Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Steve Turner is of course one of the GREAT pop, rock and soul music historians and this fascinating account of the fab four's spiritual journey from happy-go-lucky agnostics to drug-inspired mystics is a hugely important addition to the canon of Beatles literature. By interviewing just about everybody involved in their spiritual journey Turner has brought many new insights to The Beatles' music as he tracks them from the churches of Liverpool to the temples of India and Japan. Superbly researched and vividly written, this is a book which will be enjoyed by general pop fans but will have particular appeal to those, like Cross Rhythms readers, who have personal experience of the powerful spiritual undercurrent present in popular music. It also raises plenty of uneasy questions particularly about the spiritual state of tortured genius John Lennon. Would he have made a Christian commitment had he seen, first hand, virile evangelical faith during his church youth club days rather than the fuzzy institutionalised religion he encountered? And even more intriguingly, would Lennon's momentary commitment to Christ (thanks to the TV ministry of Oral Roberts) have stayed firm if he hadn't been under the sway of the virulently anti-Christian Yoko Ono?
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Renowned British music journalist and author Steve Turner surveys the religious and spiritual influence of the Beatles, the band that changed the history of music forever.
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.
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.
With new 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. Turner helps the reader understand the religious and spiritual ideas and ideals that influenced the music and lives of the Beatles and helps us see how the Fab Four influenced our own lives and culture.
Chapters include the religious upbringing of John, Paul, George, and Ringo; the backlash in the United States after John Lennon's 'The Beatles are more popular than Jesus' comment; the dabbling in Eastern religion; the use of drugs to attempt to enter a higher level of consciousness; and the overall legacy that the Beatles and their music have left. While there is no religious system that permanently anchored the Beatles or their music, they did leave a gospel, Turner concludes: one of love, peace, personal freedom, and the search for transcendence.