James Taylor has admitted to supplying John Lennon with opiates and referred to himself as a “bad influence” on the Beatles.

Taylor was the first artist signed to the Beatles‘s record label, Apple Records. At the time, Taylor was an aspiring musician and recreational drug user.

“Well, I was a bad influence to be around the Beatles at that time, too,” he stated in an interview with The Guardian,

When the interviewer asked why, Taylor responded, “Because I gave John opiates.”

In the interview, Taylor also states that he does not know whether or not it was Lennon’s introduction to the drug. By many accounts, Lennon’s heroin addiction contributed to the Beatles’s breakup in 1970.

This is not the first time Taylor has opened up about this dark period in his life. In a 2016 interview on Medium, Taylor confessed, “I was addicted all the time I was recording the album on Apple. I was stoned for most of the sessions… I’d shoot speedballs of smack and meth, all pure stuff over there. But pure stuff is just pure poison.”

In England during this era, marijuana was illegal but harder substances including cocaine, morphine, and heroin were not. After being registered by the government, addicts were eligible for methadone treatment.


A year after being released from his Apple contract, Taylor went to a rehab facility and moved to Laurel Canyon in Los Angeles where he wrote the majority of songs for his breakout album, Sweet Baby James. 

The breakup of The Beatles led to Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison‘s successful solo careers.


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