Thursday, October 22, 2015

can't kill an idea

------------------------ [excerpt from Dylan Goes Electric! - Wald, Introduction] ---------------------

Pat though it may be to divide history into neat decimal segments,

the 1960s were a period of dramatic upheaval,

and 1965 marked a significant divide. 

The optimism of the early part of the decade had been shaken by the murders of William Moore; of Medgar Evers; of four young girls in Birmingham;

of John F. Kennedy;

of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney;

of Viola Liuzzo and dozens more; and again in February with the killing of Malcolm X. 

Three weeks after the Newport festival, Watts exploded in rioting,

and the communal swell of "We Shall Overcome" was broken by shouts of "Black power!" 

It was still three years before the killings of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, and many people continued to believe in the dream of integration, equality, and universal brotherhood.  But the weekend Dylan

walked onstage with his Stratocaster, President Johnson

announced he was doubling the military draft and committing the United States to victory in Vietnam.

It was still two years before Sergeant Pepper, three years before the Days of Rage, four years before Altamont,

five years before Kent State. 

In the simplifications of legend and hindsight,

Dylan is often remembered as a voice of those later years,

and it is easy to forget that after a motorcycle accident in 1966

he disappeared from view,

stopped touring,

gave few interviews,

and spent the rest of the decade making cryptic albums that seemed willfully oblivious to the events exploding in the headlines. --------------- [end excerpt]


{Dylan Goes Electric!  Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night That Split the Sixties.  Written by Elijah Wald.  Copyright 2015, HarperCollins Publishers, 195 Broadway, New York, NY  10007.}


"You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea."
-- Medgar Evers

"Turn on, tune in, drop out."
-- Timothy Leary



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