On July 29, 1966, Bob Dylan became distracted while riding his motorcycle. Nobody knows what caught his eye—he told Sam Shepard that it was the sun; he told the biographer Robert Shelton that he hit an oil slick—but he ended up at the bottom of a hill in Woodstock, New York, with his Triumph beside him. His thoughts could have been distraction enough. Two months earlier, his band had finished a four-month run of shows that had become, as the critic Greil Marcus described, “increasingly embattled and defiant.” This was in keeping with the mood of Dylan’s live performances for the past year. When he took the stage at the Newport Folk Festival the previous July, with an electric guitar and a rock band, he pushed his career into a sharp turn. It seemed like a betrayal to those fans who thought that Dylan was Dylan only when he was carrying an acoustic guitar and singing obliquely political songs like “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Many of his followers thought that he was more than a musician. In Manchester, England, two months before the accident, someone cried out “Judas!” during Dylan’s set. It’s likely that Dylan knew how pop idolatry worked, but being roped into the Last Supper, even if you expected a few disciples, must have been unsettling. It’s not hard to imagine Dylan wanting to get off the road, where he’d lived more or less since 1961.