1. His remark, “We’re more popular than Jesus now,” was the first major acknowledgement of the power of pop culture.
In a March 1966 interview in London, John speculated about the Beatles’ popularity and the future of Christianity. His ironic comment, “We’re more popular than Jesus now” went practically unnoticed in Britain.
But later in July, an American teen magazine, Datebook carried the quote and the “Down with the Beatles” campaign was on.
Churches held burnings of their records; Mexico, Spain, and South Africa each officially issued a ban on all Beatles records. The Vatican, no less, denounced Lennon in its newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
John and the rest of the Beatles received heaps of hate mail, although the Bishop of Boston wrote to John agreeing with him.
Until Lennon’s remark, pop culture had been dismissed as a “kid thing” and unimportant. But after that, it was regarded a social force to be reckoned with.