Dylan Performs For 300,000 At "Catholic Woodstock"

September 30, 1997 12:00 AM ET

In papal news -- that's right, papal news -- Pope John Paul II may well earn himself the distinction of being the first-ever rock 'n' roll pontiff. Proving that truth is often stranger than fiction, the Pope himself presided over what some were calling a "Catholic Woodstock" as folk demigod Bob Dylan performed a three-song set for more than 300,000 onlookers.

As the Pope looked on, hands clasped in his lap, Dylan launched into "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," followed by "A Hard Rain's Gonna Fall." After these songs, Dylan, clad in a black suit and wearing a tan cowboy hat, approached the Pope's podium and exchanged a few words with the leader of the world's 960 million Catholics.

The Pope, once a poet himself, spoke a few words to the crowd then called it a night, leaving Dylan to close his set with "Forever Young."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Bleeding Love”

Leona Lewis | 2007

In 2008, The X Factor winner Leona Lewis backed up her U.K. singing competition victory with an R&B anthem for the ages: "Bleeding Love," an international hit that became the best-selling song of the year. The track was co-penned by OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder (whose radio dominance would continue with songs such as Beyonce's "Halo" and Adele's "Rumour Has It") and solo artist Jesse McCartney, who was inspired by a former girlfriend, Gossip Girl actress Katie Cassidy. Given the song's success, McCartney didn't regret handing over such a personal track: "No, no," he said. "I'm so happy for Leona. She deserves it. There are really no bad feelings."

More Song Stories entries »