The Beatles’ Ten Most Interesting Spiritual Songs
It’s hard to name a band that has had the influence on music that the Beatles did. For just a few years, the Beatles made music together, but their impact has lasted for decades. From sweaty soul covers to innocent love songs to albums that turned rock into art, the Beatles elevated their genre.
The Beatles have also explored spirituality in their songs, both as a band and in their solo careers. As their careers progressed, they moved from the simple theme of boy-loves-girl to higher themes. Here’s a list of their most interesting spiritual songs.
(Full disclosure here: I’m not a universalist. I believe that the only way to eternal life is through Jesus Christ. When I point out themes that run counter to Christianity in these songs, I’m not advocating these views, and you’ll see my worldview pop up on this list from time to time. You’ve been warned.)
10. “Imagine,” John Lennon (1971)
Not long ago, I ranked “Imagine” at the top of my list of overrated songs. Almost everybody seems to treat this song as though it’s the ultimate call for peace in the world, but it's really just atheist, socialist dreaming set to elevator music. Even though this list covers spiritual songs by the Beatles, “Imagine” makes the list because Lennon actually envisions a world with nothing spiritual in it whatsoever.
It stands to reason that the man who once generated controversy by claiming that his band was “bigger than Jesus” would advocate for nothing but the here-and-now, but when you really think about it, the ideal world that Lennon pictures in “Imagine” is pretty sad and dull.
One author suggests that, as the ‘70s went on, Lennon either embraced Christianity or came close, only to have Yoko pull him away from faith. That’s too bad, because I love the idea of John Lennon reconciling with the God who created and loved him. It’s a much better scenario to imagine than “Imagine.”
9. “Let It Be” (1970)
Some people believe that Paul McCartney’s references to “Mother Mary” signify a vision from the Virgin Mary, but he has claimed that he was thinking about his literal mother Mary when he wrote the song, so I’m inclined to believe him that he’s not talking about Jesus’ mom.
However, I’m also inclined to believe that McCartney was seeking something outside of this existence when he says that “there will be an answer” for the “brokenhearted people living in the world.” By the end of the ‘60s, the Baby Boomer generation was questioning so much that modern culture had taken for granted, so it makes sense that someone would be looking for answers instead of just posing questions. Of course, I believe that those answers come in a relationship with Jesus Christ, but who knows what spiritual framework McCartney was working from at that time.