When John Lennon And George Harrison Fell Victims To A Dentist
There was a period when the Beatles‘ name was mentioned regarding their substance abuse. In fact, their use of psychedelic drugs inspired public interest in experimenting with these substances that reflected an ‘Easter spirituality.’ While some people were charmed by this spiritual aspect of the band, their keenness on publicly speaking about drugs naturally didn’t resonate with everybody.
Receiving criticism never stopped the Beatles members from being candid about their substance abuse. Moreover, even a horrible drug experience didn’t affect the band members’ perspective. After being tricked by a dentist, lead singer John Lennon wrote a song named ‘Doctor Robert’ over his first LSD experience with bandmate George Harrison. Let’s break down the details of this unexpected incident and the band members’ take on it.
What Is The Story Of ‘Doctor Robert’?
The Beatles released ‘Doctor Robert‘ on their seventh studio album entitled ‘Revolver’ on August 5, 1966, except in North America, where it was featured on their ‘Yesterday and Today’ album. The song was written by John Lennon and credited to the Lennon-McCartney partnership as always. It took seven takes to record the track, which has an unusual source of inspiration.
The song allegedly has numerous stories behind it, such as being about a fellow musician, Bob Dylan, who had introduced the Beatles to marijuana in the Summer of 1964. Some believe that the band wrote the song after a fictional character called Dr. Robert MacPhail in Aldous Huxley’s 1962 book named ‘Island.’
John Lennon Wrote A Song After Being Drugged
While there are many theories about the meaning of the song’s lyrics, the most common story about the inspiration behind it dates back to the Beatles’ introduction to a particular drug. In March 1965, George Harrison and John Lennon attended a dinner party hosted by their dentist named John Riley, along with their romantic partners, Cynthia Lennon and Pattie Boyd.
Unexpectedly, the dentist was curious about the effects of LSD, so he secretly spiked his guests’ coffee with LSD after dinner. It was Lennon and Harrison’s first experience with the drug. The guitarist later referred to the doctor as the ‘wicked dentist’ in his book named ‘Anthology.’ According to the musician, they were the victims of the dentist they only met a few times.
About the experience, Harrison penned:
“We were innocent victims of the wicked dentist whom we’d met and had dinner with a few times.”
However, John Lennon didn’t feel the same way with the drug as he previously stated that the experience was terrifying but fantastic at the same time. He and Harrison subsequently became regular users of the drug. The drug-inspired Lennon wrote ‘Doctor Robert’ after this experience and even included a line that refers to the dentist’s special drink, which probably insinuates the LSD-spiked coffee.
The song’s lyrics follow:
“Doctor Robert / Day or night, he’ll be there any time at all
Doctor Robert / Doctor Robert / You’re a new and better man
He helps you to understand / He does everything he can
Doctor Robert / If you’re down, he’ll pick you up
Doctor Robert / Take a drink from his special cup.“
You can listen to ‘Doctor Robert’ below.