Bob Dylan was a major influence on the Beatles. The first time the Beatles met Dylan was during an American tour in 1964. Dylan introduced the Beatles to marijuana, a meeting which Ringo Starr describes as one during which the group giggled more than they ever had before. All the Beatles said that this was the beginning of their "herbal" days, with cannabis replacing alcohol and pills.
Dylan had been smoking marijuana for a while by 1964, having been exposed to it through the folk scene in Greenwich Village. Many sources say that the Beatles were stones during most of the filming of Help!, which is corroborated in The Beatles Anthology. The influence of marijuana, and later stronger drugs, especially LSD, had a profound effect on the group, both personally and musically.
Bob Dylan also influenced the Beatles directly through his music. It is said by Harrison that through John Lennon, the Beatles became big fans of Bob Dylan, beginning with Dylan's album Freewheelin'. The musical influence is most obvious in Lennon songs such as "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" and "Yes It Is." Lennon's intentionally casual delivery mimics Dylan's vocals very closely.
Many have made the argument that Dylan and the folk scene in the United States made the Beatles more aware of social issues, such as civil rights and the anti-war movement of the 1960s.
Dylan would later become good friends with George Harrison, who spent time with Dylan in Woodstock, New York in 1968 during his brief hiatus from the Beatles. Dylan performed at the Concert for Bangladesh, and became a part of The Traveling Wilburys in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
For more info on Dylan, consult the sitemap below under "Beatles Connections.
Beatles Albums: Background and History
Beatles Connections: Official Websites for the Beatles Inner Circle
Beatles General Discussion Topics
Beatles Roadies: Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans
Beatles Solo Discography
Beatles Songs Discussed on BeatlesFacts.org
Beatles Songs - Solo
Beatles Trivia Quiz
Books About the Beatles
Books by John Lennon and George Harrison
Sites Related to Beatles History
Songs Covered by the Beatles
The Beatles Official Website
The Lennon Pages