by Steve Turner
Forty years ago, John Lennon famously commented that he believed that the Beatles had become "more popular than Jesus." At the time the comparison seemed absurd. The Beatles were a pop group. Jesus was a spiritual leader and savior of mankind. Yet over the next few years the lovable mop-tops from Liverpool were to become spiritual leaders to a generation that was exiled from the church and desperately seeking to find meaning in a world where all the old certainties were crumbling. Some even saw them as savior figures, whose message of love and freedom would save the world from self-destruction.
In this provocative new book, Steve Turner, who first wrote about the Beatles in 1969, examines the lives, songs, and impact of the Beatles in order to discover exactly what it was that turned a group of rock 'n' roll musicians into guiding lights for spiritually disenchanted young people around the world. Turner details the events, ideas, and experiences that profoundly affected John, Paul, George, and Ringo and helped to shape their collective outlook.
The Gospel according to the Beatles contains hitherto unknown stories about the "Jesus" controversy, John's education as a choirboy, the Beatnik era in Liverpool, the notorious marijuana session with Bob Dylan, the dentist who introduced them to LSD, and John's confession to a well-known American TV evangelist. The book culminates in a compelling encounter between the author and John, where the discussion turns to God, gurus, and the meaning of life. Challenging, revealing, and almost certain to be controversial, this is a unique perspective on a well-known story.
Steve Turner has been writing about rock music for over thirty years. His articles have appeared in various magazines including Rolling Stone, New Musical Express, Mojo, and Paste. He is the author of several books, including A Hard Day's Write: The Stories behind Every Beatles Song, The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love, and Faith of an American Legend, Trouble Man: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye, and Hungry for Heaven: Rock 'n' Roll and the Search for Redemption. He lives in London.
The spiritual journey of the Beatles from fun-loving agnostics to drug-inspired mystics was a microcosm of the pilgrimage taken by a generation. Whether the Fab Four were pied pipers or simply the most high-profile participants in a massive cultural shift, the changes they went through tell us a lot about what happened in the 1960s and therefore help us to understand where we are today.
The Gospel according to the Beatles looks in depth at the development of the group's philosophy and at how it affected their lives, their music, and their audience. Through rare interviews, never-before-published archive material, and newly discovered photographs, acclaimed music journalist and author Steve Turner traces the Beatles odyssey from the churches of Liverpool to the temples of India and Japan via the vision-inducing sacraments of marijuana and LSD. In doing so he defines what the Beatles were all about and distills the message of love, peace, freedom, and transcendence that was at the heart of their gospel.
Praise for the Author's Previous Works
"It's an inspiring and humbling book for a fan like me."
Bono, on A Hard Day's Write
"It may well be the Holy Grail of Beatles lore."
Ken Hoffman, Houston Post, on A Hard Day's Write
"Takes a genuine hero, examines him thoroughly, and leaves both his heroism and his humanity intact. In what may be the most admirable of its many achievements, it's as good as Cash deserves."
Anthony DeCurtis, Rolling Stone, on The Man Called Cash
"Not just one of the music books of the year, but a major achievement in the craft of biography."
Nigel Williamson, Uncut, on The Man Called Cash