The Beatles’ legacy is defined not only by their groundbreaking music but also by the mythos that surrounds the band’s meteoric rise and eventual breakup. Amid the legal battles and internal feuds, it is easy to forget that the Fab Four were once just four young lads from Liverpool, experiencing life’s highs and lows together. One significant moment in their journey was their venture into the mind-expanding world of LSD. In a candid revelation, Paul McCartney shares the real story of John Lennon’s and his first acid trip—a moment that shaped their friendship and, perhaps, their music.
A Star-Crossed LSD Experience
While George Harrison and John Lennon had experimented with LSD before, Paul McCartney was initially the last Beatle to partake in the psychedelic experience. By the summer of 1967, McCartney was not shy about his use of LSD and defended it openly in interviews. Amid the mainstream attention surrounding their drug use, McCartney and Lennon shared a pivotal moment together.
The LSD trip brought McCartney and Lennon together like “star-crossed poets,” as they looked into each other’s eyes and dissolved into each other’s beings. McCartney recalls the mind-boggling experience:
“And we looked into each other’s eyes, the eye contact thing we used to do, which is fairly mind-boggling. You dissolve into each other. But that’s what we did, round about that time, that’s what we did a lot,” the singer recalled, “And it was amazing. You’re looking into each other’s eyes and you would want to look away, but you wouldn’t, and you could see yourself in the other person. It was a very freaky experience and I was totally blown away.”
The Enigmatic Power of LSD
The profound effects of LSD left McCartney grappling with its implications. He questioned how one could return to normalcy after such an experience, acknowledging that the decision was life-changing. As McCartney explored his feelings, he found solace in the vision of Lennon as the “absolute Emperor of Eternity.”
However, the LSD trip was not without its challenges. McCartney found himself physically exhausted, yearning for rest after a few hours. Despite Lennon’s skepticism about sleeping off the trip, McCartney sought refuge in bed, where he continued to hallucinate. Throughout the journey, Lennon’s presence offered reassurance and stability to McCartney—a testament to their enduring friendship.
“There’s something disturbing about it. You ask yourself, ‘How do you come back from it? How do you then lead a normal life after that?’ And the answer is, you don’t. After that you’ve got to get trepanned or you’ve got to meditate for the rest of your life. You’ve got to make a decision which way you’re going to go,” McCartney mused.
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