Bob Dylan and John Lennon were two of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, and their relationship was complex and inspiring.
Despite only meeting a few times, their musical relationship changed the course of popular music in many ways.
From Dylan introducing The Beatles to cannabis in 1964, to Lennon’s tribute song to Dylan, Roll On John, it is clear that their influence on each other was great.
Their musical output was also affected by their relationship, from the voice analysis expert who was able to compare their songwriting approaches, to the allegations of plagiarism and the insults that Lennon threw at Dylan.
In this article, we will explore the friendship between Bob Dylan and John Lennon and the ways in which their music was affected by it.
Though they only met a few times, the musical relationship between Bob Dylan and John Lennon was complex and ever-evolving. From inspiring and introducing each other to their respective music, to parodying one another’s work, this dynamic duo pushed each other to create some of the greatest music of the 20th century.
Dylan introduced The Beatles to cannabis in August 1964, which coincided with a change in their recording habits. Lennon was inspired by Dylan’s narrative-driven folk songs and began writing more introspective and acoustic songs after meeting him.
In 1966, Dylan and Lennon were more similar than ever before, experiencing fame while creating some of the best music of the 20th century. Dylan believed that one of Lennon’s songs on The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album ripped off his style and parodied Lennon’s Norwegian Wood with his very own Fourth Time Around. On the other hand, Lennon was critical of Dylan’s album ‘Slow Train Coming’ and called the song ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ mediocre.
Lennon remained fixated on Dylan even before his death in 1980, mentioning him in several songs and interviews. Dylan has also paid tribute to Lennon in his 35th studio album, Tempest, with a song called Roll on John. The song is not a sad song about a friend that died, but Dylan acknowledging that Lennon has become legend.
Through their complex and ever-evolving relationship, Dylan and Lennon created some of the most memorable music of the 20th century.
Allegations of Plagiarism
You may have heard the rumour that one of John’s songs on The Beatles’ Rubber Soul album was a rip-off of Bob’s style, and Bob wasn’t too pleased about it.
It all started when Bob listened to Rubber Soul and was fuming. He said, ‘What is this? It’s me Bob. He’s doing me! Even Sonny and Cher are doing me, but, f*ing hell, I invented it.’
Bob then parodied Lennon’s song Norwegian Wood with his own Fourth Time Around. The song ends with what some can interpret as a hit back at Lennon, with the lyrics reading, ‘I never asked for your crutch / Now don’t ask for mine.’
Despite this, Bob and John still had some form of relationship and even met a few times between 1964 and 1969.
John had been inspired by Bob’s narrative-driven folk songs and began writing more introspective and acoustic songs after meeting him. Bob also introduced The Beatles to cannabis in August 1964, which coincided with a change in their recording habits.
However, Bob’s motorcycle accident in 1966 seemed to have severed their connection, and they only met once more in 1969.
John remained fixated on Bob and mentioned him in several songs and interviews before his murder in 1980.
Bob’s 35th studio album, Tempest, even has a tribute song to John called Roll on John. The song shares the title of a traditional ballad that Bob recorded in 1961 and is a sad lament in the tradition of tragic ballads about larger-than-life folk figures.
Roll On John isn’t a sad song about a friend that died, but Bob acknowledging that John has become legend.
Although they had a slightly uneasy friendship, John Lennon wasn’t afraid to throw a few insults at Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, calling them ‘company men’. According to Lennon, these two had become too content with their fame, and he felt that they weren’t taking enough risks.
Lennon’s critique of McCartney and Jagger was seen as a way to challenge the status quo and push them to be more creative in their music. He wanted them to take risks, to write songs that were daring and more complex than the traditional pop music of the time.
Lennon’s critiques of McCartney and Jagger were seen as a way to challenge the status quo and push them to be more creative in their music. He wanted them to take risks, to write songs that were daring and more complex than the traditional pop music of the time.
Lennon’s opinion of Dylan shifted over time, but he never stopped pushing the boundaries of popular music. He wanted to break free from his own reputation and make music that had no precedent.
Lennon was an artist who was unafraid to challenge the established order, and this was reflected in his insulting remarks about McCartney and Jagger. His critiques of his contemporaries pushed them to be more creative in their music, and in a way, he was helping shape the future of popular music.
Lennon’s legacy of pushing the boundaries of popular music endures to this day.
Voice Analysis Expert
A voice analysis expert believes the audio diary is likely to be authentic, offering a fascinating insight into the complex relationship between two of the greatest musical legends of the 20th century.
Through this recording, we gain a unique insight into the thoughts and feelings of two of the biggest stars of the time. The voice analysis expert was able to determine that it’s John Lennon’s voice on the audio diary due to the distinctive vocal nuances that were present.
They were able to match the voice on the recording with other recordings of Lennon, such as interviews and songs. This allowed them to confirm that the audio was in fact Lennon’s.
This recording provides a unique opportunity to hear the two titans of music speaking candidly about their thoughts and feelings. It also provides an insight into the evolution of their relationship, and how it changed over time.
The voice analysis expert has confirmed that this audio is an authentic and valuable source of information about the two stars.
Discovery of Dylan’s Music
Discovering Dylan’s music was a revelation for the Beatles, inspiring John to explore his own emotions in his music and paving the way for a shift in their sound.
While the band had delved into folk music before, they had never quite heard anything like Dylan’s surreal and poetic songwriting. His songs seemed to capture the spirit of a generation and spoke to the anxieties of their time in a way that was both unique and universal.
The discovery of Dylan’s music was a pivotal moment for the Beatles, particularly for John. His songwriting suddenly took on a more introspective and personal tone. The narrative-driven folk songs of Dylan inspired Lennon and began to write more acoustic songs as a result. He was able to express his own emotions in his music, something that he hadn’t been able to do before.
John was also drawn to Dylan’s thematic approach, which focused on larger topics like love and politics. His songs were designed to transcend their context and have an activist agenda.
Lennon’s admiration for Dylan was evident in his work, and it’s clear that Dylan’s influence was a catalyst for the Beatles’ shift to more introspective and personal songwriting.
You could say Lennon had a professional songwriter’s attitude to writing pop songs before he heard Dylan’s work, but Dylan’s influence pushed him to explore his own emotions in his music.
Lennon had been writing pop songs since his early teens, and he was already a successful songwriter by the time he heard Dylan’s work. He had written songs for The Beatles, as well as for his own solo career. But Dylan’s music opened Lennon up to a new way of writing.
He began to write more introspective, acoustic songs after hearing Dylan. He embraced the idea of using music to express his own individual emotions, rather than just writing songs for commercial success.
Lennon’s songwriting approach was further shaped by other influences, such as the British Invasion bands and Motown. He was also inspired by the poetic lyrics of Bob Dylan.
Lennon was particularly impressed with Dylan’s narrative-driven folk songs, which encouraged him to write more personal and introspective lyrics. He also drew influence from Dylan’s use of metaphor and imagery in his lyrics.
Lennon began to incorporate these same techniques into his own songwriting. His songwriting style continued to evolve over the years and his work eventually took on a more experimental, avant-garde sound.
He began to explore different genres, such as reggae and electronica, and he began to experiment with more abstract lyrical ideas. He may not have achieved the same level of success as Dylan after their initial meeting, but Lennon’s songwriting was forever changed by Dylan’s influence.
Experiencing fame while creating some of the best music of the 20th century, Dylan and Lennon’s relationship was complex and one-sided – it’s fitting that Dylan’s 35th studio album, Tempest, includes a tribute song to Lennon called ‘Roll On John’.
The song shares the title of a traditional ballad that Dylan recorded in 1961, and is a sad lament in the tradition of tragic ballads about larger-than-life folk figures.
Dylan’s songs are designed to transcend their context, and even his topical material has an activist agenda. In ‘Roll On John’, Dylan acknowledges that Lennon has become legend and pays homage to his influence on the music world.
Bob Dylan’s music was a major influence on John Lennon. Lennon was inspired by Dylan’s narrative-driven folk songs and began writing more introspective and acoustic songs after meeting him.
Dylan’s influence on Lennon is evident in many of Lennon’s solo songs, especially in his 1971 single ‘Imagine’. The song is a lyrical masterpiece, and its message of peace and unity is still relevant today.
While Lennon and Dylan only met a few times between 1964 and 1969, the impact of their relationship is still felt in the music world.
Roll On John is a beautiful tribute to Lennon. Dylan captures the spirit of Lennon’s music in this song – his unique sound, his wit, and his ability to convey powerful messages.
The song is a reminder of the power of music and how it can bring people together. Dylan and Lennon’s music will live on for many years to come, and their influence on today’s musicians will continue to be felt.
Frequently Asked Questions
How did Dylan’s music influence Lennon’s songwriting?
John Lennon was famously influenced by Bob Dylan’s music during the early 1960s. His songs before this, such as ‘Love Me Do’, were typically more formulaic in nature. However, upon hearing Dylan’s folk-inspired, narrative-driven songs, Lennon realized he could express his own emotions in his music.
Lennon began to write more introspective and poetic songs than before, such as ‘In My Life’, which was influenced by Dylan’s style. Lennon even showed admiration for Dylan’s work in the late 1970s, despite having become more dismissive of it earlier on. This is a testament to the impact Dylan’s music had on Lennon’s songwriting.
What kind of impact did Lennon’s critiques of Dylan’s music have?
John Lennon’s critiques of Bob Dylan’s music had a lasting impact on their relationship and the music industry.
Lennon was critical of Dylan’s post-conversion Christian-themed music and famously called the song ‘Gotta Serve Somebody’ mediocre.
This opinion soured their relationship, with Lennon becoming more dismissive of Dylan’s music over the years.
Lennon’s opinion of Dylan shifted over time, and he eventually stopped paying much attention to Dylan’s music by the 1970s.
Lennon’s critique of Dylan also had an impact on the contemporary music scene, with many artists striving to break away from their traditional sound.
How would Lennon have reacted to Dylan’s tribute song to him?
John Lennon would likely have reacted positively to Bob Dylan’s tribute song to him. Although Lennon had grown somewhat distant from Dylan’s music in the late 1970s, he was still highly influenced by his music and had formed a slightly uneasy friendship with him over the years.
Lennon was known to have a fondness for traditional folk ballads, and Roll On John fits perfectly within this genre. The song speaks to Lennon’s legacy, one that is larger than life and has transcended the context of his life and death.
As a fellow music legend, Lennon would have appreciated this tribute, as it speaks to their shared history and the impact they had on each other’s music.
When did the Beatles first hear Dylan’s music?
The Beatles first heard Bob Dylan’s music in the early 1960s. They were inspired by the narrative-driven folk songs and began writing more introspective and acoustic music after meeting Dylan.
In 1966, Dylan and John Lennon were more similar than ever before, creating some of the best music of the 20th century. Dylan introduced The Beatles to cannabis in August 1964, which coincided with a change in their recording habits.
Lennon remained fixated on Dylan’s music until his death in 1980.
What made Lennon reluctant to appear in Dylan’s documentary film?
John Lennon was reluctant to appear in Bob Dylan’s documentary film, ‘Eat the Document’, released in 1966.
Dylan had just completed the sprawling double disc, ‘Blonde on Blonde’, and the film followed Dylan on his tour of the UK and Ireland that year.
Lennon had become increasingly dismissive of Dylan’s music by the late 1970s and had taken issue with the religious themes in Dylan’s music following his conversion to Christianity.
Lennon was fearful that Dylan would portray him in a negative light in the film and this apprehension, combined with his shifting feelings towards Dylan’s music, made him hesitant to appear in the movie.
It’s evident that Bob Dylan and John Lennon had a complex relationship, but there’s no denying the influence each had on the other.
From Dylan introducing The Beatles to cannabis in 1964, to Lennon’s tribute song to Dylan, Roll On John, the impact of their friendship was profound.
Dylan’s influence on Lennon’s songwriting approach and voice analysis expert, along with Lennon’s discovery of Dylan’s music and alleged plagiarism, prove that their relationship was more than just a casual friendship.
Despite their differences and occasional insults, the two musicians created some of the most iconic songs of the 20th century, and their influence will continue to be felt for generations to come.