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When Bob Dylan showed The Beatles marijuana, they almost smoked too much, thinking it wasn’t working. Dylan was likely shocked at the group’s behavior once it started kicking in.

The Beatles on 'Top of the Pops' in 1966.
The Beatles | Mirrorpix/Getty Images

Bob Dylan introduced marijuana to The Beatles

In The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, Paul wrote about the time Dylan introduced The Beatles to marijuana. He said “it blew our tiny little minds.”

The Beatles were in a hotel in New York City around the summer of 1964, and Dylan turned up with his roadie, who was more of his sidekick. He’d recently released Another Side of Bob Dylan, and The Beatles were starstruck.

They began having a few drinks of scotch and Coke and French wine, which were their thing back then. A little party started. Then, Dylan disappeared into the back room. They thought he’d gone to the toilet, but then drummer Ringo Starr came out of the room and looked “a bit strange.”

Ringo said, “I’ve just been with Bob, and he’s got some pot.” The band replied, “Oh, what’s it like?” He said, “Well, the ceiling is kind of moving; it’s sort of coming down.”

Paul wrote that that was enough. The others practically ran into the back room to Dylan, who gave them each a puff.

After Dylan gave them marijuana, The Beatles ran amuck

Paul said that The Beatles might’ve had too much of Dylan’s marijuana. After one puff, they thought it wasn’t working. So, they kept smoking. Then, suddenly, it hit them in the face, and they ran amuck.

Paul explained, “We expected something instantaneous, so we kept puffing away and saying, ‘It’s not working, is it?’ And suddenly it was working. And we were giggling, laughing at each other. I remember George trying to get away, and I was sort of running after him.

“It was hilarious, like a cartoon chase. We thought, ‘Wow, this is pretty amazing, this stuff.’ And so it became part of our repertoire from then on.”

After being introduced to pot by Dylan, The Beatles started receiving pot from everyone. Paul said it usually just showed up. There were also certain people they went to to get it.


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Paul said it started as a joyous period, but then it turned dark

Thanks to Dylan, The Beatles fell in love with marijuana. Eventually, they started writing odes to pot, including “Got to Get You Into My Life.”

“It was something that entered our lives, and I thought it would be a good idea to write a song with ‘Got to get you into my life,’ and only I would know that I was talking about pot,” Paul wrote. “It was very joyous at that time.” He added, “It started off as a rather sunny-day-in-the-garden type of experience.”

However, the scene turned dark a few years later. Soon pot wasn’t enough for The Beatles. They turned to LSD a year later. First, John Lennon and George Harrison took it. Paul was the last. He was afraid that it’d change him somehow. He was right; he started seeing a little blue hold whenever he closed his eyes, which partially inspired “Fixing a Hole.”

Without Dylan, it would’ve taken The Beatles longer to discover the effects of pot. It opened them up and made them more experimental.