Dylan’s electric guitar – “the Strat that nobody wanted” – fetches record price
The electric guitar famously played by Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival has been sold to an unidentified buyer at auction in New York for $958,000 USD. folks
The Fender Stratocaster had been in the possession of a New Jersey family for 48 years after Dylan left it on the guy’s airplane.
The pilot’s daughter, Dawn Peterson, had it authenticated on a television program on US Broadcaster PBS. I think I even remember it being on a segment of “Antiques Roadshow”.
In 1965, the Newport Folk Festival (located in in Newport, Rhode Island, naturally) is often cited as the performance where Bob Dylan – who first came to fame playing only acoustic guitar – “went electric”. His three-song set with electric guitar drew boos from the crowd, who had come expecting Dylan’s usual acoustic folk performance. They literally booed him off the stage.
On the PBS show “History Detectives” Ms Peterson shared that her father, the private plane’s pilot, asked Dylan’s management firm what to do with the guitar but “nobody ever got back to him.” In 1965, Fender Strats probably weren’t that big a deal. They had no idea what the axe would become.
So the pilot just kept it and tucked it away in a closet. Personally, I think that it’s kinda uncool, but hey, I wasn’t there. The family had what… about 50 years to try to return it to Dylan?
Experts matched the wood grain on the Stratocaster with a close-up color photo taken during Dylan’s set at the festival.
People (as in “players”) talked about that guitar for years, wondering what had happened to it. Some thought that it just gotten lost in the “Haze of the 60’s and 70’s”…
Imagine their shock when some girl shows up with it, telling the tale of “Bob Dylan’s long lost axe…”
Recently, Dylan and Ms Peterson quietly settled a legal dispute over the instrument. Details of the settlement are not known, but I’m betting that Dylan finally figured out who had his axe and he wanted it back. There was more than enough proof that it was his axe. I’m betting that somebody paid somebody a great deal of money to “just let it go”…
Hey, If I got booed off the stage, I’d want that axe. It’d kinda give;
“Break a leg…”
a whole new meaning…
The previous record for a guitar sold at auction was a Fender owned by Eric Clapton, nicknamed (gasp!) “Blackie”, which sold at Christie’s for $1.157 million in 2004.