In 1965-66 the erstwhile folk singer Bob Dylan released a great trilogy of albums, Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited and Blonde on Blonde, and set off on a world tour that would change popular music. At a now famous concert at the Manchester Free Trade Hall, Dylan was playing his new electric and electrifying music when a disaffected folkie in the audience shouted ‘Judas’. Dylan responded by instructing his band to ‘play fucking loud’ what turned out to be an extraordinary performance of ‘Like a Rolling Stone’, a song about someone disillusioned by who they had become, a song about someone having to change. People had been wanting Dylan to be one thing when he turned out to be another, and they felt betrayed. By doing something new and unexpected, Dylan was Judas.
The full text of this essay is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.