Bob Dylan was one of John Lennon’s musical heroes. The “Imagine” singer was impressed by Dylan’s introspective songwriting style and folk vocal performances and wanted to incorporate these traits into his music. Dylan heavily influenced a few of the songs John Lennon wrote for The Beatles, and Lennon wasn’t afraid to admit it.
Here are 5 of John Lennon’s Beatles songs that were influenced by Bob Dylan
“Norwegian Wood” is from The Beatles’ 1966 Rubber Soul album. The track was written by John Lennon and featured the first use of the sitar on a Beatles song by George Harrison. The lyrics involve Lennon discussing an extramarital affair he was involved in. Dylan’s vulnerability influences him as he reveals personal details in the verses.
Dylan could tell Lennon was inspired by him but felt like the Beatles singer was ripping him off. After listening to Rubber Soul, specifically “Norwegian Wood”, Dylan said, “What is this? It’s me, Bob. [John’s] doing me!” The “Like a Rolling Stone” singer then wrote “4th Time Around” to mock Lennon and parody the Beatles’ track.
‘You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away’
From 1965’s Help!, “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” is a Beatles song featuring influences from Dylan and folk music. Referring to this track in his 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon said this song was written during his “Dylan period.”
“That’s me in my Dylan period again,” Lennon shared. “I am like a chameleon… influenced by whatever is going on.”
In a 1984 interview, Paul McCartney said Lennon was “heavily influenced by Bob” while writing this track, and one could hear him doing an impression of him in his vocal performance.
“Yer Blues” was John Lennon’s attempt at writing a blues song for The Beatles. In Anthology, Lennon said he wrote the song on The Beatles’ 1968 trip to India, where he felt suicidal and wanted to connect with God.
The song itself is more intense than something Dylan would make, but its lyrics about uncertainty reflect similar themes that Dylan would write about. Lennon even references Mr. Jones from Dylan’s “The Ballad of the Thin Man,” a track about how the world makes less sense when one asks more questions.
‘In My Life’
“In My Life” is another Rubber Soul song inspired by Dylan. Lennon wanted to write a track reflecting on nostalgia from growing up in Liverpool and decided to take a more personal route. Lennon explains to David Sheff that it’s “my first major piece of work. Up till then, it had all been sort of glib and throwaway. And that was the first time I consciously put my literary part of myself into the lyric. Inspired by Kenneth Allsop, the British journalist, and Bob Dylan.”
‘I’m a Loser’
John Lennon wrote “I’m a Loser” as a song for 1964’s Beatles for Sale. It’s another song written in his “Dylan period,” where he tried to be more revealing and truthful in his music. Lennon insists that this track comes directly from his admiration for Dylan, even using the word “clown.”
“I objected to the word ‘clown’ because that was always artsy-fartsy, but Dylan had used it so I thought it was all right, and it rhymed with whatever I was doing,” Lennon said in a 1974 interview.
This is one of the earliest examples of Dylan’s influence on Lennon, and tracks like this were constant throughout Lennon’s career.
Originally posted on showbizsecrets.net
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