Clinton Heylin talks with Ian Clayton at the book launch for JUDAS!.
The launch was held in conjunction with Classic Album Thursdays. After the Q&A, Clinton introduces the original ‘Royal Albert Hall’ bootleg recording of the Bob Dylan and the Hawks gig at Free Trade Hall, Manchester in May 1966 and tells the story of how came to own the original tapes.
The event took place at Tap & Barrel, Pontefract, on the day that Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Ian Clayton is the author of ‘Bringing It All Back Home’
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Bob Dylan’s 1965 Los Angeles press conference in full, with moving pictures. Recorded on 16 December 1965. Dylan was facing the now predictably uninformed press corps, but you can hear plenty of girls giggling which does seem to spur him on. These are most likely reporters from printed ‘pop’ media KRLA Beat and TeenSet, both of whom subsequently gave Bob a positive, generation-splitting report. KRLA Beat reported on the conference:
It became somehow like a giant Alice-in-Wonderland zoo, grotesque, with all of the animals peering out from behind their fiberglass bars at all the odd-looking people on the outside. Reporters and journalists and TV cameras all had come to see a freak in a sideshow, all had come to be entertained. … Instead, they found a man—Dylan. Some people were nosey, and asked questions which were out of place: How much money do you make, Bob? … Some round-looking people tried to squeeze their questions into little square pegholes and hoped that Dylan would follow after. … Sometimes people threw their verbal harpoons at him, only to find him throwing them right back—with deadly aim! ‘I bet you couldn’t name one thing I participate in—go ahead, I dare you!’ And there was no one there to accept the challenge. People asking foolish and irrelevant questions found that they received their answers in direct accordance. Why did you come to California, Bob? ‘I came to find some donkeys for a film I’m making!’ Are you gonna play yourself in the film? ‘No, I’m gonna play my mother, and we’re gonna call it “Mother Revisited”!’ … It was like an operating room with a hundred amateur physicians all trying to dissect one human form. But they couldn’t make the crucial incision, and the anaesthetic worked on them, instead. And then the man named Dylan rose and slowly left the room. The TV cameras turned off their blinding klieg lights, and the radio men turned off their prying microphones. Slowly all the reporters and the journalists disappeared through the one-way door, returning to their one-way lives. And then the room was quiet—there was no one left inside.
Read all about it in JUDAS!
It was Bob Dylan Day at Badlands record store on 11 November 2016 to mark the release of the 1966 Live Recordings box set. Clinton Heylin was invited to stand behind the counter and answer questions throughout the day. Here is a 37 minute clip, with Clinton answering questions on all things 1966 and more besides. Originally streamed live on Facebook by Phil Jump of Badlands.
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From Forest Hills to The Free Trade Hall
A Historical View of The Big Boo
By Clinton Heylin
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News of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize received a mixed reception in the literary community. But Bob Dylan has always had his detractors, even at his blistering best. Which is exactly what this book covers, charting Dylan’s self-conscious descent into Rimbaud’s ‘unknowable region’; from the day after the Newport Folk Festival in July 1965, where he stunned the folk world by turning up with an electric guitar, to the final punch-drunk performance at the Royal Albert Hall in May 1966, his level of creative output was unmatched at the time and since. All the while he was facing a hostile press and even more hostile crowds. In Manchester, some wag even shouted ‘JUDAS!’
Judas, the most hated name in human history! If you think you’ve been called a bad name, try to work your way out from under that. Yeah, and for what? For playing an electric guitar?
In 1966 There Was… the sell-out tour to end all tours. Bob Dylan and The Hawks found themselves at the epicentre of a storm of controversy. Their response? To unleash a cavalcade of ferocity from Melbourne to Manchester, from Forest Hills to the Free Trade Hall. For the first time, the full story can now be told from eye-witnesses galore; from timely reports, both mile wide and spot on; and from the participants themselves. And what better tour guide than Clinton Heylin, the esteemed Dylan biographer and one of the world’s leading rock historians. The price of admission? Thirty pieces of silver. The password? Play f***ing loud.
The definitive written account of Dylan’s historic and pivotal 1965-66 world tours.
British writer-historian Heylin is perhaps the world’s authority on all things Dylan.
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