After playing a concert in Queens, the Fab Four befriended the folk singer at The Delmonico Hotel in Manhattan. As the story goes, Dylan and his friend, a reporter named Al Aronowitz, introduced the Liverpool band to marijuana. Dylan had assumed The Beatles were well acquainted with the drug, after mishearing the lyrics to “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. He mistakenly thought the line went “… and when I touch you I get high, I get high … ” instead of “I can’t hide, I can’t hide.”
Unsurprisingly, The Beatles’ first encounter with cannabis was one for the history books. Not knowing the proper etiquette for smoking, Ringo Starr failed to pass the joint around and instead smoked the entire thing himself. “Til then we’d been hard scotch and Coke men,” Paul McCartney later admitted. Hours passed as Dylan rolled more joints for the group, who were slowly, but surely warming up to the drug.
Although Dylan and The Beatles eventually parted ways, marijuana stayed with the Fab Four and acted as a gateway to more experimental drugs, inspiring records like 1965’s Rubber Soul and 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. “The Beatles had gone beyond comprehension,” John Lennon supposedly said not long after that fateful day. “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.”
In March 1973, McCartney was even caught growing weed on his farm in Scotland. Police fined him £100. When questioned about the cannabis, McCartney claimed that a fan had given him the seeds, and that he didn’t know they would grow. (Haha, riiiight.)
While there’s sadly no footage of The Beatles and Dylan’s epic hangout in 1964, here’s a short news clip about McCartney’s pot farm bust.
And video of the band performing the not-pot-related “I Want To Hold Your Hand”:
And Dylan performing the totally pot-related “Rainy Day Women 12 & 35”: