The good side of the Beatles

by Michael H. Brown


       I wrote a short while ago about the bizarre coincidences that have haunted the Beatles: how their involvement with occult-type things may have attracted obsessed stalkers like Mark David Chapman, who shot John Lennon twenty years ago, on December 8, 1980, after hearing demonic voices.

       That's the dark side of rock. There was also a bright side to the Beatles. They weren't perfect and they drifted toward the New Age but they offered some heart-rending songs of vastly greater moment than what is produced today. There were songs like Hey Jude. There was Eleanor Rigby -- which captured the gravity of being a priest. There was Lady Madonna and Let It Be, the latter of which includes the lyrics, "When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me..."

       In that song Paul McCartney was speaking of his mother, whose name was Mary, but she was a devout Catholic and some of the spiritual depth rubbed off. I don't agree with all he's done, but McCartney remained faithful to his wife for their entire marriage and like Ringo and George seems surprisingly humble.

       There was also a deeply spiritual side to Lennon. Although this went to erratic directions, including involvement with psychics, seances, and gurus, for at least a while at the end of his life he was watching shows like the "700 Club" and had become a born-again Christian!

       I remember attending Lennon's funeral service twenty years ago in Central Park. The spiritual intensity was tremendous. I still don't understand all that was behind the Beatles, but the emotions were running high that brisk Sunday ago as they played some of John's famous songs.

       There were thousands there, but a great stillness descended during a long moment of silence. All you could hear were the media helicopters -- press from around the world -- hovering above.

       And at the precise moment when the prayers ended, something unforgettable happened: the sky seemed to open and the very first snowflakes of the season began to lightly fall...

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