Edinburgh World Heritage - News Article

 

Archive Anecdotes

Snippets from the city's archives


May 20, 2016

Fifty years ago, on 20 May 1966, Bob Dylan played a sell-out gig in the ABC Cinema on Lothian Road as part of his famous World Tour. The concert was however interrupted by an unusual musical demonstration. As Dylan moved from the acoustic section of his concert to his newly developed ‘electric set’, his biographer informs us that: ‘a section of the audience in prearranged protest produced their own harmonicas to drown out the band’.

These were mainly folk enthusiasts alienated by Dylan’s decision to go ‘electric’ influenced by the electric guitar music of rock in the sixties. Critics accused Dylan of ‘sacrificing lyric and melody to the God of big beat’ and Melody Maker commented that ‘it was unbelievable to see a hip swinging Dylan trying  to look like Mick Jagger’.

Protests elsewhere were more vitriolic: slow handclapping and shouts of 'traitor’ in Dublin; jeering in Paris; orchestrated walk-outs at many venues including Manchester where one fan famously shouted ‘Judas’ as he left the theatre.

In contrast Edinburgh’s protest appears more civilised and creative.

The National Gallery of Scotland holds a photo of Dylan walking in Princes Street before the gig. Click here to view.

Sources: Rough Guide to Bob Dylan, Nigel Williamson. 2004; Photo of Dylan from album 'Blonde on Blonde' 1966 Wikipedia Fair Use; Photo of ABC in 1970s courtesy of Cinema Treasures (Creative Commons Licence).

 



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