In the 1964
At the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, the annual folk music festival where Bob Dylan made his name, was still a folk musician in the shadow of the Weavers and Woody Guthrie. Ronnie Gilbert, a member of The Weavers, a Greenwich Village Folk art music band, introduced him and made a tactical mistake by saying to the audience “And here he is… take him, you know him, he’s yours.”
Fast Forward same place a year later
A year later, on July 25 1965, at the same venue, Dylan, who had an entire year to stew on that comment, went electric. The chart below shows the approximate time of introduction and Dylan’s (the Sun) appearance. They are in direct opposition with Dylan as 02 Leo 47 coming to Newport as the acknowledged king of the folk music scene. That bothered Ronnie Gilbert and the Weavers (Pete Seeger was a co-founder) as did Dylan’s commercial success when they had been working it at for nearly twenty years and still had a small, though dedicated, following but could not break through on radio.
But Gilbert was wrong in his analysis.
The Weavers had been a political folk group, and built up an extensive repertoire of traditional folk ballads, adding in their own. They played to standing room crowds at the Village Vanguard in Greenwich Village, New York City and were commercially successful, but they undermined their own achievements with their open Communist leanings and lyrics. (Pete Seeger did not deny this later on in his career) The Weavers were blacklisted and forced to disband from 1952 to 1955.
The House Committee on Un-American Activities called Pete Seeger and Lee Hays to answer for their lyrics and their popularity in Better Dead than Red America languished.
Dylan never wrote openly Marxist lines though ten years after Newport, he came out with “Desire” and his popular tune “Hurricane” defending Rubin Hurricane Carter from a serial murder rap . Alas, Carter was guilty and Dylan got mocked for it, but the music was excellent and still made AOR radio. Why people expect artists,actors and musicians all who lie on the bohemian side of the spectrum, or are outright hustlers, to be politically savvy, is something I have never understood.
Back to Newport where it all began
We return to Newport.
The chart below for Dylan going electric. It has no T-Square or Cross, thus the opposition stands on its own as striking statement why he broke with the Folk crowd. Saturn, the symbol for established Folk Music listeners aka Folkies, against the plethora of modern planets in the seventh house shows how well Dylan’s his decision went in Newport that day, as he brought them kicking and screaming into the twentieth century with its T-Square to the Nodes; some liked it some didn’t.
Neverthless, Mars in the eighth house, sextile the Sun, shows Dylan had made an irreversible break with the Folkies, and was not going back to “Maggie’s Farm no more.”