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The Religious, Esoteric and Occult Worlds of the Beatles

Click for a large cover of BEHIND THE WALL OF ILLUSION.

The Beatles brought colour, joy, freedom and love to a grey, post-war world. But the most successful group in popular music history also harboured hidden, sometimes darker worlds and influences that are often downplayed by their biographers. In their career, the Fab Four were to cross paths with many spiritual movements, religious groups, esoteric philosophies and mystical teachings. Inevitably, their thinking was affected by the ideas they encountered. These ideas in turn helped shape their music and – given their vast popularity – the public consciousness. Behind the Wall of Illusion examines the spiritual inspirations that the Beatles brought to the changing cultural landscape of the 1960s.

From the popularization of the new religion of rock ‘n’ roll, Beatlemania (the ‘new Cult of Dionysus’) and John Lennon’s explosive statement that the Beatles were ‘bigger than Jesus’, Sean MacLeod takes us on a tour of Indian ashrams, questionable gurus and hallucinatory drugs. He also studies the secreted ‘clues’ in the Beatles’ album covers and films; the growing rumours that Paul had been killed in a car crash and covertly replaced; and the tragic assassination of John Lennon and the unknown perpetrators behind the crime. This is an indispensable book for any lover of the Beatles.

SEAN MACLEOD is a musician, songwriter and author from Dublin, Ireland. Sean has been writing songs, recording and performing for over 30 years. He has a keen interest in popular music and has written three books on its influence on modern culture. Sean also has a deep interest in philosophy and the work of Rudolf Steiner in particular, and has attempted to marry his interest in music, literature and the work of Steiner in both his writing and his music.

Sean teaches film, music and media studies at the Limerick College of Further Education in Ireland and is currently finishing an Arts Practice PhD in Music at the University of Limerick. His PhD employs Steiner’s phenomenological methods as a major research tool.

Published in the UK by Clairview Books, 21 April 2023

£14.99; 284pp; 23.5 x 15.5 cm; paperback; ISBN 9781912992461