In 1964, Bob Dylan met The Beatles. Dylan, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were some of the biggest names in music at the time, and their meeting was historic. Dylan wasn’t conscious for much of it, though. According to his tour manager, Victor Maymudes, Dylan passed out on the floor not long after meeting the band. The Beatles found this hilarious.
Bob Dylan’s tour manager noticed a big difference between Dylan and The Beatles
The Beatles were often criticized for their mop-top haircuts, but Maymudes said they looked very clean-cut compared to Dylan.
“Their hair was not long but neatly trimmed, combed down in their mop-top cuts. They were extremely clean and youthful looking, without a trace of facial hair,” he wrote in his book Another Side of Bob Dylan: A Personal History on the Road and Off the Tracks, adding, “They dressed in gray collarless suits and skinny black ties, white shirts and black leather boots with a seam that ran down the middle to the pointy toes. They looked sharp, like perfect mod gentlemen.”
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Dylan didn’t look nearly as pulled together.
“We were in jeans, T-shirts and leather jackets, looking scraggly and relaxed, the image of laid-back American youth in every James Dean movie,” Maymudes wrote. “Bob was still wearing his motorcycle boots from him. Of course, they were on tour and we weren’t, but the different styles went beyond that. At that time, Bob wouldn’t have worn a suit like theirs, even if he played for the Queen of England. An ocean yawned between us, but it didn’t take us long to cross it.”
Bob Dylan passed out when he met The Beatles
They crossed the ocean between them with several joints that Maymudes rolled and gave to The Beatles.
“Bob grabbed a drink while I rolled a joint,” Maymudes wrote. “When he came back to the coffee table, I lit it with a match and passed it to him. Bob took a hit and passed it to John, who then handed it to Ringo without putting it to his lips. ‘You try it,’ John told Ringo. Ringo hesitated. John called him his ‘royal pot taster’ and then Ringo did as John commanded. He held it like a cigarette between his fingers, taking one deep drag after another. He did not know the proper etiquette of pot: to pass it on to John, who was sitting next to him, patiently awaiting his turn from him.
Rather than telling Starr to pass the joint to his bandmates, the Maymudes rolled one for each of them. Soon, everyone had one but Dylan. Within an hour, though, Dylan was asleep on the floor while the Beatles laughed at him.
“I kept rolling joints till everyone had their own except Bob,” Maymudes wrote. “He just had alcohol and took a few hits here and there but not a whole joint like the rest of us. Bob had a couple of drinks and within an hour, he passed out on the floor! By this time, Paul was laughing so hard that tears were streaming out of his eyes from him. This was their very first encounter and Bob passed out!”
Maymudes said Dylan’s mid-hang-out nap wasn’t just because of the alcohol.
“This wasn’t entirely because of the booze either,” he explained. “We were up all the time; he was exhausted. He might have been up nonstop the three days before hand. But the booze didn’t help; it shoots you up and then crashes you down.”
This wasn’t the band’s first time smoking
According to Maymudes, Dylan did not introduce The Beatles to marijuana.
“A little side note about the Beatles smoking pot: That first night wasn’t actually their first time trying it, like everyone believes,” Maymudes wrote. “They had tried it before but they didn’t get high. The stuff they had was cheap and low quality.”
That night with Dylan was the first time the band had ever gotten high, however.
“They knew about hash, that kind of stuff was more popular in Europe. But until that night, they never had the rush,” Maymudes wrote. “They’d never laughed till tears rolled down their faces.”