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On this day in 1966, Lennon's words shook the world

On this day in 1966, Lennon's words shook the world

March 04, 2024

The Beatles were taking the world by storm, but it wasn’t John Lennon’s lyrics that made headlines on this day in 1966.

During an interview with the Evening Standard, Lennon made a remark that would become one of the most talked-about comments in the history of popular music: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink...We're more popular than Jesus now." These words, coming from a member of such a popular and beloved band, led to a significant uproar – particularly in the United States.

In response to Lennon’s comment, outraged fans took severe action. Beatles records were consigned to bonfires in public demonstrations, radio stations across the US placed an embargo on their music, and the controversy led many to condemn the band. Lennon did eventually issue an apology, however, clarifying that his intention was not to demean religious beliefs but to comment on how he perceived Christianity's influence was diminishing among the youth.

This incident not only marked a pivotal moment in the Beatles' career but also highlighted the significant impact of popular culture on societal values and beliefs. Lennon's statement and the subsequent fallout underscored the tension between the emerging counterculture of the 1960s and traditional religious institutions. Decades later, this tension between religion and the secular world remains relevant.

Lennon's vision of a world without religion, immortalised in his song ‘Imagine’, remains an unrealised dream. Yet, for Beatles fans, the enduring legacy of Lennon's controversial statement is a reminder of an era when music had the power to stir nations, challenge beliefs, and forever alter the cultural landscape. This moment in Beatles history serves as a reflection on the impact of their global fame – a legacy that persists today.

For more Beatles history, check out our Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite print.

Image via: ultimateclassicrock.com




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