More than forty years after John Lennon invoked the ire of Christians by claiming his band were bigger than Jesus, he has been proved right by an analysis of search terms on the Google website.
Over the last month more computer users have typed in the search word “Beatles” on the Google webstite than “Jesus”. The popularity of The Beatles has increased substantially during September thanks to the re-release of all of their albums digitally-remastered.
The last month also saw the release of the video game The Beatles Rock Band, which allows players to pretend to be Paul, John, George or Ringo by playing along to their songs on plastic instruments, while watching cartoon versions of the band on a screen.
In March 1966 Lennon caused uproar when he told the Evening Standard: “I do not know what will go first, rock’n’roll or Christianity … we’re more popular than Jesus now”.
Across America, angry Beatlemaniacs burned their Fab Four vinyl in protest and Lennon was forced to issue a rambling apology: “I wasn’t saying whatever they’re saying I was saying. I’m sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologise if that will make you happy. I still don’t know quite what I’ve done. I’ve tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologise, if that will make you happy, then OK, I’m sorry.”
Computer users can find out which topics people are searching for on Google by using the Google trends website, which allows you to analyse in detail the words people are typing in from different countries and different time periods.
Though the graph clearly shows that The Beatles caught the imagination of more people during September than Jesus did, video games experts point out that The Beatles Rock Band has not fared as well in the shops as expected with rival music game Guitar Hero 5 outselling the Fab Four’s version.