PARIS (AFP) — The Vatican's daily newspaper marked the 40th anniversary of the "White Album" on Friday by dismissing as a "quip" John Lennon's notorious claim that the Beatles were bigger than Jesus Christ.
The legendary double album -- which came out on November 22, 1968 at the height of the Fab Four's influence and popularity -- was "a magical musical anthology" from a band "full of talent," L'Osservatore Romano said.
Rather inevitably, its lengthy article kicked off with Lennon's remark to a London newspaper in March 1966 that "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink ... We're more popular than Jesus now".
"It is a phrase that provoked deep indignation at the time, but which sounds today like a quip from a young man from the English working class overtaken by unexpected success," the newspaper wrote.
The real talent of the Beatles, it said, "rested in their unequalled capacity to write popular songs with a sort of euphoric lightness that constituted a genuine trademark".
"Today," it went on to lament, "recordings seem above all to be standardized and stereotyped -- falling well short of the creativity of the Beatles."