Courtesy of Thomas Monaster PhotographyA New Jersey woman says she may have had in her attic an electric guitar that once belonged to Bob Dylan, and that played a significant part in the history of rock 'n' roll. Dylan's lawyer disagrees. Music historians are fascinated.
Here's the story. The woman, Dawn Peterson, said her late father, Vic Quinto, was a private pilot for Dylan in the 1960s.
When Dylan switched to the Fender Stratocaster from an acoustic guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, folk purists at the time said he had sold out by "plugging in." He was famously booed by a segment of the audience. But that "Dylan goes electric" moment is said to have revolutionized rock music and energized the counterculture of the '60s.
Peterson said her father told her Dylan once left three guitars in a plane he piloted. After her father ****, Peterson saw documentary footage of Dylan playing at Newport and began wondering if the guitar in the film was the one in her house. She enlisted PBS' History Detectives to investigate whether she had the guitar that had helped change rock music. The search will be featured in the show's season premiere on Tuesday.
Experts, including a man who certifies guitars for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, said there's evidence that Peterson's Stratocaster is indeed the instrument Dylan played at the Newport festival in 1965. If true, the guitar is estimated to be valued at $300,000 to $500,000.
However, the ownership and authenticity of the guitar are up for debate. In 2005, Dawn and her husband wrote to Dylan's managers, asking that the singer waive any claim to the guitar that had been with her family. Dylan's attorneys denied her request and mailed her a letter saying if his guitar had indeed been left with her father, it should be returned.
More recently, Orin Snyder, an attorney for Dylan, declares in a statement to ABC News that the guitar the folk-rock legend played at the 1965 Newport fest is still in Dylan's possession. Snyder adds, "He did own several other Stratocaster guitars that were ****** from him around that time, as were some handwritten lyrics. In addition, Bob recalls driving to the Newport Folk Festival, along with two of his friends, not flying."
Publicists for the PBS show replied, "History Detectives stands by its reporting of our story in which we conclude that a contributor to the show is in possession of the Fender Stratocaster played by Bob Dylan at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival."
Where does this leave Peterson and the guitar? She said she relies on the History Detectives' authentication.
"It has been in my family for 47 years now," she said. "At this time I have no plans except to keep the guitar safe, away from my home in a climate-controlled place."
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