It is well known that Bob Dylan fully turned The Beatles on to cannabis.
In 1964 they were introduced by a mutual friend, the writer Al Aronowitz, at a New York Hotel. Upon arriving at The Beatles’ suite that evening, Dylan asked for cheap wine, and during the wait Dylan suggested they have a smoke.
The Beatles looked at each other apprehensively. “We’ve never smoked marijuana before,” the Beatles manager, Brian Epstein finally admitted.
Dylan looked disbelievingly from face to face. “But what about your song?” he asked. The one about getting high?”
The Beatles were stupefied. “Which song?” John managed to ask.
Dylan said, “You know…” and then he sang, “and when I touch you I get high, I get high…”
John flushed with embarrassment. “Those aren’t the words,” he admitted. “The words are, ‘I can’t hide, I can’t hide, I can’t hide…” – Peter Brown, The Love You Make
After the room was secured, Dylan rolled the first joint and passed it to Lennon. He immediately gave it to Ringo Starr, whom he called “my royal taster”. Not realizing the etiquette was to pass it on, Starr finished the joint and Dylan and Aronowitz rolled more for each of them.
The Beatles spent the next few hours in hilarity, looked upon with amusement by Dylan. Brian Epstein kept saying, “I’m so high I’m on the ceiling. I’m up on the ceiling.”
How Cannabis Influenced The Beatles’ Music
By the time they came to make Help! in 1965, The Beatles’ cannabis use had reached a peak. It affected their songwriting, which became mellower and more introspective. During the filming of Help! they were often stoned on set, which caused them to forget their lines.
The Beatles had gone beyond comprehension. We were smoking marijuana for breakfast.
We were well into marijuana and nobody could communicate with us, because we were just glazed eyes, giggling all the time. – John Lennon
Cannabis had a significant effect on The Beatles’ music. It found its way into a number of songs:
The Beatles – Got to Get You Into My Life
Described by Paul McCartney as “an ode to pot”
The Beatles – With a Little Help From My Friends
This track was condemned in some quarters due to its reference to getting high.
The Beatles Push for Weed Freedom
Sponsored by a group called Soma, the advertisement also demanded the release of all people imprisoned due to cannabis possession, and further research into the drug’s medical uses.
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