Saturday, May 24, 2014

Bob Dylan In Bristol 1966

Here is a famous iconic photo of Bob Dylan and a story I wrote about one little incident in his traumatic year of 1966..I hope you enjoy it.




These days it doesn't take long to drive from Bristol to Cardiff,you merely drive across the Severn Bridge. In the early 1960's though it was a different matter. One had to drive up to Gloucester before you could cross the Bristol Channel, a detour of 80 miles. There was an alternative though. You could cross the river by the Aust ferry.This ramshackle car ferry service was falling into disrepair by 1966 as the new bridge was being built.
On the morning of May 11th 1966 a car drew up and waited for this ferry. Sitting on the back seat was one of the most famous people in the world,Bob Dylan. The previous night at the Colston Hall in Bristol Bob had played the opening date of his British tour and it hadn't gone well. Bob and The Band had crash landed in Britain carrying 4 tons of amplification.Something unheard of in those days. After the first 'folk' half of the show Bob unleashed his new 'electric' sound. The audience had heard nothing like this before. To them it sounded like an attack of mortar bombs and artillery. They didn't like it and boo'ed throughout the concert. Next morning as Bob slumped in the car, his amphetamine eyes hidden behind his trademark dark glasses he was full of fore-boding about the next concert in Cardiff.
Having to wait for the ferry to arrive Bob got out of the car to stretch his legs and one of his entourage Barry Feinstein took Bob's photo on that rainy morning over 40 years ago. That picture showing the haggard unkempt mean moody Dylan has passed into folklore as one of the most iconic pictures in rock. Dylan who had enjoyed the most fruitful creative periods of his amazing career was now entering burn out. A few nights later at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester an irate fan shouted 'JUDAS!' at Dylan and the rest is history. Bob was proved to be right though, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde On Blonde became two of the greatest albums in history, influencing the likes of Cream and Jimi Hendrix. Bob had re-invented Rock music.
After his UK tour an exhausted Dylan returned to the States and shortly afterwards had a motorcycle accident and withdrew from the public gaze. Not long after the famous photo was taken the ferry across the Severn closed for good. Bob was one of the last people to use it. The boat called Severn Princess was sold. It ended up in Ireland where it was recently discovered derelict and abandoned. It has now been returned to the river Severn at Chepstow where it will form part of a museum and the iconic picture of Bob taken on that rainy morning will be part of the exhibits. It is also the cover of the Martin Scorcese biopic of Bob No Direction Home.
          The photographer Barry Feinstein (See picture above)who took that famous photo went on to have a very successful career and he died recently which is why I am repeating this story.

2 comments:

Lovie said...

This is great info to know.

joanmelatti said...

I dearly love Bob so this was
quite interesting to me..
Thank you Pat...
joanie