John Lennon would issue an apology of sorts on August 11, 1966, for a comment he made comparing his band, the Beatles, to Jesus.
In an interview published on March 4, 1966, Maureen Cleave of the London Evening Standard reported John Lennon's claim that the Beatles had become more popular than Jesus Christ.
In a press conference, the singer tried to quell the furor, "I wasn't saying whatever they're saying I was saying. I'm sorry I said it really. I never meant it to be a lousy anti-religious thing. I apologize if that will make you happy. I still don't know quite what I've done. I've tried to tell you what I did do but if you want me to apologize, if that will make you happy, then OK, I'm sorry."
Lennon's comments had been taken somewhat out of context. In the interview that sparked the controversy, Lennon had said: "Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue with that; I'm right and I will 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."
The remarks would cause little stir in the U.K., but a republished version of the interview that came out five months later sparked a substantial backlash in the U.S. Some radio stations banned Beatles music and a handful of communities staged rallies where Beatles albums and paraphernalia were destroyed.