Press Release: Dylan Goes Electric! by Elijah Wald published to mark 50th anniversary of Newport Folk Festival 1965

Dylan Goes Electric! Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night that Split the Sixties by Elijah Wald 
Published 13 August 2015, HarperCollins 360, £16.99 Hardback Order now

Praise for Dylan Goes Electric!

‘It is a great work of scholarship, brimming with insight – among the best music books I have ever read’.
John Harris, The Guardian 

‘With…Wald’s unswervingly measured tone, lucid style and disdain for sensationalism, Dylan Goes Electric! may be his best yet, digging deeper into well-trodden ground than ever before, finding all sorts of nuggets to modify the myth.’
Mat Snow, Mojo *****

‘It’s to Wald’s credit that I finished the book unsure whether I would have cheered, booed or had the wisdom to be ambivalent.’
Dorian Lynskey, The Spectator

‘A small miracle….if you only ever read one Bob Dylan book ever again, make it this one’
Andy Childs, Caught by the River

‘Wald examines the entire three-day festival in forensic detail, placing the headline historical event in a thorough context’
Andy Gill, The Independent 

Published to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the event, one of the music world’s pre-eminent critics provides a fresh and much-needed look at the day Dylan “went electric” at the Newport Folk Festival. On the evening of July 25, 1965, Bob Dylan took the stage at Newport Folk Festival, backed by an electric band, and roared into his new rock hit, Like a Rolling Stone. The audience of committed folk purists and political activists who had hailed him as their acoustic prophet reacted with a mix of shock, booing, and scattered cheers. It was the shot heard round the world—Dylan’s declaration of musical independence, the end of the folk revival, and the birth of rock as the voice of a generation—and one of the defining moments in twentieth-century music.

In Dylan Goes Electric!, Elijah Wald explores the cultural, political and historical context of this seminal event that embodies the transformative decade that was the ‘60s. Wald delves deep into the folk revival, the rise of rock, and the tensions between traditional and groundbreaking music to provide new insights into Dylan’s artistic evolution; from his special affinity to blues, to his complex relationship to the folk establishment and his sometime mentor Pete Seeger, to the ways he reshaped popular music forever. Breaking new ground on a story we think we know, Dylan Goes Electric! is a thoughtful, sharp appraisal of the controversial event at Newport and a nuanced, provocative, analysis of why it matters. The book also features a number of previously unseen as well as rare images of Bob Dylan at Newport Folk Festival between 1963-1965. In 2015 Newport Folk Festival will also mark the anniversary of Dylan going electric with a secret line up of artists billed as ’65 Revisited, where Elijah Wald will also launch the book.

Elijah Wald is a writer and musician with twenty years of experience covering roots and world music. He was writer and consultant on the Smithsonian multimedia project The Mississippi: River of Song, and is the author of MacDougal Street, inspiration for the film, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Escaping the Delta about Robert Johnson. He is the winner of a Grammy Award, an ASCAP-Deems Taylor award and the American Musicological Society’s Otto Kinkeldey award; has taught blues and history at UCLA; and travelled widely as a speaker on American popular music. Dylan Goes Electric! Newport, Seeger, Dylan and the Night That Split the Sixties by Elijah Wald is available for serialisation and Elijah Wald is available for features and interviews.

For advance copies and all publicity enquires please contact Becky Fincham