Newport Folk Festival

July 25, 1965

Maggies Farm
Like a Rolling Stone
It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry
It's All Over Now, Baby Blue
Mr Tambourine Man
This is it. This is Dylan's very first electric public appearance. This was also the appearance that began a yearlong period of hostility between Dylan and his audience. According to most reports, Dylan was booed off the stage. According to Dylan himself, he had only intended to perform three songs anyway and the whole electric part of the set was impromptu. According to others (source: Robert Shelton's "No Direction Home") Dylan was devastated by the audience's rejection of his new music and couldn't continue after the first three songs, and only came back onstage after much coaxing. There are many myths built up around this show, but for a real firsthand look at this controversy, see here. Perhaps this will set the record straight.

Contrary to popular belief, this isn't the Paul Butterfield Blues Band backing Dylan. It's Mike Bloomfield on electric guitar, Al Kooper on piano, Barry Goldberg on organ, Jerome Arnold on electric bass, and Sam Lay on drums. All but Kooper and Goldberg were members of the Butterfield band, so that is where the misconception comes from. The Butterfield band were also appearing at the festival, so it was natural that Dylan would suppose there would be nothing wrong with teaming up for a set.

Maggie's Farm and the rocking version of It Takes a Lot To Laugh are great but a little monotonous after awhile because of Bloomfield's similar guitar licks throughout, but the real highlight of the three song electric set is Like a Rolling Stone which had just been released as a single and was climbing the charts. This version is closer to the original recording than any other and comes off very good except for a few minor glitches with the organ part. The drums are very weird here, sounding more like a march than a rock song, and the ending just sort of peters out - but still a great version! After the electric set Dylan returns for excellent renditions of two of the best songs from the Bringing It All Back Home album. During Mr. Tambourine Man he asks the audience if anyone has an E harmonica and someone in the audience obliges by tossing one up on stage.

Excellent PA sound throughout, probably due to the fact that Dylan's set (among others) was being filmed for a documentary about the festival, eventually released as Festival. Brief portions of Dylan's set appear in the film.


  • Live In Newport 1965
  • Folk Rogue


  • Passed Over and Rolling Thunder
  • St. Valentine's Day Massacre and More

Bring It All Back Home Back to Tape Index