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Bob Dylan's Newport Folk Festival Guitar Set for Auction

Famous instrument will go up for sale, along with several lyrics sheets, in New York

Bob Dylan performs at the Newport Folk Festival in Newport, Rhode Island.
Alice Ochs/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
October 31, 2013 2:35 PM ET

The sunburst Fender Stratocaster that Bob Dylan famously plugged in at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival will finally be auctioned off in New York at Christie's on December 6th.

The guitar on which Dylan went electric is expected to bring in as much as $500,000, the Associated Press reports, and will be auctioned alongside five sheets of handwritten and typed fragments of lyrics that would later appear in "In the Darkness of Your Room," "Absolutely Sweet Marie" and other songs. The lyrics – which were found in the Strat's case – are estimated between $3,000 and $5,000.

See Dylan Go Electric and Other Groundbreaking Moments from the Legendary Musician's Career

For about 50 years, the guitar has been owned by the New Jersey family of Vic Quinto, an airplane pilot who worked with Dylan's manager. The musician accidentally left the guitar on a private plane Quinto was flying and, according to his daughter Dawn Peterson, Dylan's management company never responded to his questions of what to do with the instrument.

While Dylan and his camp initially denied the authenticity of the guitar, Paterson had it examined and certified on the PBS show History Detectives last year. Just this past July, as Rolling Stone reported, she ended a legal dispute with Dylan that allowed her to finally sell the guitar and lyrics. Other details from the settlement, including whether Dylan would receive any money from the auction, were kept confidential.

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

More Song Stories entries »
 
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