How Bob Dylan and George Harrison’s mutual admiration led to a classic collaboration

Blending words of political protest with folk soundscapes, Bob Dylan carved out a permanent place for himself in the history of music. Perhaps the only band to rival his songwriting prowess were The Beatles. While Dylan forged a way for folk, the Liverpool four-piece would be remembered for rock and roll.

Though they both found acclaim during a similar time period, there was a bubbling sense of animosity between the two songwriting giants. Instead, they became friends and inspirations to one another. The Beatles were open about how much Dylan influenced them, with Paul McCartney once even calling him their idol, while the folk legend was slightly more reserved with his admiration.

While Dylan may not have shouted about his love for The Beatles in the public realm, it seemed that he was far more willing to praise them in private, as George Harrison has previously recalled. On one occasion, the mutual respect between the folk songwriter and the Beatles guitarist even led to a classic collaboration between the two music giants.

As Harrison recalls it, the two musicians were talking about the mutual influence between them while at Dylan’s house, attempting to write a song. He recalled how they praised each other’s work, reminiscing, “I remember saying, ‘How did you write all those amazing words?’ And he shrugged and said, ‘Well, how about all those chords you use?’”

Amidst their open enthusiasm for one another’s talents, Harrison started playing the guitar for Dylan to demonstrate the chords he was asking about. “I started playing and said it was just all these funny chords people showed me when I was a kid,” he continued to explain, “Then I played two major sevenths in a row to demonstrate, and I suddenly thought, ‘Ah, this sounds like a tune here.’”

There certainly was a tune there – the chords Harrison played went on to become one of his most beloved solo songs, ‘I’d Have You Anytime’. After Harrison kicked off the writing of the track’s instrumentals, the pair went on to finish it together, and it became the opener for his first post-Beatles solo record, All Things Must Pass, in 1970.

Dylan’s lyrics are soft and simple, almost mirroring the admiration and collaboration between the two songwriters. “All I have is yours, all you see is mine,” Harrison sings in the chorus. Accompanied by the ex-Beatle’s delicate guitar soundscapes, the result was a beautiful fusing of folk and rock and one of Harrison’s most well-loved songs.

Revisit ‘I’d Have You Anytime’ by George Harrison, written with Bob Dylan, below.

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