This Day in History

Bob Dylan, then a rising folk singer, famously walked out on a scheduled performance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on May 12, 1963. Dylan had planned to perform “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues,” a satirical song about the Red Scare and the John Birch Society, but was asked by the show’s producers to choose a different song because of its controversial content. Dylan’s refusal to comply and subsequent walkout was seen as a pivotal moment in his career, cementing his reputation as an uncompromising artist committed to his principles, and it highlighted the tension between artistic expression and broadcast censorship.