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Drugs as The Beatles inspiration - Essay Example

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Drugs as The Beatles inspiration

Even after they quit taking acid, their minds reacted to effects of the drug. Throughout the life of the band, drugs influenced the Beatles' music.The musicians took over-the-counter uppers called Preludin to keep up the grueling schedule required of young musicians under contract in German clubs. John Lennon said, "If they came in at five in the morning and we'd been playing seven hours, they'd give us a crate of champagne and we were supposed to carry on. My voice began to hurt with the pain of singing. But we learned from the Germans that you could stay awake by eating slimming pills, so we did that" (The Beatles Anthology 49). Ringo Starr remembers that they began using drugs, because, "That's the only way we could continue playing for so long. we'd get really wired and go on for days. So with beer and Preludin, that's how we survived" (The Beatles Anthology 50).When they got back to Liverpool, the lifestyle had already changed the way they played music. George Harrison recalls that the club audiences "liked us because we were kind of roughwe'd come on, jumping and stomping. Wild men in leather suits" (The Beatles Anthology 57). The music was infused with the effects of the altered state. Rock and roll's origins lie in the frenetic beat of the amphetamine rush. Like generations of jazz musicians before them, The Beatles also found inspiration in marijuana. John admits, "The drugs were around a long time. All the jazz musicians had been into heavy dope for years and years-it's just that they got in the media in the Sixties" (The Beatles Anthology 158). They weren't interested in getting high until, as Ringo says, "In New York we met Bob Dylan. That was the first time that I'd really smoked marijuana and I laughed and laughed and laughed. It was fabulous" (The Beatles Anthology 158). Paul McCartney remembers "thinking I'd found the meaning of life that night" (The Beatles Anthology 158). Dylan had assumed, based on their lyrics, that the Beatles already smoked pot. The surreal vision of psychedelic drugs naturally suited their worldview.
In 1965, without their knowledge or consent, John, George, and their wives were dosed with a new drug. Very little was known about LSD at the time; the musicians never heard about it until after they felt its effects. George reveals thinking that the man who put it in their coffee "thought it was an aphrodisiacand I think he thought there was going to be a big gang-bang and that he was going to get to shag everybody" (The Beatles Anthology 177). Uncomfortable with the situation, they all went out clubbing where, George says, "I felt the most incredible feeling a very concentrated version of the best feeling I'd ever had. I felt in love, not with anything or anybody in particular, but with everything. Everything was perfect" (The Beatles Anthology 177).
From then on, their music was tinged with psychedelic undertones. George explains it by saying, "That first time I had acid, a light-bulb went on in my head" (The Beatles Anthology 180). However, he says, "after you've had it a couple of times there doesn't seem to be any point to taking it again" (The Beatles Anthology 179) because "the basic thing that I first experienced was the thought: 'You shouldn't need this, because it's a state of awareness'" (The Beatles Anthology 179). This jibes with Timothy Leary's view, "The psychedelic movement was a mind-exploration movement" (Leary). What the Beatles were doing was changing their conscious perception of the world. After their experience with LSD, they could never go back to their previous state of consciousness. The revelations of the drug touched ...Show more
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Beneath the neat haircuts and proper suits, John, Paul, George, and Ringo were buzzed on speed from the very beginnings of their careers. They smoked pot with other musicians in England before they achieved stardom…
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