He was, he said, misunderstood. A 39-year-old interview with John Lennon, broadcast for the first time ever only this weekend, on BBC Radio, tries to contextualize his infamous quip that the Beatles had become “more popular than Jesus.”
“It’s just an expression meaning the Beatles seem to me to have more
influence over youth than Christ,” he says. “Now I wasn’t saying
that was a good idea, ‘cos I’m one of Christ’s biggest fans. And if I can
turn the focus on the Beatles on to Christ’s message, then that’s what we’re
here to do.”
The story in the Telegraph sums up the issue by declaring, in both the headline and the photo caption, that the Beatles “were a Christian band.” Well, define Christian. I can’t quite wrap my head around the notion that my favorite band was actually a proto-U2 (coincidentally, my second favorite band). I haven’t heard the interview yet, but I get the sense that John was only in damage-control mode.