On this day in 1966, John Lennon made the legendarily infamous statement that The Beatles were “more popular than Jesus Christ.” The London Evening Standard originally published Lennon’s statement, which would be controversial to say even today.
Here’s the full quote:
“Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. We’re more popular then Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was alright, but his disciples were thick and ordinary.”
Of course, this led to complete outrage from Christian groups, who organized the burning of thousands of Beatles records. Lennon eventually apologized for his insensitive remarks, but religion aside he sort of had a point. The Beatles were the biggest thing in the world at the time. He just picked a terrible thing to compare his band to.
Or he wanted the publicity, either way it worked out for the Beatles.