Did Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones Almost Make a Record Together?
by Ken Kelley
November 7, 2014
Considering the individual influence that Bob Dylan, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones have had upon music, can you imagine the three of them collaborating on an album? According to a new book from producer and engineer Glyn Johns, it could have happened.
Rolling Stone reports that Johns and Dylan had a chance meeting at a New York airport where Dylan shared the idea with the producer. While Johns doesn’t specify the year in which his conversation with Dylan took place, Rolling Stone estimates that it likely took place around 1969 — since Johns had worked with the Beatles on sessions eventually released as ‘Let It Be‘ during that period.
Hulton Archive, Getty Images
“[Dylan] asked me about the Beatles album I had just finished and was very complimentary about my work with the Stones over the years,” Johns says in the book. “In turn, I babbled about how how much we had all been influenced by his work.”
John and Bob
What Dylan’s suggested next justifiably shocked Johns: “He said he had this idea to make a record with the Beatles and the Stones. And he asked me if I would find out whether the others would be interested. I was completely bowled over. Can you imagine the three greatest influences on popular music in the previous decade making an album together?”
George and Bob
Johns says that the idea gained quick support from Keith Richards and George Harrison. Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman were also more than willing to go along with the idea provided everyone else was game. Unfortunately, the idea quickly ground to a halt thereafter. John Lennon didn’t offer an outright no, Johns says, but the Beatle wasn’t all that interested either. Then there was Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, who John says “both said absolutely not.”
Bob Dylan with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, 1964
Johns still marvels over what might have been, however. “I had it all figured out,” he writes. “We would pool the best material from Mick and Keith, Paul and John, Bob and George, and then select the best rhythm section from the two bands to suit whichever songs we were cutting. … I would have given anything to have given it a go.”