The Beatles and Bob Dylan are two of the artists who revolutionized rock music in the 1960s. It’s no secret that the Beatles have sometimes taken Dylan’s influence. Dylan was too aware of the influence he had on the Fab Four.
Dylan got all the reaction when he first heard the classic Beatles album Rubber Soul. In particular, the song “Norwegian Wood (The Bird Has Flown)” caused a lot of feelings in him. He said to someone that the song really belonged to him.
Bob Dylan did not like when the others took his influence
In the 1960s, Dylan felt that other artists like Sonny & Cher were influencing him. He was right, because Sonny & Cher’s signature hit “I Got You Babe” was directly inspired by Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe”. When Dylan heard Rubber Soul, he felt it was yet another example of someone who co-opted his musical style.
Rather than take it in stride, Dylan was rather upset to see John Lennon take inspiration from him. In reference to Rubber Soul, Dylan said, “What is it?” It’s me, Bob. [John’s] make myself! Even Sonny & Cher make me, but, hell, I made it up. Dylan seemed particularly exasperated by the Rubber Soul Norwegian Wood track. “
Bob Dylan writes a response to “Norwegian Wood”
Dylan felt he owned “Norwegian Wood” because his music influenced the song. Dylan wanted to take “Norwegian Wood” in his own way. He did this by writing and recording a song called “4th Time Around”.
“4th Time Around” is a satire on “Norwegian Wood”. The two songs have similar instrumentation but very different lyrics. While “Norwegian Wood” is warm and welcoming, “4th Time Around” is a bitter song.
It ends with the phrase “I never asked for your crutch / Now don’t ask mine. This line can be interpreted as Dylan telling John not to use his style as a “crutch”. John may have gotten the message, because the BeatlesRubber Soul albums have less of a Dylan influence.
Al Kooper and John Lennon react to “4th Time Around”
When Dylan finished “Fourth Time Around”, his musician colleague Al Kooper said it was too similar to “Norwegian Wood”. Kooper said he feared the Beatles would sue Dylan. Dylan said that “Norwegian Wood” was his song in the first place, so a trial was out of the question.
During his career, John has had many incredible experiences. One of those experiences was hearing Dylan play for him in private. Dylan once played “4th Time Around” to John. John told Dylan that he didn’t like “4th Time Around” very much. It’s quite interesting considering that it was based on a Beatles song that John wrote!
However, John gave a more mixed assessment of the song in an interview with Rolling Stone in 1968. He said, “I didn’t like it … I was very paranoid. I just didn’t like how I felt – I thought it was a meaningful skit, you know, but it wasn’t. It was great. “It is a mixed assessment if there has ever been one!
See also: Beatles: Why Bob Dylan Said “Yesterday” and “Michelle” Are “Cop-Outs”