A Day in the Life: The Beatles & Cannabis

The Beatles were influential to so many people and inspired a new age of art and creativity. We’ve all heard about their willingness to experiment with different spiritual exercises involving substances that influenced them creatively and cannabis is on that long list. Oddly enough, Bob Dylan introduced The Beatles to cannabis in their New York band suite while hanging out waiting for Bob’s order of “some cheap wine”. Bob assumed they used cannabis frequently due to his misinterpretation of the lyric “I can’t hide” for “I get high”

John brushed it off, humbly corrected him and said “We’re rock and rollers…It’s party time.” Bob whipped out a doobie and passed it to Ringo. Ringo, unaware of the “puff puff pass” rule accidentally smoked the whole joint by himself, but Bob came prepared with plenty more to share amongst the other band mates, including manager Brian Epstein. George recalled trying pot before but felt as though it didn’t do much. It worked this time, so well they kept saying they were on the ceiling, with Paul announcing he was “thinking for the first time” and “seeing the seven levels”. “Let’s have a laugh” became their code phrase for going out for a smoke.

At this time the U.S. was knee deep in the Vietnam War and substance experimentation was on the rise. All the while, the Fab Four came out with “Rubber Soul”. Their hair had grown a bit shaggier and their motivation was driven more towards introspection and existentialism. Cannabis was a crucial part of their creative drive, especially once “Revolver” came out with an explosion of trippy sounds, profound song meanings and different instruments.

Later they went on to try other psychedelics and spiritual journeys, like when they visited northern India and met the Maharishi. These trips are what influenced them to write their psychedelic music with some reefer references; for example, in “I am the Walrus” (at the end if you play it backwards on a turntable it says “Paul is Dead”) you can hear, probably John, chanting “smoke pot, smoke pot, everybody smoke pot”. You also can’t forget the classic “I get high with a little help from my friends.”

With albums like “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” it’s hard to miss the groovy tones, transcendental lyrics and love infused vibes that were influenced by many different mind altering substances but they always favored the good herb. (Okay and LSD, but the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds was actually derived from a drawing John’s son Julian drew of a school mate and just so happened to have the abbreviation LSD!)

Once the band started becoming tired of the road and each other they kept making music but their relationship slowly deteriorated and eventually broke up. One thing that remained consistent was the influence cannabis had on their creativity.

Sources:
Bob Dylan turns The Beatles on to cannabis
Marijuana Uses: The Beatles

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