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The Beatles wrote a massive amount of songs with help and inspiration from their surroundings, and people they knew. John Lennon himself spoke candidly about how he would attempt to emulate writing songs like Bob Dylan in order to evoke the same emotions. One of the band’s earlier albums, Help!, displayed this style of writing.
The 1965 album was a massive hit, and included such iconic singles as Yesterday, Ticket to Ride, and It’s Only Love.
But the third track of the album, You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away, may have been a secret tribute to the band’s manager, Brian Epstein.
As a gay man, Epstein would have suffered a lot of prejudice at the time in the ’60s.
And although the band supported Epstein, they were conscious of the issues he went through.
It is because of this that it seems as if You’ve Got to Hide Your Love was secretly written about Epstein.
Speaking to American author and interviewer David Sheff in 1980, Lennon spoke candidly about the song – but never gave information about the real inspiration behind the song.
Lennon said: “That’s me in my Dylan period again.
“I am like a chameleon, influenced by whatever is going on. If Elvis can do it, I can do it. If the Everly Brothers can do it, me and Paul can. Same with Dylan.”
Speaking out in The Beatles’ Anthology, Lennon said: “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away is my Dylan period.
“It’s one of those that you sing a bit sadly to yourself: ‘Here I stand, head in hand…’ I’d started thinking about my own emotions. I don’t know when exactly it started, like ‘I’m A Loser’ or ‘Hide Your Love Away’, those kind of things.
“Instead of projecting myself into a situation, I would try to express what I felt about myself, which I’d done in my books.”
“I think it was Dylan who helped me realise that – not by any discussion or anything, but by hearing his work.”
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Lennon later told Sheff about his time on holiday with Epstein.
He said: “I was on holiday with Brian Epstein in Spain, where the rumours went around that he and I were having a love affair.
“Well, it was almost a love affair, but not quite. It was never consummated. But it was a pretty intense relationship.”
He later explained: “It was my first experience with a homosexual that I was conscious was homosexual.”
Lennon continued: “He had admitted it to me. We had this holiday together because Cyn[thia Lennon] was pregnant, and I went to Spain and there were lots of funny stories.”
This wasn’t the only time Lennon delivered his true emotions through song, as revealed in the lyrics for Don’t Let Me Down.
On the lyrics of the song, Paul McCartney explained: “So Don’t Let Me Down was a genuine plea… It was saying to Yoko, ‘I’m really stepping out of line on this one. I’m really letting my vulnerability be seen, so you must not let me down.'”
McCartney added: “I think it was a genuine cry for help. It was a good song.”
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