Bob Dylan intended to record an album with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, according to the legendary producer Glyn Johns, who says the singer asked him to contact the bands about a possible collaboration in 1969.
Famed producer Glyn Johns, who had worked with both bands, says Dylan asked him to sound them about in 1969 about a collaboration
“I had it all figured out,” Johns explains in his new memoir, Sound Man. “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.”
The idea came direct from Dylan, whom Johns had met a New York airport., Rolling Stone Magazine reported. The singer-songwriter explained that he had admired Johns’s work on the Stones albums Beggars Banquet and Let It Bleed, and asked about his recent Beatles sessions. “He said he had this idea to make a record with the Beatles and the Stones,” Johns recalled. “And he asked me if I would find out whether the others would be interested.”
Many of the potential participants seemed to love the idea: “Keith [Richards] and George [Harrison] thought it was fantastic,” Johns said, “since they were both huge Dylan fans.” He also contends that Charlie Watts and Bill Wyman were “amicable … as long as everyone else was interested”. The problem was with the influential remaining three: “John [Lennon] didn’t say a flat no, but he wasn’t that interested [and] Paul [McCartney] and Mick [Jagger] both said absolutely not.”
With that, Dylan’s dream seems to have died. Johns went on to produce his 1984 concert album Real Live, and of course Dylan and Harrison worked together in the Traveling Wilburys. More recently, McCartney suggested that Dylan call him to set up a collaboration sometime. Dylan has since contributed to a Paul McCartney tribute album, covering Things We Said Today for The Art of McCartney.