The Beatles bad for society?

I’ve always loved the Beatles, but lately I’ve been questioning the morals of their music. No, I’m not trying to be puritanical, but when I consider if I would let my child listen to every song released by the Beatles I find myself answering with a resounding ‘no.’ There are certain things which I would not let my child listen to; and if that’s the case, why should I?

I’m not referring to “Helter Skelter,” which Charles Manson distorted into his own liking to commit murders, but I am referring to material like “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?” which is pretty obvious as to it content. John Lennon’s lyrics are mostly culprit:

“I need a fix ‘cause I’m going down,” from Happiness is A Warm Gun reference his own addiction to heroin. Tomorrow Never Knows is obviously about an LSD trip based on books by Timothy Leary.

Not to mention the less-than-innocent fawning found scattered throughout their early “love songs.”

Lennon’s later Primal Scream album is evidence of a deeply troubled man.

And let’s not forget John’s infamous comment about Christianity:

“Christianity will go, it will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and will be proved right. You just wait… . .We’re more powerfull than Jesus ever was…”

And for those who have read any Beatles biographies, Lennon actually believed himself to be Jesus.

But even Paul McCartney is known to have said, “LSD opened my eyes. It is better than Jesus.”

Now, I’m not saying that the musicians we listen to can be without sin, but the music we listen to is forever frozen in time: We can’t change the lyrics to songs. What the Beatles did in their private lives is one thing, though it’s hard not to avoid bits of trivia and legend about them, especially for an admirer of their music. But when the sin is brought face value into the music itself, it’s another issue indeed!

I’m not calling for another mass burning of Beatles’ albums -especially popular music today is just as bad, if not worse. But, honestly, what justification can be given to some of these lyrics? Just because the Beatles are less bad than contemporary lyrics on the radio, does it stand to reason that it’s simply okay?

don’t confuse the music of the beatles, who broke up in 1968, with later music by any of them when they were on their own or with other groups. Lennon went off on his own tangent, and his later music is not Beatles. Compared to other groups of the 60s, their stuff is neither more or less objectionable, you want objectionable, look at the Stones. compared to rap, hip hop and alternative playing on the airwaves now, the beatles are positively innocence personified.

why would your kids be listening to the beatles anyhow, don’t they regard that as old folks music, like my grandkids do?

Mother Mary come to me…

There will be an answer, let it be.

Read the lyrics to that one and tell me you dont get a mysty eye.

My dd’s dad is in a Beatles band where they play the really early music from The Beatles (only the songs that were sung and played while they played at the Cavern Club). My dd (2 1/2) sings many of the songs that her dad performs and watches the old Beatles cartoons.

I myself appreciate their music but I’m definitely not a Beatles geek. However, the John Lennon and Jesus comment wasn’t him saying he was Jesus. He was talking about the breakup of the band and how upset the fans were and he said that they weren’t Jesus, they’re just a band. The fans shouldn’t have been so upset about them going their own ways and he wanted to remind people of that fact on the grand sceme of things.

And I agree, their songs away from The Beatles, when they went their own ways should never be lumped with them as The Beatles. I do agree, however, that as the Beatles there are a handful of songs that are questionable, and yes, their John’s lyrics/songs, but not for their drug lyrics but for their sexual lyrics. Also, when looking into the story for the lyrics of “You Go To Hide Your Love Away” it is for their manager who was gay and it was about how he had to “hide in the closet” about his homosexuality.

The issue here isn’t songs like “Let It Be” or “Across the Universe.” Both of those are stirring compositions, and are telling of excellent pop musicianship!

I’m talking about songs like “Norwegian Wood,” from the Rubber Soul album, which deal quite shamelessly with an adulterous relationship of John’s outside his marriage; “The Night Before” from the Help! album which seems to be about a one night stand; and, of course, “Day Tripper,” which is obviously about drug usage.

John’s material outside the Beatles certainly bring down the Beatles as a whole, but a lot of his later material within the Beatles, including his vainglorious salute to his and Yoko’s adulterous relationship, “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” is still pretty bad. If it had not been for censorship rules at the time, one can only wonder what else could’ve been released.

My point isn’t that the Fab Four are devils, because I absolutely love their music, and trivia about them! - but I really question the icon status given to them.

I would never buy an icon of the beatles, and never have seen one in any religious store in my life.


We must separate things here. THey never claimed to be prophets or represent Chrisitanity.

Let it go. They told us they were musicians and I believe them.:wink:

A good book to read:

*Gods of Wasteland: Fifty Years of Rock n Roll *by Michael J. Matt

I for one don’t think the ‘bigger than Jesus’ comment was ever intended seriously. If anything, most likely John was flummoxed by their popularity and trying to provoke the fans into stopping and thinking about their ‘worship’ of the band.

I certainly can’t and won’t excuse or explain away the numerous sex n’ drugs references in their music except to say that such have always been and always will be part of popular music unfortunately. I don’t think the Beatles were worse than many others of their time in that regard (try listening to the Doors or the Rolling Stones)

I will always love ‘Let it Be’, ‘The Long and Winding Road’, ‘Happy Christmas/War is Over’ and, yes, even ‘Imagine’, which I don’t think was against religion per se, rather religious-based conflict.

With regards to the Beatles, let me first say that I am a 38 year old man who has been listening to them since I was a child. Lennon and McCartney were fantastic song writers; Their melodies are some of the best you can find in popular music history, and I continue to enjoy much of their work. That being said, I certainly see some of the problems Catholics would have with them. Certain lyrics aside, the Lennon comment that “we are more popular than Jesus now” was intended as a joke, tasteless as it was. Regardless, I do believe that he meant it. Beatlemania had propelled their egos to the stratsosphere. I have read several books about the Beatles, and they really did believe the hype.

By the way, the “Mary” referred to in Let It Be was NOT the virgin Mary; it was a reference to Paul McCartney’s mother. There is no religious theme to that song at all, despise popular belief. John Lennon, in his post-Beatles song “God” actually says the line “don’t believe in Jesus…I just believe in me”. George Harrison was completely consumed by eastern mysticism after the Beatles visited the Maharishi and took up transendential meditation in 1969. And of course, Lennon’s song “Imagine” showed secular humanism at its best, with it’s references to “no heaven”, “no hell below us”, and “no religion, too”.

All in all, the Beatles to me were an unbelievably talented band, but just about the furthest thing from a role model a Catholic could find.

Still, I blast the radio and sing loudly ( and out of key! )whenever “I Saw Her Standing There” or “I Want To Hold Your Hand” comes on!!!


You’re right on! And you summed up nicely what I’ve been stumbling my way through. :o Fantastic musicians, but some of the music, being influenced by their style of living, really is quite transparent!

Though, I was always under the impression that even though George got heavily into Eastern Mysticism he still tried to relate it to his Christian faith. His last album, Brainwashed, even features an OM symbol and a cross - not to mention the deity ambiguity in “My Sweet Lord.”

I am a Beatles fan…but an even bigger George Harrison fan :smiley: I love his solo stuff and what really attracted me to his music is his constant search for God. I may not agree with his beliefs but I admire his wanting a relationship with God.

I remember when I was 5/6 yrs old in San Juan airport in Puerto Rico there was a group of Hare Krsna’s there and I was mesmerized by the pictures they had of Krsna…especially one of Krsna as a child stealing some buttermilk. :stuck_out_tongue: My mom bought me the book about Krsna because I begged her (like alot of kids do LOL). So I guess that was my earliest taste of Beatle George.

Years later I got George’s sister Louise to sign this book at a Beatles convention…(not a Beatles nerd…lol)

But anyways…I don’t think the Beatles are bad for society…if anything because of them they opened people up to looking at the world in a different way.

:whistle: Bangladesh…Bangla-de-eh-esh…such a great disaster…I don’t understand…but it sure looks like a messs :whistle:

Sniff…I miss George (Haribol…rest in peace) :gopray:

God bless


Good points about George. I think George was a good guy who was very spiritual. He always seemed to be searching. He appeared to be much more in touch with God than the other Beatles, especially John. It must have been very difficult to come to such fame and fortune at such a young age and keep your head on straight. I give George credit for dealing with all of that and manage to keep his eyes on “things above”. I think he always realized that “All Things Must Pass”, and that in the end God is “the only reason we exist”…

actually I do have one, it is the Peter Maxx poster of the Yellow Submarine cartoon.


Some of the words were so powerful

Imagine all the people - living life in peace…

Mother Mary comes to me…speaking words of wisdom…

My Sweet Lord …I really want to see you…

Forget the politics, be strong in your faith, but appreciate the words and enjoy reflecting.

John never said the Beatles were “more powerful” than Jesus. He said they were more popular and in many circles during the moral disaster we know as “the 60’s” he was probably correct.

I would not have any problem letting my children listen to them because I started listening to them when I was in third grade and I was not influenced by any of the darker content because I didn’t recognize or understand any of it. I just liked the music. The overwhelming majority of people, including adults, do not pay much attention at all to the actual content of a song, they just like or dislike the tune. That is why so much pathetically empty music is so popular.

I love the Beatles… but I gotta cringe whenever I hear:

I’d rather see you dead little girl
than to be with another man
You’d better keep your head little girl
or you won’t know where I am.
You better run for your life if you can little girl,
Hide your head in the sand little girl,
Catch you with another man
That’s the end’a little girl.

That’s “Run for your life” from Rubber Soul (overall a great album). Between that one & “Hey Joe” by Jimi Hendirx, I realize that misogyny & violence against women is nothing unique to 1990s & 2000s rap and hip-hop.

You want violent lyrics from the Beatles, go no further than ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ - couldn’t believe it first time I heard it!

Exhibit A:

"Joan was quizzical; studied metaphysical
Science in the home.
Late nights all alone with a test tube.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.

Maxwell Edison, majoring in medicine,
Calls her on the phone.
“Can I take you out to the pictures,
Joa, oa, oa, oan?”

But as she’s getting ready to go,
A knock comes on the door.

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head.
Bang Bang Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that she was dead.

Back in school again Maxwell plays the fool again.
Teacher gets annoyed.
Wishing to avoid an unpleasant
Sce, e, e, ene,

She tells Max to stay when the class has gone away,
So he waits behind
Writing fifty times “I must not be
So, o, o, o…”

But when she turns her back on the boy,
He creeps up from behind.

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head.
Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that she was dead.

P. C. Thirty-one said, "We caught a dirty one."
Maxwell stands alone
Painting testimonial pictures.
Oh, oh, oh, oh.

Rose and Valerie, screaming from the gallery
Say he must go free
(Maxwell must go free)
The judge does not agree and he tells them
So, o, o, o.

But as the words are leaving his lips,
A noise comes from behind.

Bang! Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon his head.
Bang!Bang! Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that he was dead.

Whoa, oh, oh Silver hammer, yeah"

“Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” never has seemed to bother me. The lyrics seem quite cartoonish to me, for some reason. Probably because it’s Paul.

“Run for your Life,” on the other hand, has always made me wonder, probably because it’s John.

My bf and I are very strong Christians and we LOVE the Beatles! Lol, I always wear Beatles T-shirts to school and my teachers either promise to “take them off my hands” if I don’t want them, or ask me if I’m older than they thought :smiley: My favorite songs are “Wild Honey Pie”, “Let it Be”, “Here Comes the Sun”, “Norwegian Wood”, “Piggies”, “Octopuses Garden”, “Love Me Do”, and “She Loves You”.

As for some of the content in their music, how is that different or worse than what’s going around today?

or rock or pop…

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