Ain't gonna work on Maggie's Farm no more.
By Paul J Cella Posted in 1965 | Bob Dylan | Congress | conservatism | GOP | Maggie's Farm | Newport Folk Festival — Comments (11) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »
At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, Bob Dylan was introduced to thunderous cheers. What happened next is the stuff of legend.
Dylan came out, backed a blues band, and plunged right into a raw, blazing, hard blues rendition of “Maggie’s Farm” — a song that has about as much in common with standard folk music as chalk does cheese. There were boos, jeers, astonishment, and outrage. Pete Seeger is said to have threatened to take an axe to the sound equipment. Dylan fed off the audience’s mixed, but very vocal reaction. (Around 3:00 to 3:40 in the video below shows him answering the jeers with defiance and amusement.) “Like a Rolling Stone” was also in the set. Then later, after more commotion and confusion, Dylan returned, all by himself, to play an acoustic set — which concluded with a haunting version of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”
The episode is commonly acknowledged to signify Dylan’s declaration of independence from the moribund protest movement of the folk singers. Folk music had jumped the shark, and Dylan was not going to let these ragged commies go home from their folk festival unconfronted with that fact.
In our day of farm bill outrage, moribund movements, and a crying need for Conservatives to declare independence from the GOP leadership that is careening toward oblivion, this 1965 episode seems to me somehow apposite.