The long-lost guitar Bob Dylan played when he performed his historic electric set at 1965's Newport Folk Festival has been found. The music instrument remained mystery for the following 47 years after the gig, until a team of PBS' "History Detectives" recovered it in the attic of a house in New Jersey.
The guitar was kept by Dawn Peterson. She's the daughter of Victor Quinto, a private pilot who was employed by Dylan's manager, Albert Grossman, in the mid-1960s. "After one flight, my father saw there were three guitars left on the plane," she claimed. "He contacted the company a few times about picking the guitars up, but nobody ever got back to him."
"History Detectives" host Wes Cowan doubted the authenticity of the guitar when Peterson contacted the show about her finding along with typed and handwritten song lyrics inside its guitar case. "It's so important, historically and culturally, that I couldn't have imagined Bob Dylan would have just left it on an airplane," he said.
Vintage-instrument expert Andy Babiuk was asked to verify it by comparing the guitar with a picture from the festival. "The more I looked, the more they matched," he stated. "The rosewood fingerboard has distinct lighter strips. Wood grain is like a fingerprint. I'm 99.9% sure it's the guitar - my credibility is on the line here."
Dylan memorabilia collector Jeff Gold also believed the newly-found guitar was the same one played by the singer in the Rhode Island music festival. "A vast percentage of the stuff I get shown isn't real," he opened up before adding, "By nature, I'm a defeatist. But this was obviously real."
However, the finding was dismissed by Dylan's lawyer Orin Snyder. "Bob has possession of the electric guitar he played at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965," the attorney said in a statement. "He did own several other Stratocaster guitars that were stolen from him around that time, as were some handwritten lyrics."
The guitar is worth of $1 million, not to mention the song lyrics that came with it. The newly-found lyrics included such lines as, "There's bullets in my eyes but I still can see/It's just these headaches that are killing me." Peterson has not made a decision whether to sell them or not. "I have to discuss it more with my husband," she explained. "Things have crossed my mind."
PBS will air the "History Detectives" episode that features the finding of Dylan's guitar on July 17.