Classic Rock Corner

Seriously: Are the Beatles More Popular Than Jesus?

Saturday marks the 46th anniversary of one of the more surreal press conferences in the Beatles' career. One the eve of the band's '66 American tour, John, Paul, George and Ringo met with a group of reporters who only wanted to ask one question: Where the Beatles really more popular than Jesus?

It was a serious question born of strange circumstances. Five months previously, Maureen Cleave, a friend of the band, had interviewed each member individually for a series of weekly articles for the London Evening Standard titled "How Does a Beatle Live?" When she interviewed John Lennon at his home in England, he mused on a variety of topics for a British audience, including the band's hysterical treatment from fans as well as the impermanence of all things:

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I'll be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first -- rock and roll or Christianity."

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Nathan Smith
Contact: Nathan Smith