In 1964, Bob Dylan met Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, and John Lennon. Dylan and The Beatles were two of the biggest musical acts at the time, and they all admired each other’s work. Their meeting was particularly significant to The Beatles because Dylan introduced them to marijuana for the first time. McCartney was so grateful that he gave Dylan’s tour manager a lengthy hug.
Paul McCartney and the rest of the Beatles met Bob Dylan in 1964
Dylan and The Beatles met at the Delmonico Hotel in New York City. Dylan and his tour manager, Victor Maymudes, weaved their way through a massive crowd outside the building hoping to see The Beatles.
“We proceeded to the elevator and headed up to the top floor,” Maymudes wrote in his book Another Side of Bob Dylan: A Personal History on the Road and Off the Tracks. “There was a cop in front of every door going down the hallway, all sitting in chairs in front of the doors. It was like the president was staying on the floor—totally locked down.”
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Maymudes immediately took note of how different Dylan and The Beatles looked. They were clean-cut, wearing neat suits and leather boots. Dylan, by contrast, looked far more casual and, in Maymudes’ words, “scraggly.”
“Of course, they were on tour and we weren’t, but the different styles went beyond that,” he wrote. “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.”
Paul McCartney felt a wave of gratitude toward Bob Dylan’s tour manager
Not long after they arrived, journalist Al Aronowitz, who had helped introduce the two musical acts, asked the Beatles, “You wanna get high?”
Maymudes rolled joints for the band, and soon, McCartney was laughing so hard that he had tears rolling down his face.
“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. They knew about hash, that kind of stuff was more popular in Europe. But until that night, they never had the rush. They’d never laughed till tears rolled down their faces.”
The next morning, McCartney hugged Maymudes out of gratitude.
“The following morning, Paul came up to me and hugged me for ten minutes and said, ‘It was so great, and it’s all your fault! It’s all your fault because I love this pot!’ He went into his thoughts of him on music while on it and how it made him feel. ‘It was just magical,’ he said.”
He was later arrested for possession of marijuana
McCartney and the rest of The Beatles smoked many more joints after that night with Dylan and Maymudes. In 1980, McCartney was arrested for bringing half a pound of marijuana through customs in Tokyo. He explained that it was for personal use, but the amount put him at risk for a smuggling charge and up to seven years in prison.
“It was very stupid!” he said, but The Beatles Diary Volume Two: After the Breakup. “We’d been in America and the attitude to drugs over there is very different and it led me to take a real casual approach. Most people taking that kind of thing into the country would give it to the roadies, that’s the common practice. That just shows that I wasn’t really thinking about it. I was taking my opinion of it instead of the legal opinion of it, and I just didn’t really think much about it, you know till the fellow pulled it out of the suitcase and he looked more embarrassed than me!”
Ultimately, though, McCartney only spent nine days in jail. This was the first and only time in his marriage de él that he had to spend a night away from his wife de él, Linda.