Iconic Dylan portrait recreated in Liverpool

Click to follow
The Independent Online

He was just 24 and at the peak of his powers, a wiry creature with curly hair and impenetrable shades, a creator of what he called the "thin, wild, mercury sound" that was dividing audiences on both sides of the planet. They were a bunch of grubby urchins, found playing in a Merseyside street on a Saturday afternoon.

Now, more than four decades later, this photograph of Bob Dylan in the Dock Road area of Liverpool, which remained unpublished for many years after it was taken in May 1966, has been recreated, using eight of the original 10 children. The image was taken by Barry Feinstein, a photographer who accompanied Dylan during his world tour, a year after he caused uproar among his folk fans by going electric.

According to Chris Hockenhall, a Dylan enthusiast from Merseyside who tracked down the children for a BBC North West documentary, Feinstein didn't like performance pictures and would take Dylan out to shoot on location. On the day of the photograph, Dylan was performing that evening at the Odeon Theatre in Liverpool.

Mr Hockenhull, 50, who until recently taught an adult education class on Dylan, said: "Dylan and Feinstein just seemed to have stumbled into what amounted to a kids' playground. They were all out in the streets because their parents were probably watching Everton in the Cup Final that day. It was such a clash of 1960s culture. The kids looked like Victorian street urchins and Dylan looked like a man from Mars with his loud shirt and wild hair - that's what fascinated me."

The photograph was not published until 1999, when it appeared in a book by Feinstein, Early Dylan. It was also used in a booklet that accompanied the official Colombia Records release of the legendary Royal Albert Hall bootleg, a recording of the concert that actually took place at Manchester Free Trade Hall. Intrigued by the photograph, Mr Hockenhull began searching for the location and eventually found it.

It took a further eight months to track down nine of the 10 children, some of whom were in Scotland and London. One was unable to make the second photograph, taken last November, and the tenth could not be traced.

He said: "Very few of the children had any recollection of the event in 1966. What really fascinated me is that they were not Dylan fans.A man with a cine camera swept into the area in a big black car and offered them 10 shillings to have their picture taken."

One of the women in the photograph, Bernadette Gill, 47, is now a doctor's receptionist in Knotty Ash in Liverpool. She said: "I don't remember a thing about the original photograph. It's lovely to look at it, though, and realise what you've been part of."

The story will be shown on a BBC1 regional TV programme, Inside Out North West, at 7.30pm tonight.

Comments