The Story Behind Bob Dylan’s Song For Ringo Starr

via CynLennon1 / Youtube

In the groovy 1960s, Bob Dylan was churning out classic songs faster than a single glove disappearing into thin air. It’s like he was misplacing melodies around his house, much like a missing glove. Joan Baez even stumbled upon ‘Love Is Just a Four Letter Word’ hidden behind his piano. When she played it, Dylan couldn’t help but remark on the beauty of the song, only for Baez to reveal, “You wrote it, you dope!”

But Baez wasn’t the sole beneficiary. Dylan generously shared his tracks with The Byrds, Ronnie Wood, Nico, and even Elvis Presley.

His prolific output during that era led to rumors that he’d struck a deal with the devil. A notion he humorously played along with, quipping that he’s still touring because he’s keeping his end of the bargain.

However, one act that stands out is offering a song to The Beatles. It’s an almost surreal gesture. Surprisingly, Dylan never mentioned it and didn’t talk about The Beatles much, despite sharing a joint and introducing them to weed on that mythical day of August 28th, 1964, at New York’s Delmonico hotel. That joint-sharing moment was like a scene from a myth, painting The Beatles’ music with psychedelic colors for years to come.

Paul McCartney once recalled feeling enlightened while talking to Dylan, comparing it to ascending a spiral walkway of insight.

Dylan wasn’t as effusive in praising The Beatles, but he did express appreciation for them. “I just kept it to myself that I really dug them,” Dylan revealed to biographer Anthony Scaduto.

Offering them a song, though, speaks volumes. During the Let It Be sessions, George Harrison, Dylan’s good friend from The Beatles, can be heard saying, “Here’s one Dylan wrote for Ringo,” before playing ‘Maureen,’ named after Ringo’s wife. Dylan had written alongside Harrison in 1968, sharing ‘I’d Have You Anytime’ and ‘Nowhere To Go’. This song likely completed the trio.

While none of this is confirmed beyond Harrison’s remarks during sessions, there’s a Dylan-esque quality to ‘Maureen’ with its unique rhythm.

During the same sessions, Harrison shared a few rare Dylan tracks with the band: ‘Please Mrs Henry’ and ‘Get Your Rocks Off’.

This story also reflects Dylan’s relationship with Harrison. Dylan once said, “George got stuck with being the Beatle that had to fight to get songs on records because of Lennon and McCartney. Well, who wouldn’t get stuck? If George had had his own group and was writing his own songs back then, he’d have been probably just as big as anybody.” Their collaborations reveal a master passing on songs to his apprentice and the apprentice exchanging guitar tips.

Dylan further praised Harrison’s unique ability to create melodies out of seemingly disconnected chords. As he put it, “He was from that old line of playing where every note was a note to be counted.”

‘Maureen’ stands as a mysterious relic from a period of creative explosion, where sharing, stealing, and songs slipping into obscurity were commonplace. It was an era of artistic revolt, and Dylan and Harrison were at the forefront of this cultural renaissance, exchanging musical gifts like kindred spirits.