It was hard to narrow down which event to highlight in this entry. The fall of the Berlin Wall, Hitler’s suicide, the establishment of the Lingerie Football League? Older entries have already taught us about the invention of beer, the chair and the epic Hulk Hogan/Andre the Giant match up of Wrestle Mania 3. Well my friends, things are about to get weirder and more Flintheartian as we discuss Bob Dylan turning the Beatles onto weed.
Picture a world were marijuana had yet to break into the mainstream culture, but only on the fringes of society by those in the “know”. That world is 1964 America. A young scruffy Bob Dylan had grown out of America’s Beat literary movement of the late 1940’s and 50’s (spearheaded by luminaries like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg) which in turn grew partly out of the Jazz scene. These were all connected in some way by their counter culture use of recreational marijuana.
Dylan in 1964 was already a musical trail blazer in his own right and admired by important musicians of the era. While the Beatles were on tour in NYC he invited them to party with him. That night would start an important transformation of the Beatles that would change both their personal lifestyles as well as the scope of their artistry.
Dylan mishearing the line, “It’s such a feeling that my love, I can’t hide!” in the Beatles song, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” as “It’s such a feeling that my love, I get high!” duly offered John Lennon a joint to smoke. Lennon not wanting to go first proclaimed Ringo has his royal tester and handed it off to him. As none of them had done it before, Ringo didn’t know the “puff, puff, pass” methodology and he smoked the entire joint to himself. They all took to weed instantly and partied the rest of the night laughing uncontrollably. McCartney had written down the secret to life that night and when he woke up the piece of paper had “There are 7 levels” written on it.
By their next album/film, HELP! a few months later, Lennon had claimed they were smoking weed for breakfast. This change was more readily apparent on their 1965, Rubber Soul album. Easily the mellowest of all the albums they had recorded it also began to showcase their ever evolving outside of the box musical construction. This would only heighten their musical ideas to new peaks of excellence further into their career along with other assorted drugs. The musical landscape and pop culture might be drastically different had this meeting not taken place.
Here is a fictionalized account of this great moment in world history.