4 Major Controversies That Shook The Beatles and Made Headlines

Many bands face controversy at some point in their careers. Here are four times that The Beatles found themselves in the middle of a scandal.

The Beatles didn’t have nearly as bad a reputation as bands like The Rolling Stones, but even they dealt with scandals in their time as a band. Many of these seem tame by today’s standards, but they still placed the band in hot water with the general public. Here are four of the scandals that The Beatles faced throughout the 1960s.

Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and John Lennon of The Beatles gather on one side of a table. McCartney and Lennon wear sunglasses.

The Beatles | Roger Viollet Collection/Getty Images

In 1966, John Lennon entangled The Beatles in what was likely their biggest controversy. In an interview, he spoke about the enduring quality of rock music versus religion.

“Christianity will go,” he said, per Rolling Stone. “It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that; I know I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first – rock & roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

The comments went unnoticed in the UK, but when an American magazine reprinted them, people were furious. They burned the band’s albums and threatened violence against them.

“The repercussions were big, especially in the Bible Belt,” George Harrison said. “In the South, they were having a field day.”

While the reaction made Lennon nervous about traveling to the United States, Paul McCartney shrugged, noting that people had to buy the albums in order to burn them.

The ‘Paul is Dead’ conspiracy hinted at a dark side of The Beatles

While this was more a conspiracy theory than a controversy, the implications were scandalous. In 1969, DJ Russ Gibb received a request to play the intro from “Revolution 9” backward. Gibb heard, “Turn me on, dead man.” In the song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” listeners believed they heard Lennon say, “I buried Paul.” The cover of Abbey Road was viewed as a funeral procession.

Some fans came to the conclusion that McCartney was dead and the band was using their music to hint at the fact that they’d replaced him with a body double. None of this was true, of course, but the rumors led many fans to believe that The Beatles were doing something nefarious. The hysteria reached scandal levels; in an interview, McCartney said, “The Beatles thing is over,” and no one even reacted. Luckily, McCartney took it all in stride.

“It’ll probably be the best publicity we’ve ever had, and I won’t have to do a thing except stay alive,” he said, per Rolling Stone. “So I managed to stay alive through it.”

The Butcher Cover

In 1966, The Beatles sat for a photo shoot dressed in butcher’s coats and covered in slabs of meat and dismembered baby dolls. Despite the carnage, they all grinned, a bit off-puttingly, at the camera. They took other photos with photographer Robert Whitaker, including one where Harrison hammered nails into Lennon’s head. It was the baby doll photo that they put forth to grace the cover of Yesterday and Today, though.

The Beatles' Butcher cover sits in a glass case.The Beatles’ Butcher cover | Tommaso Boddi/WireImage

The band said that the photo represented their stance against the Vietnam War, but some interpreted it as a criticism of Capitol Records for “butchering” their albums. Regardless of what they meant, the image did not make it far as the album’s cover.

People were horrified, and some sellers refused to stock the gory record. Capitol began a recall of the initial copies and requested that retailers and reviewers return the album. They then replaced it with a different cover.

The band’s drug arrests

In 1968, The Beatles joined the ranks of many bands whose members had been arrested for drug possession. The drug enforcement squad raided Ringo Starr’s apartment, where Lennon and Yoko Ono had been living. The couple had received a tip-off from a friend and cleared out the home of drugs. Ultimately, though, dogs found cannabis in several places, and Lennon and Ono were arrested.

 In 1969, Harrison found himself in a similar situation when the police raided his home. He swore the police planted many of the illegal substances, and he and his wife, Pattie Boyd, were arrested for possession.

McCartney was arrested for drugs several times, but he managed to avoid this while The Beatles were still together.

Related Posts

Our Privacy policy

https://news75today.com - © 2024 News75today