Here’s a BBC documentary film regarding children who were photographed in Liverpool in May 1966 with Bob Dylan – tracked down by Chris Hockenhull 40 years later. It’s about photographs that are my favourites of Dylan at his coolest.
This photograph of Dylan in the Dock Road area of Liverpool 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.
“Dylan and Feinstein just seemed to have stumbled into what amounted to a kids’ playground. 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.”
Barry Feinstein recalls the occasion; “We were down in this area and all these kids were around. I said to Bob ‘Let’s have a picture of them’. The kids all sort of gathered around him and filled in the spaces. He was just sitting there. I think he was enjoying it. He likes kids.”
The location in the photograph still exists, in Dublin Street, close to Liverpool’s Dock Road. The picture was taken on 14 May 1966, Dylan was playing Liverpool’s Odeon Theatre that evening. In the afternoon when the photograph was taken Everton were completing one of the greatest FA Cup Final comebacks against Sheffield Wednesday at Wembley. Many of the children’s parents were watching the game so they were left to play in the local streets.
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.”