The Unholy Legacy of The Beatles
Pastor David L. Brown, Ph.D.
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." 1 Thessalonians 5:21
"Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good." Romans 12:9b
Recently when I turned on the news I heard that Beatle George Harrison had died on November 30 at age 58 of cancer. The report went on to say that Harrison was surrounded by old friends from the Hare Krishna movement. In fact, Guada Chandra Das of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness stated that Harrison died to the sound of Hindu "chanting and praying." His body was then cremated, his widow and 23-year-old son carried the ashes to India and sprinkled them in the Ganges river in Varnasi and Allahabad, India. They were accompanied by two Hare Krishna devotees who performed Hindu rites as the ashes were scattered on Tuesday, December 4th. Harrison left millions of dollars to the Hindu, Hare Krishna Foundation and was responsible for popularizing the false religion of Hinduism to multitudes of people in the West.
For the next 48 hours radio and television news special reports and newspapers lauded the wonderful contributions George and the Beatles had made to the music world and society. While I certainly agree that the Beatles have left a legacy, I disagree concerning the nature of that legacy. It is an unholy and detrimental legacy, as I will demonstrate shortly.
However, before we look into that matter, I want to share with you my personal observations about what I perceive to be the three major contributing factors that have brought about the degeneration of the foundational biblical norms and values of our society within my lifetime.
There are several verses that should frame our thinking before we consider our first point Matthew 5:28 "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." Job 31:1 "I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?" 1 Corinthians 6:18 "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body."
Hugh Hefner was born in 1926 and has a genius IQ of 152. The problem is that he "used his smarts" for evil and not for good. On December of 1953 the first issue of Playboy hit the street featuring the now-famous calendar photo of Marilyn Monroe. He brought pornography "out of the closet" so to speak, and made it more readily available. His magazine and the "Playboy Philosophy," is nothing more than barnyard morality. This purveyor of smut, more than any other man in my lifetime, paved way for the introduction of hardcore pornography in our culture, and has had a major role in the undermining the sexual morals of American men and women. I believe Isaiah 3:9 applies - "The show of their countenance doth witness against them; and they declare their sin as Sodom, they hide it not. Woe unto their soul! for they have rewarded evil unto themselves."
There are several verses that should frame our thinking before we consider this second point Titus 2:4-5 "That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, 5 To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Ephesians 5:23-24 "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
The second major contributing factor that have brought about the degeneration of the foundational biblical norms and values of our society within my lifetime is the womans liberation movement. The modern American movement was founded when in 1953 by a book called The Second Sex by French feminist writer Simone De Beauvoir, was published in the United States. The more radical wing of the feminist movement adopted the phrase "women's liberation" which was first used in this book. The philosophies and practices of the womans liberation movement are undermining and destroying our homes and families.
That brings me to the focal point of todays message
Some may wonder why I would even bother to address the issue of the Beatles. My friend David Cloud said, " The Beatles are the most popular and influential rock band of all times." And hes right. There are others who are not Fundamentalists that concur with this. Sid Bernstein said, "only Hitler ever duplicated [the Beatles'] power over crowdswhen the Beatles talk-about drugs, the war in Vietnam, religion-millions listen, and this is the new situation in the pop music world" (Time, Sid Bernstein, Sept. 22, 1967, p. 60).
John Lennon created a furor in 1966 when he claimed, "We're more popular than Jesus now." He went on to say, "Christianity will go, it will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that. I'm right and will be proved right." (Newsweek, March 21, 1966).
When I read the above quotes, Ephesians 5:8-11 comes to mind; "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: 9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them."
Christians should neither support, nor pattern themselves after people or groups who heralded the demise of Christianity and claimed to be "more popular than Jesus" and as we will see, those described as "missionaries of the acid (drug) society," the "super drug culture prophets." It would be reasonable to think that professing Christians would take that stand, wouldnt it? However, sadly, that is not the case! Worldly Christians look at the Beatles as their heroes. These perverse men (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey a.k.a. Ringo Star) and their music are the role models for many musicians, even so called "Christian" musician are Beatles fans. The group called Jars of Clay (pictured above) names the Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix as their inspiration and the lead guitarist is described as a "Beatles fanatic." DC Talk opens its "Jesus Freak" concerts with the Beatles song Help. Phil Keaggy plays "homage to the Beatles" on one of his albums and Caemdons Call often performs Beatles songs.
I remind you of Colossians 2:8 "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ." Perhaps thats why my mother was not at all impressed with the Beatles. She sat right there with me, as I watched the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 when the Beatles sang "I want to Hold Your Hand." Right from the word "go", she did not like the Beatles. She did not like their floppy mop hair or their music. She was of the opinion that the Beatles and their music taught the kids rebellion and she was right! By April of that same year "Beatlemania" was attacking America.
The Beatles rebellion against the God of the Bible goes way back for most of them! One example is the fact that John Lennon was taken to Sunday School by his Aunt Mimi. He even sang in the choir. But, by age 11, John was permanently barred from Sunday services in his aunt's Anglican church because he "repeatedly improvised obscene and impious lyrics to the hymns." (Rock Lives; p. 114). He did things even cruder and viler than that, such as urinate on members of the "clergy" from second floor windows and display homemade dummies of Christ in lewd poses. In his 1965 book published by Simon & Schuster, John Lennon blasphemed the Father, Son and Holy Spirit by calling them "Fahter, Sock and Micky Most." In 1964 Paul McCartney stated, "We probably seem to be anti-religious none of us believes in God."
Does the Bible say anything about those who do not believe in God? YES! It says they are fools. Psalms 14:1 "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good." That description pretty well describes the character and accomplishments of the Beatles "corrupt" and having "done abominable works." The words of their own press officer Derek Taylor, affirm the application of Psalms 14 to the Beatles: "They're [the Beatles] completely anti-Christ. I mean, I am anti-Christ as well, but they're so anti-Christ they shock me which isn't an easy thing" (Saturday Evening Post, August 8-15, 1964, p. 25).
One last illustration to prove the point. George Harrison financed Monty Python's vile and blasphemous mockery of Christ in the movie "Life of Brian." Even Newsweek magazine described the movie as "irreverent." Time magazine called it an "intense assault on religion" (Time, Sept. 17, 1979, p. 101).
Later the Beatles lead the way for many Americans into pagan religion with visits to Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The Beatles soon split with the Maharishi. One reason was his suggestion that they turn over 25 percent of their income to his work. Another reason was they caught the Guru eating meat, which was not allowed to his disciples, and engaging in acts of immorality with female disciples. Lennon later composed a song about the Maharishi titled "Sexy Sadie." George Harrison alone remains a follower of Hinduism. In 1971 George Harrison released his pagan hymn "My Sweet Lord" praising the Hindu god Krishna which ends with the Hare Krishna chant.
Our culture is reprobate when it lauds groups like the Beatles. And what of Christians who look to them and their music for inspiration? Are they not reprobate? They are building on the wrong foundation!
Testifying before the House Select Committee on Crime, popular family enter-tainer Art Linkletter, who lost a child to drug abuse, referred to the Beatles as the "leading missionaries of the acid society" (Crime in America- Illicit and Dangerous Drugs, October 1969).
Media researcher Brian Key observed: "The Beatles became the super drug culture prophets of all time" (Key, Media Sexploitation, 1976, p. 136).
The student newspaper for the University of Wisconsin noted that the Beatles have "proselytized the use of drugs so subtly that words and conceptions once only common to drug users are found in sentences of teeny-boppers and statesmen alike" (Daily Cardinal, Dec. 3, 1968, p. 5, cited by David Noebel, The Legacy of John Lennon, p. 63). The Beatles were heavily into the drug scene. They began taking drugs during their earliest band days before they became popular. In fact, many of the Beatles songs were about drugs. These include "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Day Tripper," "Yellow Submarine," "Help," "Rubber Soul," "Cold Turkey," "Glass Onion," "I Am the Walrus," and "Penny Lane." (All of these were admitted to be drug songs by the Beatles.)
John Lennon admitted that he began taking LSD in 1964 and that "it went on for years. I must have had a thousand trips. I used to just eat it all the time" (Rolling Stone, Jan. 7, 1971, p. 39; cited by Jann Wenner, Lennon Remembers, p. 76). John Lennon read Timothy Leary's book The Psychedelic Experience in 1966, after Paul McCartney took him to the Indica, a hip New Age bookshop in London. Lennon wrote "Tomorrow Never Knows" after taking LSD, and he wrote the songs ":Come Together" and "Give Peace a Chance" for Leary.
Their 1967 Sgt. Pepper's album heralded the drug revolution in America ("Approbation on Drug Usage in Rock and Roll Music," U.N. Bulletin on Narcotics, Oct.-Dec. 1969, p. 35; David Noebel, The Legacy of John Lennon, pp. 56,58). Time magazine reported that Sgt. Pepper's was "drenched in drugs" (Time, Sept. 22, 1967, p. 62). The album "galvanized the acid subculture and gave LSD an international platform" (Waiting for the Man, p. 145). BBC removed the Beatles' song "A Day in the Life" from the air because of its drug implications. On the Sgt. Pepper album Ringo Starr sang, "I get high with a little help from my friends." The members of the Beatles later openly admitted that the album was "a drug album" (Flowers in the Dustbin, p.253). Sgt. Pepper's was hugely influential, one of the best-selling albums of rock history. The London Times' theater critic Kenneth Tynan observed that the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album was "a decisive moment in the history of Western civilization."
Lennon admitted to the Rolling Stone interviewer that there were "a lot of obvious LSD things in the music." Lennon said, "God isn't in a pill, but LSD explained the mystery of life. It was a religious experience." In an interview with Playboy in 1981, Lennon said the Beatles smoked marijuana at breakfast and were so stoned that they were "just all glazed eyes." In 1969, Lennon said: "If people can't face up to the fact of other people being naked or smoking pot . then we're never going to get anywhere" (Penthouse, Oct. 1969, p. 29, cited in The Legacy of John Lennon, p. 66). Paul McCartney told Life magazine that he was "deeply committed to the possibilities of LSD as a universal cure-all." He went on to say, "After I took it, it opened my eyes. We only use one-tenth of our brain. Just think what all we could accomplish if we could only tap that hidden part. It would mean a whole new world. If politicians ould use LSD, there would be no more war, poverty or famine" (Life, June 6, 1967, p. 105).
Just as Hugh Hefner brought pornography out of the closet and popularized it, so the Beatles brought illegal drugs out of the closet and popularized them! That is their legacy! And their end? Revelation 21:8 "But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death." The Beatles are sorcerers in the truest sense of the word. The word sorcerers is a translation of the Greek word pharmakeus, (far-mak-yoos'; 5332) and refers to anyone who uses and or deals in illicit drugs. The Beatles definitely fit that mold.
Time will just not allow me to address the many other problems with the Beatles, so I will just mention a few other things in passing. Lennon's 21st birthday party was "a huge drunken noisy orgy" (The Beatles, p. 177). Lennon and Yoko Ono lived together for a year while he was still married to Cynthia and Ono was still married to an American filmmaker. When Cynthia returned from a vacation in Greece, she found Ono living with her husband in her own home. Ono was still married to another man when she announced that she was expecting a baby by Lennon. The mocking Two Virgins album cover featured the nude photos of Lennon and Ono on the front and back. John Lennon and Yoko Ono were heavily involved in the occult. John purchased entire sections of occult literature in bookstores (Hellhounds on Their Trail; p. 181). The Beatles advocated
Communism and the overthrow of authority in songs such as "Revolution No. 9," "Working Class Hero," Back in the USSR," "Power to the People," "Sometime in New York City," "Give Peace a Chance," "Bloody Sunday" (which called British police "Anglo pigs"), "Attica State" ("now's the time for revolution"), "Angela" (which glorified communist Angela Davis), and "Piggies." Lennon performed at anti-America rallies and called upon America to leave Vietnam to the communists. He said: "I really thought that love would save us. But now I'm wearing a Chairman Mao badge, that's where it's at. I'm just beginning to think he's doing a good job" (Lennon, cited by Wenner, Lennon Remembers, p. 86). All of them were heavily into immorality. Perhaps Ringo Star put it best: "We got drunk a lot. You couldn't help it. We had a lot of girls. We soon realized that they were easy to get" (TV Guide, July 29, 1978, p. 21). McCartney said: "We didn't all get into music for a job! We got into it to avoid a job, in truth-and get lots of girls."
I think that David Noebel summarized the influence of the Beatles the best. While he was specifically talking about John Lennon, it does apply to the entire group the way I see it. He said on "the present rock 'n' roll scene, Lennon's legacy, is one giant, multi-media portrait of degradation-a sleazy world of immorality, venereal disease, anarchy, nihilism, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, death, Satanism, perversion, and orgies" (The Legacy of John Lennon, by David Noebel, 1982, p. 15).
The Beatles are NOT great hero, role models that should be emulated, but rather shunned as I inciters of rebellion and corrupters of our culture.
I profferPsalm 1 in conclusion
"Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. 3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. 4 The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. 5 Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. 6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish."