We delve into the vault of Far Out Magazine to look back on a fruitful relationship between two of the biggest icons of the sixties, the Beatles and Bob Dylan, who despite their heyday still had some sticky issues during the decade. Of course, the duo was mostly friends, but that didn’t stop Dylan from throwing a barb or two in the way of the Liverpool boys.
Bob Dylan and the Beatles were allies during the fame blitz the pair experienced around the release of their music on the fledgling 1960s rock scene. While the group had known Dylan early in his career and without a doubt they found inspiration in his lyrical style. But that didn’t stop Dylan from honestly evaluating the work, especially when he felt it wasn’t up to the band’s standards.
Dylan never held his tongue when asked for his opinion and always spoke his mind, whether in interviews or in writing. This approach has gotten him into trouble on many occasions, both with the press and with his contemporaries. But it was also an integral part of what makes it the mystery that it is.
During one particular interview, the folk-rock poet gave a fascinating insight into Dylan’s thoughts at the time and specifically how he didn’t feel accepted by the masses like the Beatles.
“I’m not gonna be accepted, but I would like to be accepted by the Hogtown Dispatch literary crowd who wear violets in their crotch and make sure they get all the movie and TV reviews and also write about all the ladies’ auxiliary meetings and the PTA gatherings, you know all in the same column. I would like to be accepted by them people. But I don’t think I’m ever going to be, whereas The Beatles have been.”
Using this opportunity to put two of the decade’s biggest stars in the same story, the interviewer questioned Dylan about his comments about the Beatles, to which he replied,
“I’m just saying The Beatles have arrived, right? In all music forms, whether Stravinsky or Leopold Jake the Second, who plays in the Five Spot, the Black Muslim Twins, or whatever.”
He added: “The Beatles are accepted, and you’ve got to accept them for what they do. They play songs like ‘Michelle’ and ‘Yesterday’, a lot of smoothness there,” Dylan scoffs, eyes twinkling. Maybe he knew the band’s potential, or maybe he just ate sour grapes, but Dylan didn’t hold back.
Whether you agree that the two songs are “cop-outs,” or if Dylan was perhaps a little jealous, rest assured, the Beatles would only have welcomed the help of an artist they had deep respect for.