Bob Dylan gave his first major performance in New York City on April 11, 1961.
Having arrived in New York just months before, the 19-year-old was quickly becoming a regular in the Greenwich Village folk scene and secured an opening slot with John Lee Hooker at Gerde’s Folk City. The show proved initially problematic for Dylan, since he was too young to secure the necessary union card needed to appear on the Gerde’s stage. It was only when one of the club’s owners, Mike Porco, agreed to serve as Dylan’s legal guardian that he was allowed to appear on the date.
The show, coupled with Dylan’s growing network of friends and associates, set the stage for the young singer’s career. While speaking with History Channel, producer John Hammond, who was responsible for recording the singer’s first album, says Dylan made an immediate impact on the New York Folk scene.
"The young man from the provinces began to make friends very quickly in New York, all the while continuing, as he has since he was ten, to assimilate musical ideas from everyone he met, every record he heard,” he explained.