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The Gospel According to the Beatles (Gospel According To) [Hardcover]

By Steve Turner (Author)
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Item description for The Gospel According to the Beatles (Gospel According To) by Steve Turner...

A renowned British music journalist surveys the religious and spiritual influence of the Beatles. With new interviews, never-before-published material, and fresh insights, Turner helps the reader see how the Fab Four left a gospel of love, peace, personal freedom, and the search for transcendence.

Publishers Description

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. With new interviews, never-before-published material, and fresh insights, 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.

Topics discussed 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.

From Publishers Weekly
In 1967, drug guru Timothy Leary proclaimed, "[T]he message from Liverpool is the Newest Testament, chanted by Four Evangelistssaints John, Paul, George, and Ringo." Leary certainly captured the feelings of a generation pursuing freedom from old social conventions and searching for love in the lyrics, looks and music of the Beatles. In less than a decade, the group evolved from the fun-loving frantic boys of A Hard Day's Night (1964) to the philosophical poets of Abbey Road (1969) and Let It Be (1970), weaving more references to religion and spirituality into their music. Acclaimed pop music writer Turner (A Man Called Cash) unsuccessfully attempts to reveal the "gospel" of the Fab Four in this plodding book. He recounts the already well-known biographies of each Beatle, pointing out that each had some early brushes with either the Church of England or Roman Catholicism. Turner takes John Lennon's now-infamous 1966 claim that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus" as his starting point and then examines superficially the well-known turn East that the group took in the late 1960s. The book lacks in-depth interpretations of the Beatles' song lyrics and fails to account for the rich and complex meanings that arguably make their lyrics some of the most religious in rock. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
The Gospel According to the Beatles (Gospel According To) by Steve Turner has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -

  • Foreword - 08/19/2009
  • Publishers Weekly - 05/15/2006 page 67
  • Christian Retailing - 07/03/2006 page 60
  • Booklist - 08/01/2006 page 25
  • Library Journal - 09/15/2006 page 66
  • Foreword - 11/01/2006 page 51
  • Christianity Today - 01/01/2007 page 62

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Pages   254
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.1" Width: 6.1" Height: 1"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 3, 2006
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
Series  Gospel According To  
ISBN  0664229832  
ISBN13  9780664229832  

Availability  93 units.
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More About Steve Turner

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Steve Turner is the author of "Trouble Man: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye, A Hard Day's Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles' Song, Hungry for Heaven: Rock and Roll and the Search for Redemption, Jack Kerouac: Angelheaded Hipster, " and "Van Morrison: Too Late to Stop Now." His articles have appeared in "Rolling Stone, Mojo, Q, " and the"" London Times."" He lives in London with his wife and two children.

Steve Turner currently resides in Castro Valley, in the state of California. Steve Turner was born in 1949.

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1Books > Bargain Books > Arts & Music > Music
2Books > Bargain Books > Children > Art
3Books > Bargain Books > Nonfiction > Philosophy
4Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > General
5Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > History & Criticism
6Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Music > Musical Genres > Rock
7Books > Subjects > Entertainment > Pop Culture > Music > Beatles > General
8Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Theology > Philosophy

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel According to the Beatles?

A Boring Mish-Mash  Apr 13, 2008
I am a great Beatles fan but found this tome meandering and unclear as to theme and content. I just didn't get where the author was going. Disappointing after intial excitement.
dakota vs. strawberry fields  Mar 14, 2008
I can't add much to the many well written and lucid reviews of this book here in this site;all the writers nailed it well.
I agree with most of the points made.
John Lennon was NOT ridiculing Christianity in his notorious statement comparing it to the Beatles;he was making a critical remark about the state of mind on England and in turn America by asking WHY?
He was horrified at the monster the Beatles became,as was Harrison.
Anyway,I am writing to ask anyone who read this book: have you looked at the photograph of the Strawberry Fields building? Does it not bear an eerie resemblance to the Dakota Building? Another strange thing connected w/ Lennon!
To all the fundys-how is human nature ever going to change unless we do it ourselves? It can't be imposed on us from the outside. I don't think JC is going to be some sort of benevolent dictator.
I agree w/ Harrison and Lennon,we have to do it ourselves-when the majority of humanity achieves Christ Consciousness,Christ will once again be among us and not outside us. It takes a lot of work.
God Bless
A Quality Work  Feb 11, 2008
Ignore the 3-star-Jim Nabors-review. Turner's work is a well-informed, insightful, and painstaking analysis of the spiritual pilgrimage of the Beatles. Anyone who grew up in the tumultuous sixties, particularly if intrigued by the Beatles phenomenon, can gain a new perspective on that decade and its impact down to this day.

At the close of the book, Turner brings his own worldview to bear on the whole question of art and culture in a way that challenges the tendency of many Christians to dismiss the Beatles out of hand.

Finally, the excerpts from Turner's 1971 interview with John and Yoko are alone worth the price of the book.

I'm already looking for other books by this excellent writer.
Believe it or not...a Beatles book that isn't redundant  Nov 2, 2007
When I saw a book titled "The Gospel According to the Beatles," I groaned. My snap judgment, based on nothing but the title, was that it was the work of an apostate Christian who found that his own watered-down interpretations of Scripture were reflected in the music of the Fab Four. It turns out that the author, rock journalist Steve Turner (who also wrote "A Hard Day's Write," an excellent song-by-song history of the Liverpudlian quartet's canon), is a Christian. His goal is not to find Christian messages where there are none, but to examine the spiritual beliefs, most of which are in opposition to the Bible, that the Beatles expressed in song. And the Beatles, though kicking off their musical journey with innocuous but irresistible ditties like "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You," were unique among "pop" groups in that their music consistently expressed profound, if often misguided (to those who believe the Bible), philosophical and religious ideas.

As Turner quotes Paul McCartney as saying in 2004, "There'd never been anything like the Beatles, who were about music but also about something more far-reaching."

That "something more far-reaching" was awakened by the Beatles' experimentation with drugs. They started by popping the pills that provided the pep necessary for their pre-fame marathon stage performances in Hamburg, then progressed to marijuana, widely cited as influencing the mood of their 1965 album "Rubber Soul." But it was LSD that played the central role in transforming their music and led to the "spiritual" element that began to seep into their songs, beginning, most notably, with "Tomorrow Never Knows," the closing number on 1966's "Revolver" that its author, John Lennon, later referred to as having emerged from his "`Tibetan Book of the Dead' period." Far more than pills or marijuana, LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) was not simply a means of altering a mood, but a way to alter one's consciousness.

"God isn't in a pill," Lennon said, "but LSD explained the mystery of life. It was a religious experience."

Some of the Beatles' greatest works, such as the "Sgt. Pepper" album, which included the disturbing masterpiece "A Day in the Life," may not have been possible without the influence of LSD, but though Lennon was correct in describing the drug as a "religious experience," the spiritual being whose presence is revealed through LSD is not the God of the Bible but His chief foe, Lucifer, the fallen angel whose rebellion was triggered by his desire to "be like God." This same kind of thinking is reflected in George Harrison's statement that "Everybody is potentially divine. It's just a matter of self-realization before it will all happen."

There's no questioning the Beatles' genius as composers and artists, but their influence beyond music was often pernicious. Their experimentation with LSD and later exploration of Transcendental Meditation helped lead the world away from the truth of the Bible and the need for salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, to philosophies based in the occult.

Turner's book is unique among the many hundreds (thousands?) of volumes written about the Beatles in that he offers insight into the religious ideas that shaped their youths. Although George Harrison was the Beatle famous for his religious beliefs, it's not surprising that the most intriguing passages concern John Lennon, the founder of the group and one of the 20th century's most fascinating public figures. Few biographers of John Lennon note that he was raised, more or less, as a Christian. This upbringing explains his lifelong obsession with Jesus Christ. When Lennon wasn't mocking Jesus, as he did in the cartoons he drew in his youth (such as one depicting Jesus on the cross with a pair of bedroom slippers at the base), he identified with Him (as in the chorus of "The Ballad of John and Yoko"). Then there was his famous 1966 remark that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus ("Christianity will go..It will vanish and shrink").

It is therefore surprising to learn that, in 1972, Lennon wrote a desperate letter to evangelist Oral Roberts to inquire about Christianity ("Is it phoney? Can He love me?") in an attempt to escape the hell of drug abuse. According to several previous biographers who had access to Lennon's personal diaries, or were employed in the Dakota during his five year withdrawal from the public eye, Lennon professed to be "born again" in 1977 but faced intense opposition to his new found beliefs from Yoko Ono who saw her husband's embrace of Jesus as a threat to her control of his life. Before long, Lennon was once again living a life dictated by astrologers, mystics, and other practitioners of the occult. But Jesus, and the Bible, were never far from his thoughts, as many of the interviews he gave shortly before his 1980 murder indicate. As he told Barbara Graustark of Newsweek, "Some of [Christ's parables] are only making sense to me now, after a whole life of sitting in church or school." It's anybody's guess what Lennon actually believed before Mark David Chapman ended his life on December 8, 1980.

At this point, it's hard to believe that anyone could possibly offer fresh insights into the Beatles phenomenon or their brilliant body of work, but Turner succeeds in making "The Gospel According to the Beatles" a necessary addition to the bookshelf of anyone who admires or is simply fascinated by the Fab Four.

Brian W. Fairbanks

Theologians may be disappointed...  Aug 26, 2007
but Beatles fans will be delighted with this biography of the Beatles with particular reference to their relationship to things religious.

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