The Song In Which Bob Dylan Mocked John Lennon

Once you think about it, John Lennon and Bob Dylan have so much in common. Both rockers have been major figures in popular culture with their extraordinary music and brilliant songwriting. While Lennon achieved worldwide fame as a remarkable songwriter alongside his bandmate Paul McCartney, Dylan is often regarded as one of the greatest songwriters.

Although they are undeniable pioneers of songwriting, there was one time when Bob Dylan heavily inspired the Beatles’ frontman, John Lennon. In response, the musician reacted the best way he knows, by releasing a track. Let’s travel back in time to see how Dylan warned his fellow musician not to copy his signature style by mocking him.

The Beatles Were Inspired By Bob Dylan

When the Beatles released their sixth studio album, ‘Rubber Soul,’ on December 3, 1965, the band also put out a song called, ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown).’ The song was written primarily by lead singer John Lennon and credited to the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership.

A couple of aspects of the track made it special, the first being an instrument named sitar, played by lead guitarist George Harrison. It marked the first appearance of the Indian string instrument on a Western rock recording which was a unique asset of the song.

In addition to this, the songwriting was heavily influenced by the introspective lyrics of Bob Dylan. Since Dylan is considered one of the greatest songwriters of all time, it wouldn’t surprise you to hear that the song is regarded as a milestone in the Beatles’ development as songwriters.

The Reason Bob Dylan Satirically Warned John Lennon

Following the release of ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),’ Bob Dylan put out a track named ‘4th Time Around’ featured in his seventh studio album, ‘Blonde on Blonde’ on June 20, 1966. It is commonly speculated to respond to the Beatles’ song ‘Norwegian Wood’ as both tracks share a similar melody, lyrics, and 3/4 time signature.

While several people consider the track a playful homage to the Beatles’ song, others interpret it as a satirical warning to John Lennon about imitating Dylan’s well-known songwriting devices. The last line of the song, ‘I never asked for your crutch / Now don’t ask for mine’ was a clear warning not to use Dylan’s songs as a ‘crutch’ for his own songwriting.

You can listen to ‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’ and ‘4th Time Around’ below.