Without a doubt, weed played a key role in the lives and creative work of The Beatles. In fact, it helped spur some of the transformations between the band’s suit-wearing early years and the decidedly more psychedelic output of their later albums. And as it turns out, today is the 53-year anniversary of the day Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to weed.
Beatles History: Bob Dylan Introduced The Beatles To Weed
According to a variety of sources, all of which have been compiled at The Beatles Bible, August 28, 1964 was a big day for the Beatles. Apparently, Dylan and The Beatles were all in New York City that day.
Dylan had just finished a show at Forest Hills Stadium. After the performance, he met up with The Beatles at the Delmonico Hotel.
They broke out a few bottles of wine, started hanging out, and it wasn’t long before Dylan produced some bud. At that point, members of The Beatles had already smoked weed at least once before.
But they hadn’t really gotten high during their earlier experience. In fact, that first unsuccessful smoke sesh had become a running joke with the band.
“We first got marijuana from an older drummer with another group in Liverpool,” George Harrison said. “We didn’t actually try it until after we’d been to Hamburg. I remember we smoked it in the band room. Everybody was saying, ‘This stuff isn’t doing anything.'”
But August 28, 1964 turned out to be a very different experience. From the sounds of things, Dylan showed up with some top-shelf, super potent weed. They all smoked up, and for what was apparently the first time, The Beatles got sky high.
How The Beatles Remember It
Fortunately, there a bunch of quotes floating around from The Beatles themselves about how things went down that night.
“I don’t remember much of what we talked about,” said John Lennon. “We were smoking dope, drinking wine, and generally being rock ‘n’ rollers and having a laugh, you know, and surrealism. It was party time.”
Additionally, band manager Epstein kept saying: “I’m so high I’m on the ceiling. I’m up on the ceiling.”
But it sounds like Paul McCartney got especially blasted. He was in a different galaxy. Here’s how he described the night:
“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.”
He eventually had someone jot down all the ideas he was having. McCartney became fixated on the idea of there being seven different levels of existence. When he and the rest of the band saw the notes the next morning, they thought it was simultaneously hilarious and strangely impressive.
“Actually it wasn’t bad,” McCartney said. “Not bad for an amateur. And we pissed ourselves laughing. I mean, what the fuck’s that? What the fuck are the seven levels?”
He added: “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.”
Final Hit: Anniversary Of The Day Bob Dylan Introduced The Beatles To Weed
If you’ve ever listened to The Beatles, you know it’s all history from there. The band went on to record an astounding number of albums.
Their music was so consistently fresh and innovative that it remains almost timeless, even today. And of course, none of this is to suggest that they weren’t writing amazing music before Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to weed.
But it seems likely that August 28, 1964 was something of a turning point, especially as the band started moving more and more toward an experimental, soul-searching, meditative, psychedelic vibe after sparking up with Bob Dylan.