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Old Mar 13, 2004, 09:40 PM   #1
Ailurophile
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Default Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

I know the Beatles were heavily into eastern religion and other mystic transcendentalism--but it struck me while listening to some of their songs that many of their lyrics could be given some heavy Judeo-Christian meaning! The two that jump out at me the most are "Let It Be" and "The Word." "Let It Be" is I think the epitome of a Roman Catholic song with its allusions to "Mother Mary" and the maternal comfort she brings. It was Paul singing about his (very Catholic) mum, but in this song, as in most Beatles songs, I think there are several layers of meaning at work. Also, "The Word" sounds like the Gospel According to John (LOL) --after all, scripture is often referred to as "The Word of the Lord." And then the content is a beautiful expression of Christian philosophy at its best: "Say the Word and you'll be free/Say the word and be like me . . .the Word is good!" I could quote the whole song, it all makes perfect sense! There's even the proselytization (sp?) element in there: "Now that I know what I feel must be right/I'm here to show everybody the light!" And of course it's wonderful that the Word is Love. Christianity at its best. That's why all this philosophy can be read into the lyrics, because the Beatles message was Love and that's what they stood for, and all these religions are based on love.
Anyway, I was also thinking about "Lady Madonna," but that song has slightly salacious overtures, so I don't know if it would qualify. I also think something could be read into "Hey Jude."
Nothing quite as obvious as the Taoist "Inner Light", though. :-)
Any thoughts?

P.S. I'm sorry if the formatting is kind of screwed up in any way, but this is my first post and I'm not sure I know what i'm doing yet.
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Old Mar 13, 2004, 10:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

Welcome to Beatlelinks, Ailurophile! A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

I've heard of some people wanting to translate Beatles songs this way. I'm sure there is some basis to this. I myself have never looked into that much.
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 03:19 AM   #3
Miss O'Dell
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

In the seventies John became a born again christian.
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 04:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

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Originally Posted By Miss O'Dell:
In the seventies John became a born again christian.
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Where did you get this information? I have NEVER heard this and doubt it's veracity.
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 06:13 AM   #5
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

Quote:
Originally Posted By Miss O'Dell:
In the seventies John became a born again christian.
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">I know he was into astrological nonsense - he seems to have annoyed Pete Shotton by babbling on about it - but in all the mountain of literature I've read on The Fabs I've never heard this.

It would appear to go against the grain with a man who said, "God is a concept by which we measure our pain."

[size="1"][ Mar 14, 2004, 07:14 AM: Message Edited By: PetePointon ][/size]
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 07:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

On the song interpretation part, I really don't like putting a meaning to a song that I'm pretty sure the writer did not believe at the time. But I guess you can get any meaning out of a song you want to, within reason. Or as Paul said, "Personally, I think you can put any interpretation you want on anything, but when someone suggests that 'Can't Buy Me Love' is about a prostitute, I draw the line. That's going too far". [img]graemlins/laugh2.gif[/img]

[size="1"][ Mar 14, 2004, 07:02 PM: Message Edited By: Norwegian_Wood ][/size]
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Old Mar 14, 2004, 07:45 PM   #7
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

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Welcome to Beatlelinks, Ailurophile! A splendid time is guaranteed for all.
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Thanks! This is one of the friendliest boards I've ever seen.

Quote:
In the seventies John became a born again christian.
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">I think I remember reading this too--but I think it was in Fred Seaman's book, and I have some doubts about how much of what he says is true. Anyway, I remember reading that John went through a brief period of Christian fervor when he heard Billy Graham on TV, and that he'd make Yoko sit down and watch it with him. He quickly grew out of it, though.

Also, evidently he wrote the song "Serve Yourself" as a reaction to Dylan's "Gotta Serve Somebody," because he was kind of upset that his old idol had become such a fundamentalist Christian so soon after John himself had gotten over his bout of Billy-Graham evangelism.
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Old Mar 15, 2004, 12:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

Quote:
Originally Posted By Ailurophile:
[QB]Also, "The Word" sounds like the Gospel According to John (LOL) --after all, scripture is often referred to as "The Word of the Lord." And then the content is a beautiful expression of Christian philosophy at its best: "Say the Word and you'll be free/Say the word and be like me . . .the Word is good!" I could quote the whole song, it all makes perfect sense! QB]
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">hey! good point. I never thought of it that way before. I'm going to go listen to that song again!
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Old Mar 15, 2004, 02:32 PM   #9
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

Interesting interpretation of The Word, especially in light of the pseudo-evangelistic language, except that John stated explicitly:
"It's love. It's the marijuana period. It's the love and peace thing. The word is 'love', right?" It was something that seemed pretty obvious to many of us then, especially in increasingly godless Britain (which has since been assessed as the least religious country in the world): in a world where you can't take the abstract concept of God seriously, you might as well at least accentuate the most positive of human concepts. Like All You Need Is Love, The Word is most comfortably read as humanism for the masses.

Again, Paul is very explicit about who the Mother Mary is in Let It Be. It may be pseudo gospel in tone, but the song is about his evocation of his own mother in a time when he was approaching despair. Both symbolism and tone were simply suggested by the coincidence of name. "I had a dream one night about my mother. She died when I was 14 so. I hadn’t really heard from her in quite a while, and it was very good. It gave me some strength 'in my darkest hour, Mother Mary comes to me'."
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Old Mar 15, 2004, 08:32 PM   #10
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

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But I guess you can get any meaning out of a song you want to, within reason. Or as Paul said, "Personally, I think you can put any interpretation you want on anything, but when someone suggests that 'Can't Buy Me Love' is about a prostitute, I draw the line. That's going too far".
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">[img]graemlins/laugh6.gif[/img]

Quote:
Now, re: John being a born-again Christian...well...Pardon me, but I just can't see him in this suit! I don't think John would (to quote Dylan) "serve" anyone or anything, religiously speaking or other! But, it's my opinion.
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">I think it lasted for about three days. After all, John was willing to try *anything* once!

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I totally agree with your interpretation of "The Word" -here in Brazil (dunno if it happens to be the same in other parts of the world), the Bible's often mentioned as "The Word", especially around the born-again Christians. Food for thought, innit?
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">I think the Bible is referred that way everywhere, especially in Catholic countries.

PetePointon: Yeah, I know, I just like reading subtexts into these things. I know most of it wasn't intended . . . the Let It Be was probably a slight parody of Gospel, like you said, especially in light of John's "Now we'd like to play Hark the Herald Angels Sing."

Quote:
In a world where you can't take the abstract concept of God seriously, you might as well at least accentuate the most positive of human concepts. Like All You Need Is Love, The Word is most comfortably read as humanism for the masses.
<font size="2" face="Tahoma, Arial, sans-serif">Well said.
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Old Mar 15, 2004, 11:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: Judeo-Christian Interpretation of Beatles Lyrics

First things first - welcome aboard, Ailurophile!

Then, on to the question. Yeah, there are many ways one can read a Beatle tune and through religious lenses is one of them...

I totally agree with your interpretation of "The Word" -here in Brazil (dunno if it happens to be the same in other parts of the world), the Bible's often mentioned as "The Word", especially around the born-again Christians. Food for thought, innit?

Now, re: John being a born-again Christian...well...Pardon me, but I just can't see him in this suit! I don't think John would (to quote Dylan) "serve" anyone or anything, religiously speaking or other! But, it's my opinion.
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