Glyn Johns says Dylan proposed recording with Beatles, Stones
Johns told the two groups, but Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney declined
Johns tells story in new memoir, "Sound Man"
It would have been the ultimate supergroup: the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan.
And it was actually proposed, says engineer and producer Glyn Johns, according to a piece in Rolling Stone.
According to Johns’ new memoir, “Sound Man,” while traveling with Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner he ran into Dylan in New York sometime in 1969. The singer had just done an interview with Wenner and started peppering Johns with questions about the two bands.
Johns had worked with the Beatles in early 1969 on the “Get Back” sessions – later to become “Let It Be” – and the Stones on 1968’s “Beggars Banquet,” so he had recent experience with both.
Then Dylan dropped a bombshell.
“He said he had this idea to make a record with the Beatles and the Stones,” Johns writes. “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?”
The artists had crossed paths in various combinations before. Lennon and McCartney wrote “I Wanna Be Your Man” for the Stones and later sang on the Stones’ “We Love You.” Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were at the TV taping of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love.” Lennon appeared in the Stones’ “Rock and Roll Circus” film.
Dylan met the Beatles in 1964 and introduced them to marijuana.
Johns ran the idea by the bands’ members. Harrison and Richards were all for it, he says, and others were noncommittal. But Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger said “absolutely not,” Johns writes.
A shame, Johns adds, as he had the sessions all planned out.
“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,” he writes.
But, he observes, “Paul and Mick were probably right.”