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The Cry of Humanity: Dylan’s Expressionist Period

  • Lawrence Wilde
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Abstract

On Dylan’s first ‘electric’ tour of England in 1966, a young man in the audience cried out ‘Judas’ just before the first raunchy bars of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ were to be played, drawing an angry response from that quintessential angry young man of the mid-1960s. The allegation of betrayal clearly rankled, but what was he being accused of betraying? The folk revival to which he had contributed so richly had become highly politicised, and the simplicity of the acoustic form was an intrinsic part of that radicalism. The pure and direct expression of ‘wooden’ music carried a serious intent, in contrast to the diversionary drivel churned out by the entertainment industry. Indeed on The FreewheelinBob Dylan, the album which brought him to instant fame, Dylan had parodied the idiocy of much of the rock-and-roll of his day when he tells of ‘Rock-a-Day Johnny’ singing ‘Teil your Ma, Tell your Pa/Our Loves Are Gonna Grow, Ooo-wah, Ooh-wah’. Now, apparently, the singer who had written so many brilliant ballads about the injustices of his day was turning into a Rock-a-Day Johnny, and his fans were appalled. Dylan did nothing to dispel the idea that he had turned his back on politics.

Keywords

Popular Music Black Panther Party Folk Song Aesthetic Theory Fragmented Image 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2004

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  • Lawrence Wilde

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