Lennon, Harrison: Probably Not in Hell
The Beatles, once designated “Bigger than Jesus” by John Lennon, are now Vatican-approved. Perhaps because of the changing culture (or maybe designed for an approval-ratings boost timed to “Beatles Week” on American Idol), the Vatican newspaper honored The Beatles with special editions timed to the 40th anniversary of their breakup.
Despite the band members’ failings (the drugs, the Jesus comment, living “uninhibited lives,” Pipes of Peace), the paper wrote, “Listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless. Their beautiful melodies ... live on like precious jewels.” So it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you make pretty music?
That would explain why Catholic priests have been lining up for harp lessons. Oh, and Celine Dion: The laws of the Lord no longer apply to you thanks to the soaring beauty of the Titanic theme song. We’ll bring the blow, you bring the hookers.
More Thanks for Hank
Another long-gone musical icon is also getting posthumous props many, many years too late.
Hank Williams was recently awarded a “Pulitzer Prize citation” that commended “his craftsmanship as a songwriter who expressed universal feelings with poignant simplicity and played a pivotal role in transforming country music into a major musical and cultural force in American life.” Amen to that!
Yet, to this day, the Grand Ole Opry has yet to officially reinstate Hank after banning him for drinking too much 58 years ago. Come on, Opry: If the freakin’ Pope can forgive John Lennon, surely the small, symbolic gesture of giving Country music’s most important figure some props isn’t an unreasonable request. (Check out reinstatehank.org if you’d like to lend your support to righting this wrong.)
All the (Misplaced) Rage
The BBC received a “stern warning” after “allowing” rockers Rage Against the Machine to cuss on the air. The band appeared on the BBC last Christmastime to promote its rushed-out “single,” “Killing in the Name,” in response to a campaign to have the song earn the coveted “Christmas No. 1” over the latest Simon Cowell-created reality show winner.
While it might seem unfair to blame the network or the producers of the program for letting the “F bombs” get on air, it should be noted that the band’s name is Rage Against the Machine and the anti-establishment song they played does include the repeated refrain “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me.”
Yes, perhaps, Rage was asked to self-edit before the show and maybe they even said, “OK.” But it’s like asking Dame Edna to “tone down the whole cross-dressing thing” — he/she might say, “Sure thing, sweetie” but that doesn’t mean he/she’s going to start walking around in a three-piece suit.