Paul McCartney Shared the 1 Time He Saw John Lennon Look ‘Nervous’

John Lennon was considered the leader of The Beatles, even though he and Paul McCartney shared an equal amount of the spotlight. McCartney said he had plenty of confidence and admired how uncompromising Lennon was with his music and public persona. However, McCartney recalled one time when he could see that Lennon was visibly nervous.

Paul McCartney said John Lennon was ‘nervous’ before an important press conference in the U.S.

During the 1960s, Beatlemania turned The Beatles into the most prominent musical act in the world. Millions of screaming fans would show up to see the fab four, and the four members were treated like royalty. However, their popularity might have gotten to Lennon’s head as he shared a statement that caused a massive controversy in the U.S.

In 1966, an interview was published with Lennon in London’s Evening Standard where the “In My Life” singer said the band was “more popular than Jesus.”

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

While this statement didn’t cause too much of a ruckus in the U.K., it was considered quite scandalous in the U.S. Christianity was still strong in America, and many Americans took offense to Lennon’s statement. His comments had horrible timing as The Beatles were gearing up for their 1966 North America tour.

To hopefully calm the noise before their tour, Lennon addressed his comments at a press conference when they arrived in the U.S. He apologized, saying he was not anti-religion and simply made a poor comparison regarding the band’s popularity. In an interview with The Adam Buxton Podcast, Paul McCartney recalled that this press conference was one of the few times he saw John Lennon “nervous.”

“One of the only times I saw John nervous was when he had to answer that question at a press conference,” McCartney revealed. “He had an answer for it, which was he was actually being positive about religion. But he had to play the game, and he had to sort of be very serious about it. And I think that made him a bit nervous.”

The Beatles faced backlash after Lennon said they were ‘more popular than Jesus’

The Beatles’ 1966 tour in North America was their final tour before they split in 1970. While the tour was a success, it started rough, since the band faced backlash. Paul McCartney remembered some of the harassment they faced over John Lennon’s comments, including being yelled at by a young boy outside their tour bus.

“I remember once, on the tour bus, we’re like when you see footballers arriving for a match, and we’re all there at the windows, looking out the crowd,” he shared. “And I remember, this young boy, couldn’t have been much more than 12 or something, blonde hair, banging on the windows. You know, like furious about what we’d said, and you can’t really say, ‘Well, no, what we meant was…’, you just have to put up with it.”

Lennon had a complex relationship with religion, as he also asked people to imagine a world without religion in his song, “Imagine”. Those lyrics also started controversy, but not on the same level as the one he made with The Beatles.

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