Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 29, 1966

Datebook republishes John Lennon’s ‘Jesus’ comments.

Setting off a chain of events that would culminate in public bonfires of The Beatles' records and a public backlash that at times made the group fearful for their lives, the US teen magazine Datebook on this day republished John Lennon's remarks that "The Beatles are more popular than Jesus".

Lennon's remarks had first appeared in England in March 1966 by journalist Maureen Cleave.

Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now; I don't know which will go first - rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.

Although the remarks were barely noticed in the UK, they were featured in Datebook in a cover story titled "The Ten Adults You Dig/Hate The Most." The article contained a section on Lennon, which republished the Jesus quote out of its original context.

The magazine, hitherto a minor player in the teen market, unexpectedly sold around a million copies. American Christian fundamentalists were outraged, and angry hordes, concentrated in the southern states, organized bonfires of Beatles records and memorabilia.

The group's music was banned by a number of radio stations in the south, and The Beatles were forced to attempt to limit the damage. Their manager Brian Epstein attempted to explain that Lennon had merely expressed surprise at his level of fame.

With The Beatles' US tour looming, and with death threats being made against the group and their families, Lennon was eventually pressed into apologizing at a Chicago press conference on August 11th.

Lennon's comments did much to quell the animosity against the group, and a planned wave of Beatles bonfires were called off. However, The Beatles remained nervous throughout their final tour.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 28, 1966

The Beatles relaxing in between tours.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 27, 1966

Getting ready for the tour!

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 26, 1966

The Beatles planning their next tour in the U.S.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 25, 1966

The Beatles thinking about the tour ahead......

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 24, 1966

July 24, 1966 - "Brian Epstein" was supposed to fly back to "England" from "America" this day, a trip to prepare the next ßeatles' North American Tour.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 23, 1966

Beatles laying low today.....

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 22, 1966

Does anyone remember this back in July 1966?

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 21, 1966

Beatles taking a break

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: July 20, 1966

The Beatles decided to take a break today.