ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE? Beatles Quiz: Guestblogger David Buckna

CWBeatles - Let it Be 2.jpg

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone
who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not
know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8)

The Pop Gospel
By David Buckna

On June 18th, 2006 Sir Paul McCartney celebrated his 64th birthday. At age
15, Paul plinked out a melody on the family piano that would become one of
the Beatles’ most memorable songs: When I’m 64. The lyrics came later,
written in tribute to his father Jim McCartney. When I’m 64 was recorded in
1966 (the year Jim turned 64) while the Beatles worked on their iconic
album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

1. The Beatles lyric:”Life is very short” echoes Psalm 89:47:”Remember how
fleeting is my life…” In what 1965 song is it heard?

2. Complete this lyric from The Word:”Have you heard the word is _____”.

3. Who “died in the church and was buried along with her name”?

4. What 1966 song written by John started out as a nostalgic view of a
Salvation Army orphanage, where he and childhood friends Pete and Ivan
played amongst the trees?

5. What song on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967) mentions John’s
aggressive tendencies?

6. What song did the Beatles perform on the first ever live global
television link?

7. What five-year-old served as inspiration for the 1968 song, Hey Jude?

8. What’s the only thing Rocky Raccoon found in his room?

9. What’s the first line of Birthday?

10. What song on Abbey Road (1969) is an expression of George’s delight at
being out in the sun–Good Day Sunshine, Here Comes The Sun, or Sun King?

11. Also from Abbey Road, this song ends with the repeating chant:”One two
three four five six seven, all good children go to Heaven.” What song?

12. In what 1970 hymn-like ballad did some listeners interpret as a
reference to Mary, the mother of Jesus?

13. Also from 1970, this song includes the lyric:”Lead me to your door”.
Name it.

14. From a 1975 song by Paul McCartney & Wings:”And love is fine for all we
know/For all we know, our love will grow”. Name the song.

15. What German theologian and church reformer is mentioned in Let ‘Em In,
recorded in 1976?

16. What unreleased John Lennon song recounts how he contemplated suicide?

17. On what 1983 song does Paul McCartney ask:”What do you say? Will the
human race be run in a day? Or will someone save this planet we’re playing
on? Is it the only one?”

18. What single and video was released by The Beatles in December 1995 to
mark the release of the documentary Anthology and their Anthology 1
compilation album?

19. What’s the title of Paul McCartney’s 1999 album?

20. What song on Ringo Starr’s Choose Love album (2005) features Billy
Preston on organ, Robert Randolph on steel guitar, and the Rose Stone Gospel


1. We Can Work It Out. Paul wrote the song in response to his girlfriend,
(actress Jane Asher) moving away from London to join the Bristol Old Vic
Company, which caused the first major rift in their relationship. The middle
eight bars, with its intimations of mortality, was added by John: “Life is
very short/And there’s no time/For fussing and fighting my friend/I have
always thought/That it’s a crime/So I will ask you once again.”

2. Steve Turner observes in his book, A Hard Day’s Write: The Stories
Behind Every Beatles Song (1994): “Understood at the time as just another
Beatles’ love song, it was actually sprinkled with clues pointing to a
song of a different kind. The love that John (Lennon) was now singing
about offered ‘freedom’ and ‘light’. It even offered ‘the way.’ He may even
have been thinking of ‘the word’ in the evangelistic sense of ‘preaching the
word.’….He later recalled the song as one of the Beatles’ first ‘message
songs’ and the beginnings of the group’s role as cultural leaders expected
to supply answers to social and spiritual questions.”

The opening verse: “Say the word and you’ll be free/Say the word and be like
me/Say the word I’m thinking of/Have you heard the word is love/It’s so
fine, it’s sunshine/It’s the word love”

The song’s title is reminiscient of John 1:1: “In the beginning was the
Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

3. Eleanor Rigby, the fictional church cleaner. Paul thought he had come up
with the name because of having worked with Eleanor Bron in the movie Help!.
However, in the mid-80’s the grave of an Eleanor Rigby was discovered in the
graveyard of St. Peter’s Parish Church in Woolton, Liverpool, within metres
of where Paul and John first met in 1957 at a church fete. Steve Turner
asks: “…is it possible that the pleasing sound of the name lay buried in
(Paul’s) subconscious until called up by the song?” Paul’s original title
was Miss Daisy Hawkins.

A bronze statue of Eleanor Rigby was unveiled on Liverpool’s Stanley Street
in 1982. One of the items inside the statue is a page from the Bible. A
plaque next to the statue dedicates it ‘To All The Lonely People’. See photo
at (

The chorus: “All the lonely people/Where do they all come from/All the
lonely people/ Where do they all belong”. Jesus experiences utter loneliness
on the cross: “And at the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.) Jesus cried out in a loud
voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which means, “My God, my God, why
have you forsaken me?’ “(Mark 15:34).

4. Strawberry Fields Forever. Strawberry Field (John added the ‘s’) was a
large Victorian building with extensive wooded grounds in Beaconsfield Road,
a five-minute walk from John’s childhood home. The building had been an
orphanage with an annual fete, which John’s Aunt Mimi regularly took him to.
Strawberry Field became symbolic of John’s desire to be alone and let his
imagination run free:

“No one I think is in my tree, I mean it must be high or low/That is you
can’t, you know, tune in, but it’s all right/That is I think it’s not too
bad/Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields/Nothing is
real and nothing to get hung about/Strawberry Fields forever.”

The building and grounds have been replaced by a modern block, but the
remaining posts are a tourist attraction in Liverpool.

5. Getting Better. The optimism of Paul’s chorus, where everything is
improving because of love, is counterbalanced by John’s confession:”Me used
to be angry young man/Me hiding me head in the sand/You gave me the word/I
finally heard/I’m doing the best that I can/…I used to be cruel to my
woman I beat her/And kept her apart from the things that she loved/Man, I
was mean but I’m changing my scene/And I’m doing the best that I can.”

Proverbs 29:22: “An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one
commits many sins.”

Years later John admitted:”I sincerely believe in love and peace. I am a
violent man who has learned not to be violent and regrets his violence.”
The apostle Paul reflects:”I die every day (to self)…” (1 Corinthians

6. All You Need Is Love, part of the Our World program broadcast to 26
countries on June 25, 1967. The single was released July 7, and became the
soundtrack for the “Summer of Love”. The song captured the aspirations of
international youth, who showed their opposition to the Vietnam war by
staging peaceful protests.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is
not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,
it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5).

7. Julian Lennon, John’s son with Cynthia Lennon. To show his support for
Cynthia and Julian during the breakup of the Lennon marriage, Paul drove to
visit mother and child, taking a single red rose. Writes Turner:”…on this
day, with Julian’s uncertain future on his mind, he started singing ‘Hey
Julian’ and improvising lyrics on the theme of comfort and reassurance. At
some point during the hour-long journey, ‘Hey Julian’ gave way to ‘Hey
Jules’ and Paul developed the lines ‘Hey Jules, don’t make it bad. Take a
sad song and make it better.’ It was only later, when he came to flesh out
the lyric, that he changed Jules to Jude, feeling that Jude was a stronger
sounding name.”

In the New Testament, Jude describes himself as “a brother of James”, which
would also make him a brother of Jesus.

8. “Now Rocky Raccoon, he fell back in his room/Only to find Gideon’s bible/
Gideon checked out, and he left it no doubt/To help with good Rocky’s

In the Bible, Gideon was a military hero who delivered Israel from the
oppression of the Midianites. As the conquering warrior, Gideon was invited
to become king, but declined (Judges 8:22-23).

The Gideons are an association of Christian commercial, business and
professional men in over 120 countries who freely distribute Bibles in
hotels and motels, hospitals, university dorms, prisons and other locations.
The association began in the U.S. in 1899, and Canada in 1911.

9. “You say it’s your birthday”. On June 18th, 2006 Sir Paul McCartney
celebrated his 64th birthday. Genesis 11:16-17 records that Eber (a
great-grandson of Noah’s son Shem) lived to be 464 years old.

Job’s seven sons used to feast in the house of each “on his day” (birthday)
and invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them. (Job 1:4)

10. Here Comes The Sun. One morning in early spring, George took a break
from the frequent and tense business meetings at Apple Corps to visit Eric
Clapton at his country home. Turner writes:”Borrowing one of Eric’s acoustic
guitars, George took a walk around the gardens and, basking in the first
real sunshine of the year, he felt a sudden flush of optimism and started to
write Here Comes The Sun. ‘It was such a great release for me simply being
out in the sun,’ said George at the time. ‘The song just came to me.’ ”

Ecclesiastes 11:7:”Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.”

11. You Never Give Me Your Money. After King David’s child by Bathsheba died
in infancy, he told his servants:”While the child was still alive, I fasted
and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me, and let the
child live.’ But now that he is dead, why should I fast? Can I bring him
back again?‚ I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” (2 Samuel
12:22-23).‚ The clear sense of this passage is that David believed he would
be reunited with his child in Heaven.‚ 

Jesus said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for
the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone
who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter
it.” (Luke 18:16-17).

12. Let It Be, which Paul wrote out of his general despair, as the Beatles
began to fall apart. The song begins:”When I find myself in times of
trouble/Mother Mary comes to me/Speaking words of wisdom/Let it be.”

In reality, the reference is to Paul’s own mother, Mary, who died in 1956.
The song is based on a dream Paul had of her a decade after her death:”I had
a dream one night about my mother. She had died when I was 14, so I hadn’t
heard from her in quite a while and it was very good. It gave me some
strength. In my darkest hour, mother Mary had come to me.”

13. The Long and Winding Road. Steve Turner writes:”The imagery actually
comes from Paul’s experience of staying at High Park, his farm in Scotland,
which is exposed to high winds and frequently lashed with rain. The long and
winding road itself is the B842, sixteen miles of twists and turns which
runs down the east coast of Kintyre into Campbeltown, the nearest town to
the farm.”

Jesus mentions a door in Revelation 3:20:”I stand at the door and knock. If
anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him,
and he with me.”

14. Listen To What The Man Said. Although the identity of “the man” isn’t
mentioned, the lyric is reminiscient of Jesus:”As I have loved you, so you
must love one another.” (John 13:34)

15. Martin Luther. From (
“His teachings inspired the Reformation and deeply influenced the doctrines
and culture of the Lutheran and Protestant traditions, and the course of
Western civilization. Luther emphasized that a person is saved by the
merciful kindness of God through the merits of Jesus Christ alone, received
through trusting faith in Christ, not by human efforts to earn God’s favor.”

16. You Saved My Soul. Two books on John Lennon [Nowhere Man: The Final Days
of John Lennon by Robert Rosen; Lennon in America by Geoffrey Giuliano] both
claim that the ex-Beatle experienced a brief period as a born-again
Christian during 1977.

Version 1: “When I was lonely and scared/I nearly fell for a TV preacher/In
a hotel room in Tokyo/Oh, you truly saved me from that suicide/Because all
the things, I die along with you/Remember the time/When I went to jump out
of that apartment window/ On the west side of town of ol’ New York/Oh, you
saved me from that suicide/Because of all my foolish pride/Well, if I could
thank you, thank you/For saving my soul with your true love”

Version 2: (

Steve Turner writes in The Ballad of John and Jesus
(”In his final
interviews, carried out just weeks before his death in December 1980, Lennon
said his beliefs could be described as ‘Zen Christian, Zen pagan, Zen
Marxist’ or nothing at all. Speaking to Newsweek’s Barbara Graustark,
however, Lennon revealed that he still read the Bible. ‘Some of [Christ’s
parables] are only making sense to me now, after a whole life of sitting in
church or school,’ he told her. “It was just moany, moany, moany for years,
and then I hear it again and I think, God, that’s what he means.'”

17. Pipes of Peace (1983).

Isaiah 9:6:”For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the
government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful
Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”

John 3:16-17:”For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God
did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the
world through him.”

18. Free as a Bird. The song was originally a piece of music that John
Lennon composed but never completed. Yoko Ono gave a recording of Lennon’s
to the remaining Beatles, who reunited to record the completed song.
Free as a Bird won the 1997 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo
or Group with Vocal, and a second Grammy for Best Short Form Music Video.

“Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from
the snare of the fowler.” (Proverbs 6:5)

19. Run Devil Run, which begins:”Run devil run, the angels having fun/Making
winners out of sinners better leave before it’s done”. Later lyrics:
“Visiting the neighbors trying to spread the good news/Singing gospel music
with a hint of the blues”

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from
you.” (James 4:7)

20. Oh My Lord, which ends:”Of all that’s uncertain/After all I’ve been
through/The one thing that’s certain/That I know is true/Love that we
need/It all comes from you/Oh my Lord, Oh my Lord/I need your love so bad”

Reviewer Benjamin Lukoff writes:”Ringo considers it his ‘My Sweet Lord’ and
played Olivia Harrison an early demo because he felt ‘George would have
loved it'”


The seven ages of Paul McCartney; Sir Paul McCartney turns 64 on Sunday

Ed Sullivan Presents the Beatles (DVD, 2004). Includes the Beatles’ four
performances from ’64 and ’65, as well as other acts and original TV

Copyright 2006 by David Buckna. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Buckna is the author of “The Pop Gospel,” a quiz feature that has appeared
in publications including The Calgary Herald, ChristianWeek and Baptist
Press. Buckna reads email at (

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