Bob Dylan Tried to Collaborate on an Album with The Beatles and Rolling Stones
An upcoming memior by producer Glyn Johns (who worked with The Beatles on Let It Be and Abbey Road) contains an incredible revelation: Bob Dylan approached Johns sometime around 1969 to ask him to gauge interest from the Beatles and the Rolling Stones (with whom Johns had also done work for) on an album collaboration among the three acts.
“[Dylan] asked me about the Beatles album I had just finished and was very complimentary about my work with the Stones over the years,” Johns writes. “In turn, I babbled about how how much we had all been influenced by his work.”
Dylan then dropped a bomb. “He said he had this idea to make a record with the Beatles and the Stones,” John 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?”
Johns quickly began working the phones. “Keith and George thought it was fantastic,” he writes. “But they would since they were both huge Dylan fans. Ringo, Charlie and Bill were amicable to the idea as long as everyone else was interested. John didn’t say a flat no, but he wasn’t that interested. Paul and Mick both said absolutely not.”
Needless to say, the plan didn’t go forward. “I had it all figured out,” writes Johns. “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. Paul and Mick were probably, right, however I would have given anything to have given it a go.” (Rolling Stone)
The time frame in question was tumultuous all-around; Brian Jones had drowned in July of 1969 and the Beatles were on the verge of splitting up. Bob Dylan would go on to record Self Portrait, which was ravaged by critics.