The John Lennon song Bob Dylan couldn’t relate to

bob dylan

Since the United States gave birth to rock ‘n’ roll, the British invasion was essentially a wave of appreciation for music. Comparably, The Beatles once more looked to American artistry for inspiration for their next move after their early hits, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Love Me Do,” rocked the US charts. The influence of Bob Dylan on The Beatles’ adoption of abstract songwriting is significant.

Even though The Beatles and Bob Dylan had different musical tastes at this point in time, they were still very much in admiration of one another’s success in 1963. Dylan and the Beatles first crossed paths in August 1964 following a performance at Queens, New York’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. When their management learned that Dylan was lodging on the opposite side of Queens, they set up a meeting.

The Fab Four were first introduced to cannabis and Dylan’s gift for stimulating conversation during this momentous first meeting between two of the best songwriters of their generation. Paul McCartney recalled being so stoned during an evening of uncontrollably giggling and wild conversation that he was convinced he had found the meaning of life.

Years later, McCartney relived the special evening in a promotional video for his 2016 compilation album, Pure McCartney. As he spoke with Dylan, “I felt like I was climbing a spiral walkway.” “I thought I was understanding everything, including the purpose of life. I was thinking, “I got it,” and wrote down the key to it all on this piece of paper.”

In addition, McCartney revealed to Mal Evans his latest discovery and requested that he record it on paper for future contemplation and storage. “The following day, Mal gave me the piece of paper,” McCartney said. And “There are seven levels” was written there. There you have it: the purpose of existence.

Even though these legendary musicians were unable to fully unlock the mystery of life that evening, Dylan undoubtedly had a profound influence on The Beatles. The band started to re-establish itself in 1965 with lyrics that were more introspective, ethereal, and melancholic. If Rubber Soul did cause Dylan some annoyance, it was nevertheless a significant turning point.

Dylan was furious that Lennon had taken inspiration for the folk-infused song “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” from his own style. “What’s this?” Bob, it’s me. Dylan famously declared, “He’s doing me,” after listening to Rubber Soul in 1965. “I invented it, but even Sonny & Cher are doing me, fucking hell.” In “4th Time Around,” Dylan retaliated by slapping Lennon with the lyrics, “I never asked for your crutch / Now don’t ask for mine.”

Over time, Dylan’s relationship with The Beatles improved; in the late 1960s, Dylan developed a special closeness with George Harrison. Still, he never seemed to take Lennon seriously as a direct rival in the field of postmodernist lyricism. Even after The Beatles split up in 1970, there seemed to be a bitter aftertaste separating the two.

In “God,” his 1970 solo song, John Lennon enumerated a number of things he rejected as false. Dylan himself was one of the participants: “I don’t believe in Zimmerman.” Following Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’s arrival, he spoke with Jann Wenner in an interview and brought up the topic of “God.” “Dylan is a joke. His name is Zimmerman,” he declared. You see, I have no faith in Dylan, and I have no faith in Tom Jones either. His name is Zimmerman. John Beatle is not my name. John Lennon is it. In that exact same manner.

Though there wasn’t a direct assault on Dylan, there was definitely a tone of resentment. In a similar vein, Dylan acknowledged dissonance in his relationship with Lennon during an interview with Scott Cohen. Recalling that Sigmund Freud was a “fraud” who “started a lot of nonsense with psychiatry,” Dylan went on to discuss his thoughts on parenthood, bringing up John Lennon’s early single “Mother.”

Many people experience difficulties with their parents until they reach the age of fifty, sixty, or seventy. They are unable to leave their parents,” Dylan remarked. “My parents and I never had that kind of issue.” Rather, after renunciating the family name, the Minnesotan songwriter continued to have a somewhat strained relationship with his parents.

He went on to say that he was unable to connect to Lennon’s experience. In the words of John Lennon, “Mother:” Mother, I had you, but you never had me. I can’t imagine that. I know a lot of people have. There are a lot of orphans in the world, for sure. But that’s not been my experience.”

It’s unclear if Dylan brought Lennon up in the conversation with any animosity towards him. But Beatle is frequently chastised for forsaking his first son, Julian, upon divorcing Cynthia. Dylan went on, implying that he would not have approved of Lennon’s actions: “I have a strong identification with orphans, but I’ve been raised by people who feel that fathers, whether they’re married or not, should be responsible for their children, that all sons should be taught a trade, and that parents should be punished for their children’s crimes.”

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