Aug 7, 2016

Sunday Focus: Beatles Records Banned in Birmingham

     Tomorrow---August 8th--- is the 50th Anniversary of a controversy involving The Beatles in Birmingham, Alabama. WAQY Radio DJ's Tommy Charles and Doug Layton banned the group's records and urged teens to burn the Beatles records in their collections. They scheduled an August 8th, 1966 mass record burning.
     It all started because of Lennon's comment to a reporter that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

    I would love to know where the Birmingham kids in that photo are now, and what they think about the Beatles!
     The Klan was also burning Beatles records, which should have made some folks question whether they were on the right side.
    The Birmingham mass burning never happened, though the reasons are murky. But there were other burnings, and the threats against the group resulted in them never touring again. The furor may also have resulted in Lennon's death. From an excellent Rolling Stone article:

 Even after their breakup in 1970, Lennon's "more popular than Jesus" line continued to ruffle the feathers of the faithful. Particularly dismayed was Mark David Chapman, a young born-again Christian who had previously idolized the Beatle. Upon learning of the statement, Chapman's admiration turned to feelings of bitter betrayal and he angrily destroyed his Beatles albums. This fury escalated into full-blown psychotic obsession and mental illness. As Chapman waited outside New York City's Dakota building with a loaded gun on December 8th, 1980, Lennon's fears in Memphis all those years ago were finally about to be realized.
Watch a story about the anniversary today---Sunday 8-7-16--at 5:30 or 10:00pm on Alabama News Network.

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