Veteran music journalist Steve Turner explores the spiritual paths of the Beatlesboth collectively and as individualsin this deftly and densely reported combination of cultural history, comparative religion, and biocritical insight. "The gospel of the Beatles is not found in their conformity to an orthodox creed," he notes, "but in their hunger for transcendence."
Turner begins by reporting the furor that erupted over John Lennon's infamous (and widely misunderstood) 1966 comment that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus now," then compares the Fab Four to magical, shamanistic storytellers who shared the insights they gained through their spiritual explorations with an audience enmeshed in political, cultural, philosophical, and religious upheaval.
Turner wisely avoids the temptation to force the Beatles' hope for freedom, unity, and peace into a Christian mold. Indeed, Turner focuses heavily on their use of drugs and forays into Eastern religion and the occult in search of enlightenment and spiritual insight. Still, Turner thoughtfully demonstrates ways the Beatles' search reflects the continuing influence of Christianity: "They were skeptical and even dismissive of the church, yet many of their core beliefslove, peace, hope, truth, freedom, honesty, transcendencewere, in their case, secularized versions of Christian teachings."
Copyright © 2007 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
The Gospel According to the Beatles is available from ChristianBook.com and other retailers.
Alistair Begg talks about the Fab Four's cry for "Help" and why no one answered it in a Dick Staub interview.
"Amazing Myths, How Strange the Sound," is a Christianity Today interview with Steve Turner.
Steve Turner also wrote 'Watered-Down Love' on Bob Dylan for Christianity Today.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.