Screenshot: John Lennon's First Acid Trip/YouTube

There are certain milestones no world-famous rock star ever forgets. The first time he hears his voice on the radio. That first big appearance on American television. The first gold record. The first time he, his lead guitarist, and their respective wives unwittingly drop acid that’s been put in their coffee by their lecherous, turned-on dentist. These are the moments that make a career. In the case of John Lennon, that first acid trip really was a life-changing moment, and it really did start at a dinner party thrown in 1965 by a London dentist with a mischievous streak and a total disregard for personal boundaries. LSD started asserting its influence over The Beatles’ music as early as 1966’s classic Revolver LP. Drug-inspired images would dominate the second half of the group’s catalog. Lennon talked candidly about that first acid trip in an archival interview that has now been animated by Rolling Stone. The result is like the weirdest possible episode of the Fab Four’s Saturday morning cartoon show.

John Riley, a dentist friend of George Harrison’s, slyly drugged his guests’ coffee one night in the spring of 1965, then advised them not to leave. The tooth-puller had an orgy in mind, but Lennon and Harrison had other plans. They decided to take their respective wives and get the hell out of there, fleeing the scene in Harrison’s Mini Cooper. Their first stop was the Ad Lib Club, a nightspot that looms large in Beatle mythology. By the time they arrived at this hangout, the four travelers were paranoid and hallucinating, imagining that an elevator was on fire and that a simple table stretched on toward infinity. Lennon admits that the LSD was reacting with the speed that he was “always on” during those years. Somehow, Harrison managed to drive the group back to his place. And there, Lennon seemingly had the inspiration for a song that would wind up on Revolver: “George’s house seemed to be just like a big submarine. I was driving it.” So that’s where that came from. Huh.

[via Laughing Squid]

Advertisement