Sir Paul McCartney revealed that it was Bob Dylan who first introduced The Beatles to weed in the 1960s.
The legendary singer, 78, claimed to Uncut magazine that bandmate Ringo Starr thought the “ceiling was moving.”
“It was at the Delmonico Hotel on Park Avenue and 59th in New York City in August, 1964. We were in a hotel room, all being good old lads having our Scotch and Coke – it was an afterparty, I think,” McCartney recalled.
“Dylan arrived and he went into the bedroom with his roadie. Ringo went along to see what was up. So he finds Dylan, rolling up, and he has a toke,” the Grammy-winner described.
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“He came back in and we said, ‘What was it like?’ So Ringo says, ‘The ceiling is kind of moving down…,'” he continued. “We all ran into the backroom going, ‘Give us a bit, give us a bit!’ So that was the very first evening we ever got stoned!”
The Beatles (L-R) John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (Richard Parkin Starkey).
(Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images)
McCartney continued to experiment with drugs during his long music career. “I tried heroin just the once,” McCartney told Daily Mirror in the early aughts.
“Even then, I didn’t realize I’d taken it. I was just handed something, smoked it, then found out what it was,” he said. “It didn’t do anything for me, which was lucky because I wouldn’t have fancied heading down that road.”
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“I did cocaine for about a year around the time of Sgt. Pepper,” McCartney said referencing The Beatles’ 1967 album. “Coke and maybe some grass to balance it out. I was never completely crazy with cocaine.”
Bob Dylan performing in 2019.
“I’d been introduced to it and at first it seemed OK, like anything that’s new and stimulating,” he reasoned. “When you start working your way through it, you start thinking: ‘Mmm, this is not so cool an idea,’ especially when you start getting those terrible comedowns.”
He also explained how The Beatles sometimes referenced drugs in their song lyrics. “A song like ‘Got to Get You Into My Life,’ that’s directly about pot, although everyone missed it at the time,” McCartney said.
“‘Day Tripper,’ that’s one about acid (LSD). ‘Lucy in the Sky,’ that’s pretty obvious. There’s others that make subtle hints about drugs, but, you know, it’s easy to overestimate the influence of drugs on the Beatles’ music.”
McCartney added, “Just about everyone was doing drugs in one form or another and we were no different, but the writing was too important for us to mess it up by getting off our heads all the time.”