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Sunday, August 28

Today is the Anniversary of a Seismic Moment in Music History. One that Changed the Game for the BIggest Band in the World courtesy of Bob Dylan

On today 1964, Bob Dylan was holding court at his hotel room and in walked the Beatles. While waiting on a bottle of wine, Dylan turned the Beatles on to marijuana. "Love Me Do" became "Norwegian Wood" which turned into "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
 Bob Dylan in 1964. The year that he met the Beatles and they were starting to break big in the US  

The Beatles in 1964 when they just wanted to hold your hand and "Love Me Do"was topping the charts. 


Dylan 66' facing down Engish crowds














Beatles 66' after Revolver, which contained
"Tomorrow Never Knows"
Today in 1964,  a seismic shift occurred for the Beatles that sent them in a whole different direction that eventually spawned the epitome of "psychedelia" and Swinging London. They were meeting Bob Dylan in his hotel room in New York and while waiting for a bottle of wine, Bob asked the group if they wanted to smoke some pot. After a few awkward moments, Brian Epstein admitted they had never smoked it before. Bob was shocked and asked," But what about that song where you say, "when I touch you, I get high, I get high, I get high" and John admitted that the lyric was actually "I can't hide" 

Amused, Bob rolled the first joint. Some of the Beatles had been exposed to weed in 1960 but it didn't make any big impression. Apparently, Dylan had some great weed. He passed it to John, how passed it to his "royal taster" Ringo. Ringo didn't know the etiquette of puff,puff,pass and just smoked the whole thing. 

"We first got marijuana from an older drummer with another group in Liverpool. We didn't actually try it until after we'd been to Hamburg. I remember we smoked it in the band room in a gig in Southport and we all learnt to do the Twist that night, which was popular at the time. We were all seeing if we could do it. Everybody was saying, 'This stuff isn't doing anything.' It was like that old joke where a party is going on and two hippies are up floating on the ceiling, and one is saying to the other, 'This stuff doesn't work, man.'"
-George Harrison,  Anthology


Bemused, Dylan and his friend, writer Al Aronowitz, started rolling more for each of the other people in the room.
"I don't remember much what we talked about. We were smoking dope, drinking wine and generally being rock'n'rollers and having a laugh, you know, and surrealism. It was party time."
John Lennon Anthology

The Beatles spent the next few hours in hysterics as Dylan watched over the proceedings with amusement.  Brien Epstein kept repeating," I'm so high. I'm so high, I'm on the ceiling. I'm up on the ceiling."

Paul McCartney, was convinced he had figured out how the world worked and had road manager Mal Evans, follow him around with a pencil and paper. He would tell anyone who would listen," he was thinking, really thinking for the first time." 

"I remember asking Mal, our road manager, for what seemed like years and years, 'Have you got a pencil?' But of course everyone was so stoned they couldn't produce a pencil, let alone a combination of pencil and paper.
I'd been going through this thing of levels, during the evening. And at each level I'd meet all these people again. 'Hahaha! It's you!' And then I'd metamorphose on to another level. Anyway, Mal gave me this little slip of paper in the morning, and written on it was, 'There are seven levels!' Actually it wasn't bad. Not bad for an amateur. And we pissed ourselves laughing. I mean, 'What the fuck's that? What the fuck are the seven levels?' But looking back, it's actually a pretty succinct comment; it ties in with a lot of major religions but I didn't know that then."  
                                                                 -Paul McCartney
Evans kept the notebooks until 1976 when he died, the LA police dept. took possession of them  and naturally, lost them. 
In 1965 Dylan tore the folk world apart by putting down the acoustic for a couple songs on Bringing It All Back Home, putting out a half/acoustic and half/electric album and the infamous Newport Folk Festival incident. Later, in 1966 Dylan faced down hostile crowds for a whole tour of Australia and England that were an acoustic solo set followed by a fiery, electric set by Dylan and the Band. It doesn't seem like a big deal now but keep in mind, his sound system was probably the loudest thing these people had ever heard. The decibel level the Band cranked out matched a plane taking off. 



There is a short reel of film that shows,John Lennon and Bob Dylan in a limousine in which a clearly green-hued Dylan slurred about "feeling sick and just throwing up into the camera" while Lennon looked on nervously and tried to keep up a banter to the obviously wasted Dylan. 
Before the party started. From "Eat the Document"
Later it was stated they had to carry Dylan into his hotel. The rumors are these shows were heroin to get ready for the first set and speed to pop up and face down the crowds for the second set. Both Dylan and the Beatles went through their speed stages. These tales of partying hard on the road lend credence to the story that Dylan's motorcycle crash was used as a cover to give him time to kick and rest up and "get back to where he once belonged" and sure enough, he started one of the most fruitful periods of his life with the Basement Tapes and John Wesley Harding. While he was getting back to roots, ever the iconoclast, the Beatles, Hendrix and the Grateful Dead were all deep in psychedelic territory. 

These bands soon turned down Dylan's street after Nashville Skyline and released Let It Be, Workingman's Dead. John Lennon also went through his hard drugs period and it also showed in his work but in the end, Dylan was the pied piper for the Beatles who were a juggernaut of cultural influence and today, in 1964, the best songwriter and the best songwriting team in history got together and had a smoke session that changed the world.




Bob Dylan and George Harrison during the "New Morning" sessions
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