Dylan’s electric guitar sells for nearly $1 million


NEW YORK (AP) — The Fender Stratocaster that Bob Dylanplugged in when he famously went electric at
the 1965 Newport FolkFestival sold Friday for nearly $1 million — the highest price ever paidfor a guitar at
auction.Christie’s auction house did notimmediately identify the absentee buyer who agreed to pay $965,000
forthe sunburst-finish guitar.Dylan’s legendary performance at thefestival in Rhode Island 48 years ago
marked his rupture with the folkmovement’s old guard and solidified his shift away from acoustic music,like
"Blowin’ in the Wind," to electric rock ‘n’ roll, such as "Like aRolling Stone."The
raucous, three-song electric set was booed by some in the crowd, and folk purists saw Dylan as a traitor and
a sellout.ButDylan’s "going electric changed the structure of folk music," saidNewport Folk
Festival founder George Wein, 88. "The minute Dylan wentelectric, all these young people said, ‘Bobby’s
going electric. We’regoing electric, too.’"Christie’s had expected the guitar, whichwas sold with its
original black leather strap and Fender hard shellcase, to go for far less: $300,000 to $500,000.The
previousrecord for a guitar sold at auction was held by Eric Clapton’s Fender,nicknamed "Blackie,"
which sold at Christie’s for $959,500 in 2004.Dylan’sguitar had been in the possession of a New Jersey
family for nearly 50years after the singer left it on a private plane.The pilot’sdaughter, Dawn Peterson of
Morris County, N.J., said that her fatherasked Dylan’s management what to do with the instrument, but nobody
evergot back to him.Last year, she took it to the PBS show "HistoryDetectives" to have it
authenticated, and rock-memorabilia expertsmatched its telltale wood grain to close-up color photos of
Dylan’sinstrument taken during the 1965 festival.Dylan’s attorney andhis publicist didn’t respond to email
and phone requests for comment.Dylan and Peterson, who declined to be interviewed, recently settled alegal
dispute over the items. The terms weren’t disclosed.Dylan’sNewport performance — like Elvis Presley’s
above-the-hips appearance on"The Ed Sullivan Show," or the Beatles’ arrival in America,
orWoodstock — is regarded as one of the milestone moments in rock history.By going electric, Dylan helped
lead a movement that gave rock ‘n’ roll lyrics the density and ambiguity of literature.Exactlywhat happened
at the festival on July 25, 1965, has become enshroudedin legend, and to this day, the debate persists over
whether those whobooed were angry over Dylan’s electric turn or were upset over the soundquality or the
brief set.Backed by a band that included MikeBloomfield on guitar and Al Kooper on organ, Dylan played such
songs as"Maggie’s Farm" and "Like a Rolling Stone." He returned for an acousticencore
with "It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue."Legend has it thatPete Seeger, one of the elder statesmen of
the folk movement, was soangry that he tried to pull the plug on the electric performance orthreatened to
cut the cable with an ax.But years later, Seeger said he had nothing against Dylan going electric — he was
upset over the distortion-filled sound system.Christie’salso was offering five lots of hand- and typewritten
lyric fragmentsfound inside the guitar case — early versions of some of Dylan’s songs.They had a presale
estimate ranging from $3,000 to $30,000. But only oneof them sold; it went for $20,000 and contained draft
lyrics for "IWanna Be Your Lover."___Associated Press writer Michelle R. Smith in Providence,
R.I., contributed to this report.Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rightsreserved. This material may
not be published, broadcast, rewritten orredistributed.

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