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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Summer Psychosis: Preview for the Championship Round

Hello everyone,

So, here we are...finally. It took a freaking hurricane to get this final showdown underway. It's a habit, really, waiting for a natural disaster. It helps me focus. But seriously, I am pleased to announce...

THE SUMMER PSYCHOSIS CHAMPIONSHIP!! (Fox football theme music plays)

THE BEATLES (a.k.a The Fab Four a.k.a. The Mop Tops a.k.a. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band)


BOB DYLAN (a.k.a. Robert Zimmerman a.k.a. The Bard a.k.a. ChaCha)

To put it lightly, this is a matchup of epic proportions. Not only are these the two best artists of all time (according to the blog's votes), but they were artists who emerged in the 60's and have been legends ever since. The most incredible thing about this matchup is that Bob Dylan and The Beatles also met, became friends and influenced each other's sounds in fundamental ways. But first, let's relive their fateful meeting (Note: This is somewhat dramatized).

August 28th, 1964 - The Delmonico Hotel in New York City

(Bob Dylan and writer Al Aronowitz walk down one of the many hallways of the Delmonico, searching for the Beatles' suite. Finally, they come upon the right door)

AA: Here it is.

(Dylan knocks, Beatles' manager Brian Epstein answers the door)

BE: Hello Al, hello Bob. Come in!

(Dylan and Aronowitz walk into the suite. The four Beatles John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr are sitting around a table, but quickly turn around to face the door. It's clear they've been expecting company and approach the two guests along with Epstein. Personal assistant Mal Evans turns with them)

AA: Hello everyone. Bob, meet John, George, Ringo, Paul, Brian and Mal

(Several greetings and handshakes exchanged)

BD: Before we even sit down, do we have any drinks?

BE: No, not really. What would you like?

BD: Some wine would be fantastic.

BE: (Turns to Mal) Could you get some cheap stuff right away?

(Mal nods, immediately opens the door and walks out, heading for the lobby. Dylan walks toward the table and chairs, reaching for something in his pocket. He sits down and starts rolling a joint of marijuana)

BD: (Looks up to Epstein and the Beatles) Hey, you cats should have a smoke.

(Several Beatles shake their heads)

BE: Thank you, but we don't smoke cigarettes.

BD: (Laughs and shakes his head) No man, I'm talking about a joint. You want a hit?

(Epstein and the Beatles take a few seconds to respond, glancing apprehensively at each other. Epstein suddenly takes on a sheepish tone)

BE: We've never smoked marijuana before.

(Dylan is struck dumbfounded, looking for answers in each face but coming up with nothing)

BD: What? But what about your song? The one about getting high?

(Now it's the Beatles who are dumbfounded. More glances and puzzled looks are exchanged)

JL: Which song?

BD: You know...(singing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand") "...and when I touch you I get high, I get high..."

JL: (Looking embarrassed) Those aren't the words. The words are "I can't hide, I can't hide, I can't hide..."

Though the script (written by me) is completely amateur, the encounter quickly became legendary for many reasons. Obviously, it was the first time the Beatles had enjoyed cannabis and hilarity ensued. They shared a mutual admiration for each other, and now that the two artists had finally met they were genuinely inspired by each other. One might argue that the meeting was the best thing to happen to both of them. Here's the breakdown:

Bob Dylan influencing The Beatles: The marijuana, of course. Some of The Beatles had actually tried it when they were still in Liverpool, but they thought it was nothing special. On August 28th, the Beatles truly realized its mind-expanding properties. Later Beatles' albums became more and more drug fueled as the Fab Four tried harder stuff such as LSD. Lennon even released a solo single "Cold Turkey" about getting over heroin. But besides the drugs, the Beatles' music (as described by Lennon) entered a "Dylan period" where they started experimenting with non-romantic songs and a Dylan-esque folk aesthetic. "Norwegian Wood" and "I'm a Loser" are prime examples. Dylan's direct influence was a key element in the Beatles' musical maturity.

The Beatles influencing Bob Dylan: On August 28th, Dylan was still in his revered, Greenwich Village folk period. Yet he had heard The Beatles on the radio and described their sound as a reinvention of rock and roll. After their first meeting, Dylan's musical evolution accelerated considerably. No longer content to be a folk icon, Dylan started to experiment, most notably with electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. In essence, Dylan started to become an actual rock star, which was helped in the U.K. when the Beatles "endorsed" him. Some of Dylan's most famous songs and albums were released in the next few years, and most of which had a strong electric component.

So, there you have it. The Beatles vs. Bob Dylan is a matchup steeped in a vibrant history. They were peers that challenged each other to be better and remained lifelong acquaintances who collaborated on occasion (Harrison with Dylan, most notably). Two amazing artists who were at the cream of the crop in the most storied era of popular music. Do we really have to decide between them? (Do Super Bowls end in a tie?)

Get ready, everyone! Summer Psychosis is going to end with someone on top and 149 left in the dust.

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