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.
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.