The Gospel According to the Beatles by Steve Turner

I have never actually read any of the other “Gospel According to” books, so I don’t know exactly what they are like. My impression is that they tend to be about the messages put forth in, say, Peanuts or Harry Potter, showing how those messages reflect the truth of God. I think there is a place for that, but I was honestly not sure that it was going to work with Beatles songs.

Imagine my surprise, then, to find that this book didn’t take that approach at all. Instead, it focused on explaining The Beatles’ spiritual backgrounds and using that plus their experiences as The Beatles to explain the messages they were putting forth in their songs and how that message changed from the early 1960s to 1970 (and beyond). This was an intelligent analysis of how the Beatles’ philosophies evolved over the years and how that evolving affected their music. Most of them were raised with some form of Christianity, which faded to agnosticism, which then gave way to their drug use and involvement with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The book also points out how they generally agreed on spiritual things at one point, but, spiritually, their paths diverged as they began to explore different things.

Two complaints:
1. There were some typos, which kind of bugged me.
2. The author clearly favors John over some of the other Beatles, and while there was enough of George (my favorite Beatle) to keep me satisfied, I thought Ringo and Paul weren’t focused on nearly enough. It could be argued that George and John thought more about spiritual things, and the book did certainly make that point. But it did make the book feel somewhat unbalanced.

I would recommend this book more to people who are simply interested in The Beatles rather than people who are intrigued by “The Gospel According to” part of the title. Regardless, it was an interesting and engaging book. Thanks, Alisa! (She gave it to me for Christmas.)

No Trackbacks

One Comment