Guitar used by Bob Dylan to 'go electric' sets auction record

Fri Dec 6, 2013 5:17pm EST
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The electric guitar Bob Dylan played at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, when the acoustic troubadour shocked traditionalists with a set of rock and roll, sold for $965,000 on Friday, a world auction record for a guitar, Christie's said.

The 1964 Fender Stratocaster, along with five song lyrics left on a private airplane by the songwriter and his band in the months after the Rhode Island festival, were part of six lots in a special sale of Dylan material in New York.

"A tremendous amount of international interest was generated at the time of the sale's announcement, and today's result justifies the mythic status of this guitar in the annals of music history," Tom Lecky, a specialist at Christie's, said in a statement.

An absentee bidder bought the Fender Stratocaster with a classic sunburst finish, its original case and black leather guitar strap for nearly double its high pre-sale estimate.

The previous auction record for a guitar was for Eric Clapton's Fender Stratocaster, which fetched $959,500 in 2004.

Only one of the five lyrics sheets sold for $20,000, bringing the auction total to $985,000. That was a handwritten and typed version of 1965's "I Wanna Be Your Lover."

Friday's sale came just a day after rocker Bruce Springsteen's 1974 handwritten draft for "Born to Run" went for $197,000 in New York.

Rolling Stone magazine has cited Dylan's performance at the Newport festival as one of the most notable events in music history, according to Christie's.

"I did this very crazy thing," Dylan, who was 24, said at the time. "I didn't know what was going to happen, but they certainly booed. I'll tell you that."   Continued...

 
Singer Bob Dylan performs during a segment honoring Director Martin Scorsese, recipient of the Music+ Film Award, at the 17th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards in Los Angeles January 12, 2012. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni