John Lennon, U2, Larry Norman and a Trilogy of God Songs

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by David Gilmour

John Lennon’s debut solo album, John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970), includes the remarkable “God.” The former Beatles’ well known distrust of religion is on display in this album as he announces “There ain’t no Jesus gonna come / from the sky” (“I Found Out”), likens Jesus and Paul with junkies pushing cocaine (“I Found Out”), and with a nice conspiratorial touch, voices concern about a system that keeps people “doped with religion” (“Working Class Hero”). Believers think they are “so clever and classless and free,” but to Lennon they are “still fucking peasants / as far as I can see.” In “God” he adds, bluntly, “I don’t believe in Bible,” “I don’t believe in Jesus,” nor do I believe in I-Ching, tarot, Buddha, Mantra, Gita or Yoga.

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