story–songs, and the vocal triumvirate of bassist Rick Danko, drummer Levon Helm and keyboardist Richard Manuel joined in rustic harmony and traded lines in rich, conversational exchanges. Multi-instrumentalist Garth Hudson provided musical coloration in period styles that evoked everything from rural carnivals of the early 20th century to rock and roll revues of the 50s.
In an era of divisive politics, the Band produced music that crossed generational and historical borders. They did so with an ensemble brilliance borne of many years spent playing on the road.
Everything great about the Band can be found on "The Weight," the central piece of their 1968 debut, Music From Big ...
With a hastily assembled band, Bob Dylan changed the course of popular music in three songs on Sunday, July 25, 1965. The folk bard and 1988 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee turned the Newport Folk Festival on its ear, plugging in and delivering amplified versions of "Maggie's Farm," "Like a Rolling Stone" and "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" – much to the chagrin of many in attendance.
Dylan's electrified Newport set in 1965 was a marked departure from his '63 show, where he played acoustic versions of "Blowin' in the Wind;" and '64 performances at the same festival, where he played acoustic versions of "With God on Our Side" and "Mr. Tambourine Man."
"Ladies and gentlemen, the person that's going to come up now has a limited amount of time ... His name is Bob Dylan," festival emcee Peter Yarrow announced. Taking the stage with a full band that included guitarist Mike Bloomfield and organist Al Kooper – both of whom had played on the recording of Dylan's recently released single "Like A Rolling Stone" – Dylan and company launched into a rollicking version of "Maggie's Farm," earning a barrage ...
On November 2, 2011, Hall of Fame inductee Spooner Oldham spoke with and performed for a sold-out audience in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's Foster Theater. Oldham is a linchpin of Southern Soul and the Alabama sound, a fixture of famed Muscle Shoals and FAME studios, where his keyboard playing enlivened some of the biggest rock and roll songs of the past 50 years, including Aretha Franklin's "I Never Loved a Man," Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" and Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman." Together with singer-songwriter Dan Penn, Spooner contributed a number of classics to the canon of rock, co-writing "Cry Like a Baby" by the Box Tops, "It Tears Me Up" by Percy Sledge and "I'm Your Puppet" by James and Bobby Purify.
Born Dewey Lyndon "Spooner" Oldham in Center Star, Alabama, Oldham is one of rock's most in-demand players, appearing on records and tours with luminaries such as Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and Neil Young, in addition to newer act Drive-By Truckers.
During his Hall of Fame series interview with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum director of education Jason Hanley, Oldham talked about ...
Today is Bob Dylan’s 70th birthday! It’s hard to believe that rock’s poet laureate has been making music for a half-century! To celebrate his birthday, Rolling Stone magazine put together a panel of 13 music writers and musicians to select Dylan’s 70 greatest songs. I was extremely honored to have been a part of that panel. Each panelist had to submit a list of their top 25 Bob Dylan songs. My list featured “Like a Rolling Stone” at number one. I guess the other panelists agreed, as that song was number one in the final rankings. The song was really revolutionary. Even though it clocked in at more than six minutes, it became a hit, reaching Number Two on the charts. The musicianship, as Bono wrote in his Rolling Stone essay about the song, “is so alive and immediate that it’s like you’re getting to see the paint splash the canvas.” But most important are the lyrics, as Dylan attacks the “all the pretty people,” the ones “thinkin’ they got it made.”
The rest of my top ten was as follows: “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “Tangled Up in Blue,” “Mr. Tambourine Man,” “Subterranean Homesick ...
This is the fourth clip in a series of eight interview audio clips with Springsteen that we will post over the next several weeks.
In this portion of my interview, Bruce Springsteen talks about the recording session he did when he was auditioning for Columbia Records. The session took place on May 2, 1972. The “John” who Bruce refers to is the legendary A&R man John Hammond, who oversaw the session and, ultimately, signed Bruce to Columbia. A Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Hammond also signed Bob Dylan and played a major role in launching the careers of Billie Holiday, Count Basie, Stevie Ray Vaughan and countless others. The Springsteen exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum includes the original tapes and tape boxes from the audition session. In addition, a listening station in the exhibit enables visitors to listen to eight of the songs Bruce recorded that day.
Check back next week for interview clip number five where Bruce Springsteen talks about his famed Fender Esquire guitar, which is currently on display at ...