Tuesday, June 07, 2005

According to the National Review Online, the entire rock and roll trinity has either found -- or in one case hasn't left -- Christianity. One dead Beatle, Bob Dylan and -- so help me -- Keith Richards.

David Shiflett has this to say: "... the pull of religious traditionalism creates other interesting stories. Many readers of the New York Post, for instance, were one morning shocked to read that former Beatle John Lennon had become a devout fan of none other than televangelist Pat Robertson, to the point of falling to his knees and touching the television screen, apparently in hope of receiving a supernatural lift from the flickering image. In the book Nowhere Man, Robert Rosen adds to the story, telling us that in the late 1970s Lennon had taken to watching Billy Graham on TV. "At first he watched only for entertainment," Rosen wrote. "Then, one day, he had an epiphany," he allowed himself to be touched by the hand of Jesus Christ, and it drove him to tears of joy and ecstasy. He drew a picture of a crucifix: he was born again, and the experience was such a kick he had to share it with Yoko. John and Yoko sat in front of the TV watching Billy Graham sermons. Every other sentence out of John's mouth was "Thank You, Jesus or Thank you, Lord."

On first reading this I thought it merely proved that living with Yoko had driven poor John around the bend, and some critics dismissed these stories as fabrications. Yet Lennon would not be the first popular icon to pursue, for a time at least, the traditional version of Jesus. Bob Dylan’s conversion to Christianity is well known, and appears to be intact. And last year, the London Spectator informed readers that Keith Richards, famed dope sponge and Rolling Stones guitarist, had seen the light, perhaps thanks to the influence of wife Patti, whom biographer Christopher Sandford calls a “devout Lutheran” and who attends a weekly Bible study and “won’t stand for swearing around the house.” At the time of their marriage, Patti’s parents told reporters that Richards is an “enthusiastic disciple of Christ” who had “embraced Christ as a way of life.”

That last sentence is officially the weirdest one of the day.

The Lennon stories sound shaky. With Dylan -- eh, who knows? You need a weatherman to tell which way his wind blows. The Keith conversion is just, well, strange. If it's true, which I doubt, I'm happy. But on the other hand, at least part of me has to go: "Keith? Where's my Keith?"

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