Beatles By Day

Long time ago when we was fab

Bigger than Jesus

On March 4th 1966, John Lennon's remarks about The Beatles being more popular than Jesus were first published in the London Evening Standard newspaper. Although in England the interview went relatively unnoticed, his words would create a furore among Christian fundamentalists in America. 

John Lennon at a Beatles' press conference in the US, 1966. 

John Lennon at a Beatles' press conference in the US, 1966. 

Lennon's interview was re-publised by Datebook, a US teen magazine, on July 29th, 1966.

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with 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 and roll or Christianity." - John Lennon

What followed after the Bible Belt got wind of the comments was arguably one of the most turbulent periods for The Beatles. There were public bonfires burning Beatles' records, their music was banned on many American radio stations; there were even death threats levelled against the band and their families. 

Brian Epstein was forced to try and repair some of the damage caused by the quote with a public statement. Lennon apologised and tried to explain how his remarks were taken out of context. The Beatles joked about the burning of their records, remarking that people had to buy them first. 

The London Evening Standard, March 4th 1966.

The London Evening Standard, March 4th 1966.

The infamous Datebook magazine issue, 1966. 

The infamous Datebook magazine issue, 1966. 

One of a number of Beatles bonfires across the American bible-belt, 1966. 

One of a number of Beatles bonfires across the American bible-belt, 1966. 

Typical scenes in the American South after Lennon's remarks about the Beatles and Jesus. 

Typical scenes in the American South after Lennon's remarks about the Beatles and Jesus. 

Newspaper headlines after John Lennon's remarks about Christianity. 

Newspaper headlines after John Lennon's remarks about Christianity.