When Bob Dylan Got The Beatles High

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Bobby D & The Fabs

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It wasn’t just the first time that the Fab Four and Bob Dylan met. After playing a concert at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in nearby Queens on August 28, 1964, The Beatles returned to their suite at the Hotel Delmonico at Park Avenue & 59th Street in Manhattan.

Journalist Al Aronowitz had arranged the summit. Dylan brought along the weed. (Actually, like any self-respecting rock star, he had his road manager Victor Maymudes carry the bag of marijuana.)

When Dylan offered to get them buzzed, he was surprised to learn the Beatles members hadn’t smoked pot yet, as he thought they were singing “I get high” in the chorus of “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Lennon explained to him that the misheard lyric was actually, “I can’t hide.”

The Beatles had smoked a joint during their time in Hamburg but felt no effect. Dylan started rolling a joint but flubbed it. He handed off the pot and papers to Maymudes, who twisted up a doob and handed it to Lennon. John passed it off to Ringo, saying the drummer was his “royal taster.”

Starr lit the joint and took a few hits. He then held onto it, not realizing the ritual was to pass it along. So Maymudes then rolled everyone their own joint.

What happened next? “We got high and laughed our asses off,” Starr told late night TV host Conan O’Brien in 2012. Duh….

Paul McCartney offered more details in an interview for the June 2021 issue of Uncut Magazine. “We were… all being good lads having our Scotch and Coke – it was an afterparty, I think,” he recalled. “Dylan arrived and he went into the bedroom with his roadie. Ringo [Starr, drummer] went along to see what was up. So he finds Dylan, rolling up, and he has a toke.

“He came back in and we said, ‘What was it like?’ So Ringo says, ‘The ceiling is kind of moving down…’ We all ran into the back room going, ‘Give us a bit, give us a bit!’ That was the very first evening we ever got stoned!”

Listeners detected a Dylan influence in Rubber Soul, released the next year. Lennon called it The Beatles’ “pot album.”

Listen to the Beatles mess around in the studio with “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35”

Related: Reviews of Dylan and McCartney at 2016’s Desert Trip

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3 Comments so far

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  1. Woody's Smoke Shop
    #1 Woody's Smoke Shop 22 June, 2017, 01:41

    Love Bob Dylan and the Beatles. Would have loved to being able to chill with them. Awesome article!

    Reply this comment
  2. Tom
    #2 Tom 29 August, 2018, 08:13

    Actually the Bob Dylan Forest Hills show was August 28, 1965, a year later.

    Reply this comment
  3. Mack
    #3 Mack 29 August, 2020, 16:35

    If that pot was anything like the stuff we had at the time they could of sat around wondering if they were high or not.

    Reply this comment

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