John Lennon and The Beatles were not internationally famous for their drug-taking per se. Their music and their output as artists always trumped the fact that they experimented with drugs during the sixties; considering the vast amount of records they sold and box office tickets they filled, this is a given.
As the sixties moved on, so did The Beatles, and the pop group of old began to disappear. Despite their previous clean-cut image, the band became well known for narcotic experimentation, especially John Lennon’s love affair with LSD.
One night specifically, during an extreme trip, the guitarist and songwriter found himself with the undeniable feeling that he was not only finding his spirituality within himself but that he was, in fact, at that time during an acid trip, Jesus Christ himself.
According to Magical Mystery Tours: My Life With The Beatles from Tony Bramwell, the story goes that Lennon was out of his mind on a strong tab of acid when he called an emergency meeting of The Beatles. The members of the group, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison, soon rushed over to Lennon and met in the boardroom of their label Apple Records in London.
As with most rock tales, the exact ins and outs of the story are unknown, lost in a haze of hash smoke and broken memories. But I like to think of Lennon standing before his bandmates and declaring: “I’ve got something very important to tell you,” letting the energy of the statement circulate the room, “I am Jesus Christ. I have come back again. This is my thing.” Rather than being shocked or surprised or indeed committing Lennon to the medical professionals, the group took it in their stride, perhaps having seen it all before.
In fact, the only member of the group to utter a single word was Ringo. The drummer let out a sigh and said, “Right. Meeting adjourned, let’s go have some lunch.” He quickly took Lennon to lunch, but while the ‘Imagine’ singer continued to spiral into the idea of singular spirituality, a fan rushed to their table and was besotted with meeting the incredible John Lennon.
The guitarist soon corrected the gushing fan: “Actually,” Lennon said, “I’m Jesus Christ.” Although the fan was stunned, they were perhaps expecting as dumfounding a response as they got. The fan replied: “I still liked your last record,” the night wouldn’t end there, however, and Lennon’s journey would spiral further down the rabbit hole.
Lennon would soon tell friends that he must be productive in creating music as he felt that his days as the Liverpudlian Messiah were numbered and he would soon be taken out.
He told a friend: “They’re going to kill me, you know. But I’ve got at least four years to go, so I’ve got to do stuff.” Of course, today, with the murder of Lennon in our memories, this message can feel strangely prophetic. The night would also provide not only a vision of his suspected death but a reason for living.
That night, John Lennon would call up an artist he had recently met named Yoko Ono. They would spend the night together and become one of the most iconic couples the world has ever known.
They may not have been bigger than Jesus, but at one time, in one dimension or another, John Lennon was, in fact, Jesus Christ himself.