All four of the Beatles grew up poor or lower middle class and they did discover once they hit it big that luxuries and money did not bring satisfaction to their lives. So they continued to search for that missing thing that could give them peace in their lives.

The Beatles Money (That’s What I Want) 

Julian and John Lennon meet the HAPPY DAYS crew:

mick jagger john lennon and yoko ono by bob gruen nyc 1972

The Beatles were looking for lasting satisfaction in their lives and their journey took them down many of the same paths that other young people of the 1960’s were taking. No wonder in the video THE AGE OF NON-REASON Schaeffer noted,  ” Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band…for a time it became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings.” 

Today we will look at the path of pursuing money and luxuries in an attempt to bring lasting satisfaction into one’s life.

How Should We then Live Episode 7 small (Age of Nonreason)

A Really Big Show – The Beatles: Backstage at “The Ed Sullivan Show” – Pictures – CBS News

The Beatles Money (That’s What I Want) (Live) [HD]

The Beatles were always searching during the 1960’s for a meaning for their lives. Cynthia Lennon said of John, “HE WAS ALWAYS SEARCHING. JOHN ALWAYS LOOKING FOR THE TRUTH, AN IDEAL, A DREAM.”

No truer words were ever spoken. John in 1967 when the album  Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was about to come out was in the middle of some big changes in his life.  He was searching for meaning in life in what I call the 6 big L words just like King Solomon did in the Book of Ecclesiastes. He looked into  learning (1:16-18), laughter, ladies, luxuries,  and liquor (2:1-3, 8, 10, 11), and labor (2:4-6, 18-20).

In college in 1980, my professor, Dr. Blake, talked a lot about the Beatles. He asked students to speak up because he was a big fan of rock music in the 1960’s when he lost a lot of his hearing. He pointed out that the lyrics in rock music are not always consistent. He noted that the Beatles hit “Money (That’s What I Want)” was followed by the later hit “Can’t Buy Me Love.” 

The Beatles – Can’t Buy Me Love (Live)

I think the Beatles did look long and hard into the area of luxuries for their satisfaction and like King Solomon they found it to be “vanity and a striving after the wind.”


Ecclesiastes 2:4-11English Standard Version (ESV)

I made great works. I built houses and planted vineyards for myself. I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees. I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house. I had also great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. 8 I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and provinces. I got singers, both men and women, and many concubines,[a]the delight of the sons of man.

So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. 10 And whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. 11 Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.

John Lennon later wrote the song “Watching the Wheels” that indicated he did not care that people thought he was crazy for dropping out of the money-making music business in 1976 to help raise his son. That demonstrated to me that Lennon had discovered  how empty a pursuit of building wealth is while ignoring your family.In the article “Alistair Begg on The Beatles,” April 1, 2003, Begg noted:

The Beatles first said money was everything (in the song “Money“), then they said that love could give you anything you want onFrom Me to You“, and then they recordCan’t Buy Me Love“. What do you see in this progression?

(Francis Schaeffer pictured below)

Francis Schaeffer noted that Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes took a look at the meaning of life on the basis of human life standing alone between birth and death “under the sun.” This phrase UNDER THE SUN appears over and over in Ecclesiastes. The Christian Scholar Ravi Zacharias noted, “The key to understanding the Book of Ecclesiastes is the term UNDER THE SUN — What that literally means is you lock God out of a closed system and you are left with only this world of Time plus Chance plus matter.” 

If you are an atheist then you have a naturalistic materialistic worldview, and this short book of Ecclesiastes should interest you because the wisest man who ever lived in the position of King of Israel came to THREE CONCLUSIONS that will affect you.

FIRST, chance and time have determined the past, and they will determine the future.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11-13)

These two verses below  take the 3 elements mentioned in a naturalistic materialistic worldview (time, chance and matter) and so that is all the unbeliever can find “under the sun” without God in the picture. You will notice that these are the three elements that evolutionists point to also.

Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 is following: I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all. Moreover, no one knows when their hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so people are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.

SECOND, Death is the great equalizer (Eccl 3:20, “All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”)

THIRD, Power reigns in this life, and the scales are not balanced(Eccl 4:1, 8:15)

Ecclesiastes 4:1-2: “Next I turned my attention to all the outrageous violence that takes place on this planet—the tears of the victims, no one to comfort them; the iron grip of oppressors, no one to rescue the victims from them.” Ecclesiastes 8:14; “ Here’s something that happens all the time and makes no sense at all: Good people get what’s coming to the wicked, and bad people get what’s coming to the good. I tell you, this makes no sense. It’s smoke.”

Solomon had all the resources (and luxuries) in the world and he found himself still searching for meaning in life and trying to come up with answers concerning the afterlife. However, it seems every door he tries to open is locked. Today men try to find satisfaction in learning, liquor, ladies, luxuries, laughter, and labor and that is exactly what Solomon tried to do too.  None of those were able to “fill the God-sized vacuum in his heart” (quote from famous mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal). You have to wait to the last chapter in Ecclesiastes to find what Solomon’s final conclusion is.

In 1978 I heard the song “Dust in the Wind” by Kansas when it rose to #6 on the charts. That song told me that Kerry Livgren the writer of that song and a member of Kansas had come to the same conclusion that Solomon had. I remember mentioning to my friends at church that we may soon see some members of Kansas become Christians because their search for the meaning of life had obviously come up empty even though they had risen from being an unknown band to the top of the music business and had all the wealth and fame that came with that. Furthermore, Solomon realized death comes to everyone and there must be something more.

Livgren wrote:

All we do, crumbles to the ground though we refuse to see, Dust in the Wind, All we are is dust in the wind, Don’t hang on, Nothing lasts forever but the Earth and Sky, It slips away, And all your money won’t another minute buy.”

Take a minute and compare Kerry Livgren’s words to that of the late British humanist H.J. Blackham:

On humanist assumptions, life leads to nothing, and every pretense that it does not is a deceit. If there is a bridge over a gorge which spans only half the distance and ends in mid-air, and if the bridge is crowded with human beings pressing on, one after the other they fall into the abyss. The bridge leads nowhere, and those who are pressing forward to cross it are going nowhere….It does not matter where they think they are going, what preparations for the journey they may have made, how much they may be enjoying it all. The objection merely points out objectively that such a situation is a model of futility“( H. J. Blackham, et al., Objections to Humanism (Riverside, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1967).


Both Kerry Livgren and the bass player DAVE HOPE of Kansas became Christians eventually. Kerry Livgren first tried Eastern Religions and DAVE HOPE had to come out of a heavy drug addiction. I was shocked and elated to see their personal testimony on The 700 Club in 1981 and that same  interview can be seen on youtube today. Livgren lives in Topeka, Kansas today where he teaches “Diggers,” a Sunday school class at Topeka Bible Church. DAVE HOPE is the head of Worship, Evangelism and Outreach at Immanuel Anglican Church in Destin, Florida.

Those who reject God must accept three realities of their life UNDER THE SUN.  FIRST, death is the end and SECOND, chance and time are the only guiding forces in this life.  FINALLY, power reigns in this life and the scales are never balanced. In contrast, Dave Hope and Kerry Livgren believe death is not the end and the Christian can  face death and also confront the world knowing that it is not determined by chance and time alone and finally there is a judge who will balance the scales.

Solomon’s experiment was a search for meaning to life “under the sun.” Then in last few words in the Book of Ecclesiastes he looks above the sun and brings God back into the picture: “The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.”

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)

Kansas, circa 1973 (Phil Ehart, Kerry Livgren, Steve Walsh, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, Dave Hope) (photo credit: DON HUNSTEIN)


You can hear DAVE HOPE and Kerry Livgren’s stories from this youtube link:

(part 1 ten minutes)

Kerry Livgren

(part 2 ten minutes)

Dave Hope

Kansas – Dust In The Wind

Uploaded on Nov 7, 2009


There is evidence that points to the fact that the Bible is historically true as Schaeffer pointed out in episode 5 of WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE HUMAN RACEThere is a basis then for faith in Christ alone for our eternal hope. This link shows how to do that.

The Bible and Archaeology – Is the Bible from God? (Kyle Butt 42 min)

You want some evidence that indicates that the Bible is true? Here is a good place to start and that is taking a closer look at the archaeology of the Old Testament times. Is the Bible historically accurate? Here are some of the posts I have done in the past on the subject: 1. The Babylonian Chronicleof Nebuchadnezzars Siege of Jerusalem2. Hezekiah’s Siloam Tunnel Inscription. 3. Taylor Prism (Sennacherib Hexagonal Prism)4. Biblical Cities Attested Archaeologically. 5. The Discovery of the Hittites6.Shishak Smiting His Captives7. Moabite Stone8Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III9A Verification of places in Gospel of John and Book of Acts., 9B Discovery of Ebla Tablets10. Cyrus Cylinder11. Puru “The lot of Yahali” 9th Century B.C.E.12. The Uzziah Tablet Inscription13. The Pilate Inscription14. Caiaphas Ossuary14 B Pontius Pilate Part 214c. Three greatest American Archaeologists moved to accept Bible’s accuracy through archaeology.

Below is a piece of that evidence given by Francis Schaeffer concerning the accuracy of the Bible.


If we take another hundred-year step backwards in time, we come to King Solomon, son of David. On his death the Jewish Kingdom was divided into two sections as a result of a civil revolt. Israel to the north with Jeroboam as king and Judah (as it was called subsequently) to the south under Rehoboam, Solomon’s son. In both the Book of Kings and Chronicles in the Bible we read how during Rehoboam’s reign: 25 In the fifth year of King Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. (I Kings 14:25; II Chronicles 12:2), and how Shishak stripped Rehoboam of the wealth accumulated by his able father, Solomon. The reality of this event is confirmed by archaeology to a remarkable degree.

Shishak subdued not only Rehoboam but Jeroboam as well. The proof of this comes first from a fragment in a victory monument erected by Shishak and discovered at Megiddo, a city in the land of Israel. So the Egyptian king’s force swept northwards, subdued the two Jewish kings, and then erected a victory monument to that effect. Traces of the destruction have also been discovered in such cities as Hazor, Gezer, and Megiddo. These confirm what was written in Second Chronicles:

And he took the fortified cities of Judah and came as far as Jerusalem. Then Shemaiah the prophet came to Rehoboam and to the princes of Judah, who had gathered at Jerusalem because of Shishak, and said to them, “Thus says theLord, ‘You abandoned me, so I have abandoned you to the hand of Shishak.’”Then the princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves and said, “TheLord is righteous.” When the Lord saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the Lord came to Shemaiah: “They have humbled themselves. I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some deliverance, and my wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by the hand of Shishak. Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

So Shishak king of Egypt came up against Jerusalem. He took away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the king’s house. He took away everything. He also took away the shields of gold that Solomon had made…( II Chronicles 12:4-9)

Further confirmation comes from the huge victory scene engraved on Shishak’s order at the Temple of Karnak in Egypt. The figure of the king is somewhat obscured, but he is clearly named and he is seen smiting Hebrew captives before the god Amon, and there are symbolic rows of names of conquered towns of Israel and Judah.

Solomon’s is remembered also for his great wealth. The Bible tells us:

14 Now the weight of gold that came to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold, 15 besides that which came from the explorers and from the business of the merchants, and from all the kings of the west and from the governors of the land. 16 King Solomon made 200 large shields of beaten gold; 600 shekels[a]of gold went into each shield. 17 And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; three minas[b] of gold went into each shield. And the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon. (I Kings 10:14-17)

This wealth that the Bible speaks of has been challenged. Surely, some have said, these figures are an exaggeration. Excavations, however, have confirmed enormous quantities of precious metals, owned and distributed by kings during this period. For example, Shishak’s son Osorkon I (statuette of Osorkon I, Brooklyn Museum, New York), the one who stood to gain from the booty carried off from Rehoboam’s capital, is reported to have made donations to his god Amon totaling 470 tons of precious metal, gold, and silver, during only the first four years of his reign. This, of course, is much more than Solomon’s 66 talents which equals approximately twenty tons of gold per annum. We also have confirmation of the Bible’s reference to Solomon’s gold as coming from Ophir. The location of Ophir is still unknown, but an ostracon dated a little later than Solomon’s time actually mentions that thirty shekels of gold had come from Ophir for Beth-horon.

Megiddo, The Place of Battles

Non-Technical – Nov 05, 2014 – by Col. (Ret.) David G. Hansen PhD

Megiddo aerial view

Tell el-Mutsellim, Megiddo. An aerial photo of the 35-acre tell looking south. In the lower center right of the 19-acre summit is the gate system. The shaft to the water tunnel is visible in the upper right and exposed on the left side of the tell is the archaeological cut exposing an Early Bronze Age cultic center with a round altar.

Many Christians travel to Megiddo and walk to the 15-acre (6 hectare) summit because of its eschatological significance. There they look at the excavated buildings, walls, water and gate system and then move to the north edge of the mound where they have a magnificent view of the valley, or more correctly, plain, which spreads out before them known as the “Jezreel” in the OT and “Esdraelon” in NT times (Esdraelon being the Greek modification of Jezreel). The plain separates the Galilean hills in the north from Mounts Carmel and Gilboa to the south. The immensity of the plain is so astonishing that when Napoleon Bonaparte first viewed it, he was reported to have said: “All the armies of the world could maneuver their forces on this vast plain…There is no place in the whole world more suited for war that this…[It is] the most natural battleground of the whole earth” (Cline 2002: 142).

1.2 mi (2 km) southeast of Megiddo is the entrance to the Wadi ‘Ara, a narrow north-south pass through the Carmel Mountain ridge. The south end of the Wadi ‘Ara exits onto the Sharon Plain and the Mediterranean coast; the north opens to the Jezreel Plain. The international highway traversed this pass and carried traders and armies from Asia, Europe and Africa. Megiddo’s strategic importance lay in one’s ability to use its nearby hill to monitor such traffic.

In addition to its strategic location, Megiddo had access to the agriculture products from the rich soils of the Jezreel Plain. The Hebrew translation of Jezreel, “God sows,” illustrates the land’s fertility. When George Adam Smith, a late 19th-century AD traveler, stood on Mount Gilboa and surveyed the Jezreel Plain, he wrote:

The valley was green with bush and dotted by white villages…But the rest of the plain [as] a great expanse of loam, red and black, which in a more peaceful land would be one sea of waving wheat with island villages; but has mostly been what its modern name implies, a free, wild prairie…(1966: 253).

And when the American scholar and explorer, Edward Robinson, visited the area in 1852, he wrote:

The prospect [view] from the Tell [i.e. Tell el-Mutsellim] is a noble one; embracing the whole of the glorious plain; than which there is not a richer upon earth…A city situated either on the Tell or on the ridge [Mt. Carmel] behind it, would naturally give its name to the adjacent plain and waters; as we know was the case with Megiddo…The Tell would indeed present a splendid site for a city (as quoted in Davies 1986: 4).

Megiddo’s mound has a copious spring emanating from a small cave near its base that provided water for those who settled there. Aharoni, in his comprehensive historical geography of the Holy Land, lists four criteria for occupation: strategic location, access to roads, water and agricultural lands (Aharoni 1979: 106–107). Meggido’s location met all four.2


Jezreel Plain from Megiddo. Sprawling on the ridge in the distance is the modern city of Nazareth. In the distance on the right side of the photo is the high round mound of Mt. Tabor near where Deborah defeated Sisera (Jgs 4, 5).

Entrance to Megiddo

Entrance to the Megiddo Pass from the northeast. In the upper part of the photo the road begins to weave its way through the hills into Wadi ‘Ara and on south toward the Mediterranean plain. The modern road follows the ancient route of the international highway through Mt. Carmel. Megiddo is 1.2 mi (2 km) to the right (N) of where the road enters the hills. The world’s earliest recorded battle occurred here between Syrian princes and Pharaoh Thutmosis III (ca. 1469 BC). Judah’s king Josiah was fatally wounded when he confronted another pharaoh, Neco, near here ca. 609 BC (2 Kgs 23:29; 2 Chr 35:20–24).

The downside for being such an attractive site was the probability of war as nations sought to control this place for their own ends. Like bears drawn to honey, realms fought at and near Megiddo for fruit of the Jezreel Plain, to control and tax international traffic, or secure lines of communication to and from far-flung lands. In his historical review of Megiddo and its surrounds, Cline counts no fewer than 34 wars there from ca. 2350 BC to AD 2000 and adds, “nearly every invading force [of Israel] has fought a battle in the Jezreel Valley” (2002: 11). Proof of this can be seen in some of the 20 occupational levels dating from the Chalcolithic to Persian periods (ca. 5000–332 BC), with evidence that they met their ends in fiery destruction (DeVries 1997: 215).

[Megiddo] was easily accessible to traders and migrants from all directions; but at the same time it could, if powerful enough, control access to means of these routes and so direct the course of both trade and war. It is not surprising therefore that it was at most periods of antiquity one of the wealthiest cities of Palestine, or that it was a prize often fought over and when secured strongly defended (Davies 1986: 10).


The first deliberate archaeological excavations at Tell el- Mutesellim were in 1903–1905, by G. Schumacher on behalf of the German Society for Oriental Research. He had a north-south trench dug the length of the mound that exposed several Iron Age (ca. 1200–600 BC) buildings, and he made soundings along the walls at other places on the site (Aharoni 1993: 1004–1005). Among his finds was a royal official’s seal from the reign of Jeroboam II (ca. 793–753 BC; 2 Kgs 14:23–25). The seal, made of jasper with the image of a crouching lion, had an inscription, “(belonging) to Shema’ Servant of Jeroboam,” the only reference to Jeroboam II outside of the Bible. Unfortunately, the seal has disappeared and only a copy exists (Wood 2000: 119).

Excavations were renewed in 1925 by the Oriental Institute of Chicago at the encouragement of Egyptologist James Henry Breasted and financially underwritten by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. This work continued until 1939, when it was interrupted by the onset of World War II. The goal of the first field director, Clarence Fisher, was to clear the mound layer-by-layer. After four years it became obvious the effort could not be sustained on such a grand scale, and the scope became more limited. For those who are familiar with archaeological techniques used today, it may be of interest that H.G. Guy, who replaced Fisher in 1927, was the first to “use ‘locus numbers’ to designate rooms and or other small areas and the taking of aerial photographs of major structures by means of a camera attached to a captive balloon” (Davies 1986: 19–20).

Yigael Yadin started work at Megiddo in 1960 on behalf of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with additional seasons in 1961, 1966, 1967 and 1971. Yadin helped to clarify the dating of many buildings uncovered by previous excavators. Yadin’s colleagues continued excavating until 1974 (Aharoni 1993: 1005). Since 1992, and every other year since, excavations have been done under the direction of Israel Finkelstein, David Ussishkin and Baruch Halpern, and under the auspices of Tel Aviv University and The Pennsylvania State University. Their work continues to shed light on previously excavated areas as well as performing reconstruction activities to make the site more comprehensible for visitors (Finkelstein, Ussishkin, Halpern 2008: 1944–1950).


The occupation of Megiddo could have begun as early as ca. 5000 BC (Davies 1986: 25). By 2700 BC a large village was there, surrounded by a great wall—the largest and strongest ever built on the mound (Aharoni 1993: 1007). Visible at the bottom of a large archaeological cut is a worship complex from this period, with a 26Z ft (8 m) diameter circular altar, 5 ft (1.5 m) high, with a flight of stairs to its top. This was also the time when Megiddo became the target of the first known recorded military campaign. An Egyptian tomb inscription from the Early Bronze Age described how Weni, a general under Pharaoh Pepi I (ca. 2325–2275 BC), invaded the region and found fortified towns, excellent vineyards and fine orchards (Aharoni 1979: 135–37). Weni campaigned four more times around Megiddo to put down insurrections, probably local farmers chafing under oppressive Egyptian rule (Hansen 1991: 85).

In succeeding generations Megiddo continued to attract Egyptian interest, and was the site of the world’s earliest battle for which a detailed account exists. Carved on the walls of Karnak in Egypt is a well-preserved description of how Pharaoh Thutmosis III, one of Egypt’s greatest sovereigns and her finest military strategist, fought a coalition of Syrian princes at Megiddo ca.1469 BC. The Syrians had occupied Megiddo and controlled the pass through the Carmel ridge, the Wadi ‘Ara. Thutmosis moved a large army from Egypt to a place just south of the entrance to the Wadi ‘Ara. Contemplating his next move, Thutmosis consulted his generals, who urged him not to consider the Wadi ‘Ara but to use two other less narrow valleys north and south of the ‘Ara. His staff feared an ambush in the narrow ‘Ara pass. Disregarding their advice, Thutmosis ordered the army through the Wadi ‘Ara. They traversed the pass unmolested and exited onto the Jezreel Plain, surprising the Syrian princes who had anticipated that the Egyptian army would come through the two other, less dangerous, routes. In the ensuing battle the Syrians were able to escape to the safety of Megiddo where, after a seven-month siege, the city fell.3After the siege, the amount of agricultural spoils captured by Thutmosis is impressive: “…1,929 cows, 2,000 goats, and 20,500 sheep…[The] of the harvest which is majesty carried off from the Megiddo acres: 207,300 [+ x] sacks of wheat, apart from what was cut as forage by his majesty’s army…” (Pritchard 1958: 181–82). It is estimated the wheat, alone, measured 450,000 bushels (Pritchard 1958: 182 n.1). Megiddo was a very wealthy and fertile target, indeed!

Small ivory box

Small box carved from a single block of ivory, 2.95 in (7.5 cm) high, 5.25 x 4.75 in (13.5 x 12 cm), found at Megiddo and beautifully decorated on four sides with lions and sphinxes, shows the work of a skilled artisan and dates to the time of the Conquest 12th–13th c. BC. The fine workmanship shows the wealth of those who lived in Megiddo at the time.

Megiddo six-chamber gate

Six-chamber gate at Megiddo. Only the three southern chambers remain today of the massive gate and can be seen in this photo. The center chamber is filled with rocks but the first and third are open. It is believed Solomon constructed this gate and built two more like it at Gezer and Hazor (1 Kgs 9:15).

Both General Weni and Pharaoh Thutmosis III campaigned before the Israelites entered the Promised Land ca. 1406 BC.4 Although Joshua defeated the king of Megiddo (Jos 12:21), the Bible does not tell us how. Apparently Joshua did not capture the city because Megiddo was still occupied by Canaanites at the time of the Judges (Jgs 1:27). However, during the time of the Conquest (the period covered by Joshua and Judges), Megiddo became the focus of attention for one nearby city-state, Shechem. The Bible implies the invading Israelites made peace with the king of Shechem (Hansen 2005: 37). The king of Shechem apparently then used his association with the Hebrews as an opportunity to attack some of his neighbors, including Megiddo. This is reported in the Armana tablets found in Egypt in AD 1887. They were written by various rulers from around the Middle East, including leaders of Promised Land city-states to Pharaohs Amenhotep III (ca. 1402-1364) and Akhenaten (Amenhotep IV, ca. 1350-1334).5 Letter EA 252 is from Labayu, the king of Shechem, who shows contempt for Egypt and implies he had become independent of Egyptian rule (Hess 1993). The king of Megiddo wrote in EA 244 that his city has been besieged by Labayu, complains of Egypt’s lack of response, and pleads for military assistance:

ever since the archers returned (to Egypt?), Lab’ayu has carried on hostilities against me, and we are not able to pluck the wool, and we are not able to go outside the gate in the presence of Lab’ayu, since he learned that thou hast not given archers but let the king protect his city, lest Lab’ayu seize it… He [Lab’ayu] seeks to destroy Megiddo (Pritchard 1958: 263).

Letters EA 287 and EA 288 are from the king of Jerusalem, who requests reinforcements to protect against the Habiru who are attacking cities. He also accuses Labayu, the king of Shechem, of giving land to the Habiru (Pritchard 1958: 270–72). The mention of Habiru in these tablets refers to a migratory people group who were invading the Promised Land at the time of the Conquest. Many conservative Bible scholars believe the Habiru to have been the Israelites.6

Excavations at Megiddo have revealed that the period when the Amarna letters were written was wealthy. Many lovely gold artifacts, and a horde of 382 ivories, show the prosperity of Megiddo’s rulers. Several ivories have hieroglyphic inscriptions that point to Egyptian influence at the site. Other ivories are pieces of a board game or games, women’s cosmetic utensils, and a small box carved from a single piece of ivory (Aharoni 1993: 1011). Following this time, Megiddo suffered a major destruction dated to the time of the Judges (Price 1997: 147).

Megiddo water tunnel

Megiddo water system tunnel. The 262 ft (80 m) long tunnel dug under the city walls to a spring in a cave outside of the city walls.

The first mention of Megiddo after the book of Judges is during the reign of Solomon (970–930 BC). The governor he appointed to Megiddo’s district was required to annually supply Solomon’s palace with a month’s worth of provisions (1 Kgs 4:7, 12). Although the evidence is weak, it was probably King David who conquered the city, as evidenced by the remains of a violent conflagration over 3 ft (1 m) deep (Shiloh: 1016). If correct, it was David who built a new city, referred to in 1 Kings, over the remains of the previous one.

In succeeding years Megiddo became a major fortified city. At this level excavators revealed the remains of a large gate complex of six chambers, three on each side, with two towers. In an amazing piece of detective work, Yadin proved Megiddo’s gate complex mirrored those from the same period found at Gezer and Hazor (1975: 193–94). Yadin concluded Solomon constructed the three city gates, using a shared plan, at the time he “built the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer” (1 Kgs 9:15). Of this discovery Yadin wrote, “…as an archaeologist I cannot imagine a greater thrill that working with the Bible in one hand and the spade in the other” (1975: 187).

Many structures from Solomon’s time, as well as that of the gate system, have been uncovered. However, it must be stated that some archaeologists challenge the dating. Among the contested structures are several long, narrow buildings archaeologists have identified as horse stables, while others argue they were barracks or storehouses (Shiloh 1993: 1021). If stables, the structures fit well with what the Bible tells us about Solomon, who built “cities and towns for his chariots and for his horses” (1Kgs 9:19). A large grain storage pit, 69 ft (21 m) deep and 69 ft (21 m) wide, was found near the “stables” and could have provided 150 days’ worth of grain for up to 330 horses (Ussishkin 1997: 467). Parts of this level’s city were destroyed by fire, probably by Pharaoh Shishak, who invaded the country shortly after Solomon died ca. 925 BC (1 Kgs 14:25; 1 Chr 12:2).

Megiddo Tell el Mutsellim

Aerial view of Megiddo from the southeast, with Mt. Carmel in the distance. Tell el-Mutsellim, the site of the ancient city of Megiddo, is in the foreground. The prophet Elijah confronted the priests of Baal on Mt. Carmel (1 Kgs 18:21) and later executed them near Megiddo (1 Kgs 18:24). This area is also the location of biblical Armageddon prophesied in Revelation 16:16.

Megiddo stables or barracks

Stables, barracks or storerooms? Scholars debate the use of tripartite buildings excavated at Megiddo that have rooms similar to these in the photo that have mangers. Many believe the buildings were stables from the time of Solomon, and Megiddo was one of his chariot cities (1 Kgs 9:19).

Shishak (who is Egyptian pharaoh Sheshonq I, ca. 945–923 BC) left a record of his invasion of Judah and Israel at Karnak in Egypt, and Megiddo is among the places he listed as being conquered. During the 1929 excavations of Megiddo, Clarence Fisher found a fragment from a stele erected by Shishak that commemorated his capture of the city.

One of the most interesting structures to explore at Megiddo is the large water system, probably built during the reigns of the northern kings Omri and Ahab (ca. 880–853 BC) in order to gain protected access to the spring outside the city walls. An 82 ft (25 m) deep square vertical shaft with steps along its side was dug inside the city walls and connected to a 262 ft (80 m) tunnel dug through rock that led to the city’s water source, a spring in a cave 115 ft (35 m) below the surface. The outside approach to the cave was then concealed and blocked (Shiloh 1993: 1023).

A destruction layer in several buildings at Megiddo denotes the arrival of the Assyrians. The city undoubtedly fell to Tiglath-Pileser III (745–727 BC) when he invaded the northern kingdom, as documented in his annals (Pritchard 1958: 193–94) and the Bible (2 Kgs 15:29–30). However, many structures, including the city walls, water system and grain storage pit, continued in use during the Assyrian period. New buildings displayed typical Assyrian architectural features, and indicate the city was an administrative or residential center (Ussishkin 1997: 468).

Stratum II represents the period ca. 650–600 BC, during which the city fell rapidly into decline. Although many of the Assyrian buildings continued to be used, the city was unfortified except for a structure that may have been a fortress. It is unclear who controlled the city, the Israelites or the Egyptians; it was a time when a power vacuum existed in northern Palestine, and both the king of Judah, Josiah (640–609 BC), and the Egyptians saw this as an opportunity to expand their empires. The two kingdoms clashed at Megiddo in 609 BC when Pharaoh Neco II, on his way to assist his Assyrian allies in a battle against the Babylonians, met Josiah. Under circumstances that are not certain, the Bible reports that Josiah “marched out to meet him [Neco] in battle, but Neco faced him and killed him at Megiddo” (2 Kgs 23:29). 2 Chronicles 35:20–24 describes the same event, adding details that Josiah was wounded in battle on the plain of Megiddo and taken to Jerusalem where he died. Josiah’s death opened the door for Babylon’s invasion, and Megiddo soon fell into disuse. It was abandoned by the time Alexander the Great conquered the region, ca. 332 BC.

Remarkably, visitors today see acres of ruins, a fascinating water system and complex gate systems, and would find it hard to believe the exact location of Megiddo was lost in history. But, from about 330 BC on, Tell el-Mutesellim was forgotten as the site of the city of Megiddo. By the fourth century AD, Jerome had only a vague idea of where Megiddo had been, and scholars in subsequent centuries conjectured it was at various other places in the area. When Edward Robinson visited Tell el-Mutsellim in 1852 he wrote: “The Tell [has] no trace, of any kind to show that a city ever stood there” (Davies 1986: 4). It was not until Tell el-Mutesellim was excavated in the early 20th century that the location of the ancient city of Megiddo was known.

The Final Battle7

As fascinating as the history and archaeology of Megiddo may be, the Bible informs us of an even more remarkable happening at or near Megiddo. There, “the kings of the whole world” will be gathered “for the battle on the great day of God Almighty” (Rv 16:14). The battle will bring an end to the adversary (Rv 16:17), and “Babylon the Great” will finally fall (Rv 16:19), reversing the failure of Josiah that had earlier brought Babylon into the Promised Land.8

This final conflict will occur in association with the “mountain” of Megiddo (Rv 16:16), which could imply the ridge of Mount Carmel that rises above Megiddo. During the days of Elijah the prophet, King Ahab (874–853 BC) and Queen Jezebel encouraged and sponsored Baal worship in Israel. This led Elijah to call for a contest to determine who deserved the title of God (1 Kgs 18:21). Both Elijah and the 400 prophets of Baal made altars for their sacrifices. Whichever sacrifice was divinely ignited would prove to represent the true God. Following the total failure of Baal and the dramatic ignition provided by the Lord, Elijah commanded the prophets of Baal be seized and executed in the Jezreel Plain (1 Kgs 18:40). The Lord’s dramatic victory casts the hope and promise about the coming battle at Armageddon. Just as Baal and his prophets met their end near Megiddo, so Satan and his forces will meet their end at the mountain of Megiddo.

Throughout much of His earthly life, Jesus walked by or gazed down on “Armageddon,” the battleground of history. We can now join him in looking to this same place in expectation of the day when He will rise to win the final victory over the Adversary.


1 Jos 12:21, 17:11; Jgs 1:27, 5:19; 1 Kgs 4:12, 9:15; 2 Kgs 9:27, 23:29, 23:30; 1 Chr 7:29; 2 Chr 35:22; Zec 12:11.
2 For an elaboration on Aharoni’s four criteria and how they apply to Megiddo, see Hansen 1991: 84–93.
3 For more detailed descriptions of this battle see Hansen 1991: 86–87 and Cline 2002: 17–22. For an analysis of Thutmosis III’s military prowess, and the possibility that he became Pharaoh shortly after Moses killed an Egyptian and fled to Midian (Ex 2:11–15), see Hansen 2003: 16–19.
4 This article assumes the date for the Exodus as 1446 BC and the crossing of the Jordan (Jos 3) in 1406 BC. This is derived from a literal reading of 1 Kgs 6:1 and an understanding of the beginning of Solomon’s reign to be ca. 930 BC. For an in-depth treatment of this issue see Hansen 2003: 14–20 and Young 2008: 109–123.
5 Most of the correspondence is diplomatic and include letters to and/or from Babylon (13), Assyria (2), Mitanni (13), Alashia (=Cyprus?) (8), Hittites (1). About 80 percent of the whole collection is letters to and from the rulers of citysates in Canaan (Pfeiffer 1963: 13).
6 For a discussion of the Amarna tablets and the identity of the Habiru, see Archer 1994: 288–95; Wood 1995 and 2003: 269–71.
7 This section is a summary of the last chapter in A Visual Guide to Bible to Bible Events, Martin, Beck and Hansen 2009: 258–59.
8 Whether one views this battle as literally occurring within the Jezreel Plain or believes the Jezreel Plain is symbolic of the battle location, these insights apply.


Aharoni, Yohanan
1993 Megiddo. Pp. 1003–1012 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land 31997 The Land of the Bible: A Historical Geography, 2d ed. Philadelphia: Westminster.

Cline, Eric H.
2002 The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age. Ann Arbor MI: University of Michigan.

Davies, Graham I.
1986 Megiddo. Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans.

DeVries, LaMoine F.
1997 Megiddo: City of Many Battles. Pp. 215–23 in Cities of the Biblical World. Peabody MA: Hendrickson.

Finkelstein, Israel; Ussishkin, David; and Halpern, Baruch
1993 Megiddo. Pp. 1944–1955 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land 5: Supplementary Volume, ed. Ephraim Stern. Washington DC: Biblical Archaeology Society.

Hansen, David G.
1991 The Case of Meggido [sic]. Archaeology and Biblical Research 4:84–93.
1996 The Bible and the Study of Military Affairs. Bible and Spade 9: 114–25.
2003 Moses and Hatshepsut. Bible and Spade 16: 14–20.
2005 Shechem: Its Archaeological and Contextual Significance. Bible and Spade 18: 33–43.

Hess, Richard S.
1993 Smitten Ant Bites Back: Rhetorical Forms in the Amarna Correspondence from Shechem. Pp. 95–111 in Verses in Ancient Near Eastern Prose, eds. Johannes C. deMoor and Wilfred G.E. Watson. Alter Orient und Altes Testament 42. Kevelaer, Germany: Butzon & Bercker.

Hoerth, Alfred J.
1998 Archaeology and the Old Testament. Grand Rapids MI: Baker.

Hoffmeier, James K.
2008 The Archaeology of the Bible. Oxford England: Lion Hudson.

Martin, James C.; Beck, John A.; and Hansen, David G.
2009 A Visual Guide to Bible Events: Fascinating Insights into Where They Happened and Why. Grand Rapids MI: Baker.

Pfeiffer, Charles F.
1963 Tell El Amarna and the Bible. Grand Rapids MI: Baker.

Price, Randall
1997 The Stones Cry Out. Eugene OR: Harvest House.

Pritchard, James B. (ed.)
1958 The Ancient Near East, Volume I: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Princeton: Princeton University.

Shiloh, Yigal
1993 Megiddo. Pp. 1012–1024 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land 3, ed. Ephraim Stern. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Ussishkin, David
1997 Megiddo. Pp. 460–69 in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Archaeology in the Near East 3, ed. Eric C. Meyer. New York: Oxford.

Wood, Bryant G.
1995 Reexamining the Late Bronze Era: An Interview with Bryant Wood by Gordon Govier. Bible and Spade 8: 47–53.
1993 Shishak, King of Egypt. Bible and Spade 9: 29–32.
2002 Jeroboam II, King of Israel, and Uzziah, King of Judah” in Bible and Spade 13:4 (2000) pp. 119–20.
2003 From Ramesses to Shiloh: Archaeological Discoveries Bearing on the Exodus–Judges Period. Pp. 256–82 in Giving the Sense: Understanding and Using Old Testament Historical Texts, David M. Howard, Jr., and Michael A. Grisanti. Grand Rapids MI: Kregel

Yadin, Yigael
1975 Hazor: The Rediscovery of a Great Citadel of the Bible. New York: Random House.

Young, Rodger C.
2008 Evidence for Inerrancy from a Second Unexpected Source: The Jubilee and Sabbatical Cycles. Bible and Spade 21:

September 19, 2011

By Elvis Costello

My absolute favorite albums are Rubber Soul and Revolver. On both records you can hear references to other music — R&B, Dylan, psychedelia — but it’s not done in a way that is obvious or dates the records. When you picked up Revolver, you knew it was something different. Heck, they are wearing sunglasses indoors in the picture on the back of the cover and not even looking at the camera . . . and the music was so strange and yet so vivid. If I had to pick a favorite song from those albums, it would be “And Your Bird Can Sing” . . . no, “Girl” . . . no, “For No One” . . . and so on, and so on. . . .

Their breakup album, Let It Be, contains songs both gorgeous and jagged. I suppose ambition and human frailty creeps into every group, but they delivered some incredible performances. I remember going to Leicester Square and seeing the film of Let It Be in 1970. I left with a melancholy feeling.

THE BEATLES We Can Work It Out


‘We Can Work It Out’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Cummings Archives/Redferns

Writers: McCartney-Lennon
Recorded: October 20 and 29, 1965
Released: December 6, 1965
12 weeks; no. 1

“We Can Work It Out” plunges the listener into the middle of an argument, a good-cop/bad-cop seesaw between hopeful choruses and verses full of warnings: “Our love may soon be gone.” It’s a McCartney song that grew out of an argument with girlfriend Jane Asher. Lennon contributed the pessimistic minor-key bridge: “Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting.” (“You’ve got Paul writing ‘we can work it out,'” Lennon said. “Real optimistic, and you know, me, impatient.”)

The group stumbled upon an old harmonium in the studio. McCartney remembered thinking, “This’d be a nice color on it.” In the verses, with the “suspended chords . . . that wonderful harmonium sound gives it a sort of religious quality,” Ray Davies of the Kinks told Rolling Stone in 2001. Harrison suggested switching the rhythm in the bridge from a straight 4/4 rhythm to waltz time. With the signature change, the vintage instrument evoked a circus-carousel feel — a vibe that the Beatles would return to two years later on “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!” on Sgt. Pepper. The 11 hours they spent on “We Can Work It Out” was by far the longest amount of studio time devoted to a Beatles track up to that point.

The tension in the lyrics between a hopeful McCartney and a saturnine Lennon foreshadows the ways in which they would move apart. “They were going through one of their first periods of disunity, so maybe it’s a subtext to where the band was,” Davies observed. “This is one of my little theories: Every career has its story, and if you look at the song titles, it sums up what they were doing.”

Appears On: Past Masters

The Beatles – Can’t Buy Me Love (Live)


‘Can’t Buy Me Love’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Main Writer: McCartney
Recorded: January 29 and February 26, 1964
Released: March 16, 1964
10 weeks; no. 1

By the middle of March 1964, the Beatles were the biggest band in the world, responsible for an astonishing 60 percent of the American singles market. With pre-orders of more than 3 million copies, “Can’t Buy Me Love” catapulted the Beatles to a new level of fame. Two weeks after the 45 was released, the Beatles claimed all five top positions on Billboard‘s singles chart: “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Twist and Shout,” “She Loves You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Please Please Me.” The next week, they set another still-unbroken record, with 14 of the Top 100 U.S. singles. (The previous record holder had been Elvis Presley, with nine in 1956.) “People in England at that time never really understood what great conquering heroes they were,” said George Martin, “and that the success was so complete and total.”

The Beatles were in prime live form when they recorded “Can’t Buy Me Love,” charged up from playing up to three shows a day at a 18-day residency at Paris’ Olympia Theatre. They only needed four tries to get the basic track; 11 days later, they would have their U.S. television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show, and then the single would be released five weeks later in the U.S. With Beatlemania, everything moved at supersonic speed.

McCartney later said “Can’t Buy Me Love” was “my attempt to write [in] a bluesy mode.” But the song is much closer to the group’s primary influences: the bright gallop of uptempo Motown and brisk Fifties rockabilly. Lennon and McCartney had their own deep roots in the latter, but Harrison was the expert: His guitar style, especially in the Beatles’ early recording years, was an aggressive updating of the simplicity of Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore’s breaks on Elvis Presley’s Sun singles. In “Can’t Buy Me Love,” Harrison’s solo — which takes off after one of McCartney’s Little Richard-inspired screams — is classic ’56 Memphis with jet-age sheen.

The lyrics in “Can’t Buy Me Love” were essentially sweet stuff about valuing romance over material things, although some fans somehow missed the point, baffling McCartney. “I think you can put any interpretation you want on anything,” he said. “But when someone suggests that ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ is about a prostitute, I draw the line.”

Appears On: A Hard Day’s Night


‘Here Comes the Sun’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Evening Standard/Getty Images

Main Writer: Harrison
Recorded: July 7, 8 and 16, August 6, 15 and 19, 1969
Released: October 1, 1969
Not released as a single

Harrison wrote one of the Beatles’ happiest songs while he was playing hooky. By 1969, Apple Records was disintegrating into an endless squabble over money, with business manager Allen Klein and attorney John Eastman struggling for control of the group. “Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that,'” recalled Harrison. “One day I decided I was going to sag off Apple, and I went over to Eric Clapton’s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote ‘Here Comes the Sun.'”

Harrison’s estate, Kinfauns, was about a half-hour’s drive away from Clapton’s house. The two guitarists had grown close, with Clapton playing the solo on “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” and Harrison returning the favor by co-writing Cream’s hit “Badge.” “It was a beautiful spring morning, and we were sitting at the top of a big field at the bottom of the garden,” Clapton wrote in his autobiography. “We had our guitars and were just strumming away when he started singing ‘de da de de, it’s been a long cold lonely winter,’ and bit by bit he fleshed it out, until it was time for lunch.”

“Here Comes the Sun” opened the second side of Abbey Road with a burst of joy. Along with “Something,” it gave notice that the Beatles now had three formidable composers. “George was blossoming as a songwriter,” said Starr. “It’s interesting that George was coming to the fore and we were just breaking up.”

Even the highly competitive Lennon and McCartney had to grant Harrison newfound respect. “I think that until now, until this year, our songs have been better than George’s,” McCartney said to Lennon during a break in the Abbey Road sessions. “Now, this year his songs are at least as good as ours.”

Appears On: Abbey Road


‘You’re Going to Lose That Girl’

the beatles 100 greatest songs
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Writers: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: February 19, 1965
Released: August 13, 1965
Not released as a single

The last song the Beatles completed for the Help! soundtrack before heading off to the Bahamas to begin filming, “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” was knocked out in two takes. The song started with Lennon, and McCartney helped him complete it at Lennon’s home in Weybridge.

Like “She Loves You,” “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” is the rare pop song in which a male singer addresses a wayward boyfriend. But where the earlier hit offered empathy, now Lennon issues a more aggressive warning: “I’ll make a point of taking her away from you.” Distinguished by Lennon’s falsetto and Starr’s manic bongo-playing, the song really comes alive through the background vocals. The bright call-and-response parts that comment on the action (“Watch what you do”) illustrate the influence that the early-Sixties girl-group records still had on the Beatles. The band recorded a number of girl-group songs (“Chains” by the Cookies, “Baby It’s You” and “Boys” by the Shirelles), flipping the genders in the lyrics as necessary.

In the film, the song is done in a smoky studio; McCartney wanted to show the material in a more natural setting than provided by most movie musicals. Ringo does the whole performance with a lit cigarette dangling from his lips.

Appears On: Help!

Featured artist today is Derek Boshier!!

Derek Boshier: The Artist as Filmmaker

Published on Jul 16, 2012

Derek Boshier, a key figure in the British Pop Art Movement and the creator of a number of pioneering film experiments, is interviewed at BFI Southbank


(Monitor) Pop Goes The Easel – Ken Russell 1962

Uploaded on Dec 1, 2011

(Monitor) Pop Goes The Easel – Ken Russell 1962

Derek Boshier in conversation with Alex Kitnick at 356 S. Mission Rd.

Published on Sep 17, 2013

Ooga Booga and 356 Present
A screening of short films by Derek Boshier
Introduced by Alex Kitnick and followed by a conversation between Derek Boshier and Alex Kitnick


Derek Boshier,

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The famous Young Contemporaries exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1961 featured early work by artists R.B. Kitaj and David Hockney, as well as Derek Boshier. They were all classmates at the Royal College of Art. The largely student-run exhibition was traditionally an ad-hoc affair, underfunded and disorganized; it did, however, manage to capture a good deal of attention (that may be an understatement). What followed for Hockney and Kitaj is fairly well documented. What happened to Derek Boshier is less understood and perhaps more interesting.

Postwar life in England was gritty. Food was still rationed, the economy was in shambles, and a once-glorious (depending on your perspective) empire was greatly diminished. And while people celebrated the Allied victory, the end of the war was greeted more with a sigh of relief than anything history might want to bestow upon the moment. The bells were rung, yes, but a proudly worn grimness prevailed, firmly grounding a remarkable cultural transition that looked not backward in time (the prototypical Churchillian impulse) but rather into the future. Why not?

In the wake of two world wars, optimism’s stock was at an all-time low. Add into the mix the hyperbolic (yet very real) threat posed by the face-off between the United States and the Soviet Union (at that point largely a European affair), and one begins to understand the biting sarcasm and humor present in Kingsley Amis’s early work or the grey tones shaped into poetry by Philip Larkin. Indeed, that ambience was captured perfectly by John le Carréin The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, in which the abject dankness of the period is raised to such a high pitch that it almost becomes a character in the book.

Derek Boshier,

Generationally speaking, the next up to bat had had enough — or perhaps, and more correctly, they hadn’t had nearly enough. Keith Moon, for example, immediately comes to mind as someone with an insatiable appetite for more. The brief life of the shamanistic clown and cyclonic drummer for The Who was a gluttonous celebration of everything except privation. The immensely talented Moon smashed his way into the scene (sometimes dressed in a Hitler costume), fraught with a furiously complex series of ambitions that he would die trying to fulfill. What’s notable about the period — and Moon a signifier of — is the rise of the working-class artist. Musically speaking, the list is long and varied and utterly familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in rock music. Yet beneath the blare of the power chords swirled a smaller but no less vital reawakening of the British art world.

Not wholly content to look to the past but spurred on by it nonetheless, a new cohort announced themselves. Like the musicians they often intersected with, they were mostly male, mostly unpolished, and mostly extremely talented. Like their young friends with guitars strapped over their shoulders, these artists would grow up in a moment of unwavering cultural change. Derek Boshier would perhaps prove to be the most unwavering of all.

A new exhibition of Boshier’s work, curated by William Kaizen, has opened at Northeastern University’s Gallery 360, in Boston. The show spans the long decades of Boshier’s career and includes examples of his recent work. Boshier, who conflates the “pop” in Pop art with “pop” as in “pop in and out,” never has conformed to art world expectations. With moves that would dumbfound today’s career-driven art world professionals (I mean, artists), Boshier managed to slip the grasp and monotony of practicality and do exactly what he wanted. This pattern was established early, when the attention garnered by the Young Contemporaries show might have prompted a strategic turn; instead, he picked up and went off to India.

Derek Boshier,

Later, he ended up working with David Bowie on the cover art for Lodger and the second songbook by The Clash (Joe Strummer was a former student), which may have unintentionally widened his brand. Always on to the next thing, though, he left to teach in America (Houston) and ended up staying for 13 years. A confirmed skeptic, Boshier is seemingly never content to really settle anywhere.

His art is as difficult to pin down as he is. It includes graphic work, filmmaking, printmaking, book writing, photography, and, of course, painting. There’s sculpture and installation, too. This seminal figure in the British Pop art movement is decidedly unpredictable, which has nothing to do with being erratic. The basic armature on which he constructs his work — a pop sensibility limned with varying levels of sarcasm and humor — stays solid regardless of the medium he’s working in.

In this survey, Kaizen, who is an art historian, manages to capture (no easy trick) Boshier’s various twists and turns. Recent paintings mingle with older collages and the cover art for Bowie’s album. There are art world digs and cartoon-like observations about Boshier’s most recent perch, Los Angeles.

Interestingly, the work is more intellectual than visual. Not brainy in the sense that it’s academically composed, but rather conversational and cutting; Boshier might have more in common with Jon Stewart than Andy Warhol. Yet thinking he’s just a comedian would be missing the point. What Boshier offers is a serious critique — visual reminders, if you will — of the absurdities of modern life.

The hefty lines in recent paintings almost remedially etch themselves into the surface of the work. “I only like Dogs and Abstract Art,” a painting from 2011, is as caustic as it is glib. In a familiar sight, hands hold a phone with an image of a dog and a painting on it. Superficially, nothing is wrong here, and yet … In a similar vein, Boshier riffs on the neurosis of Californians in “In California Everyone Goes to a Therapist.” The mixed-media piece focuses on the front of a Mercedes with a skull looming just above it. The skull, part architectural and perhaps referencing Damien Hirst, is an ominous hint of Boshier’s intent. A message, too, is scrawled across the work — a joke really, about therapy. The takeaway is less obvious than it may seem, as Boshier inflates the simplicity of the scene with a variety of ideas.

Derek Boshier,

Funny to think that even as we pause to consider a small swath of Boshier’s work, he’s now moved along and is making iPhone films. By the time anyone catches up with the 76-year-old, no doubt he’ll be on to something else.

Derek Boshier: A Survey of Work is on view at Northeastern University’s Gallery 360 (360 Huntington Avenue, Boston) through October 30.



Following his appearance on BBC Radio 4’s Midweek this morning, I will be in conversation with Derek Boshier tomorrow evening at Pallant House Gallery, home to the excellent exhibition of examples of the artist’s engagement with music (and in particular his collaborations with David Bowie and The Clash).

Derek Boshier + Paul Gorman, Pop Music private view, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, June 22 2012.

//With Derek at last week’s private view for his show and Peter Blake’s Pop Music at Pallant House. Photo: Jason Hedges.//

Derek Boshier, Pop Music private view, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, June 22 2012.

//Boshier with Chemical Pop. Photo: Jason Hedges.//

Lodger sketches, Derek Boshier, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester.

//Sketches for Lodger, 1979. Derek Boshier: David Bowie And The Clash, Pallant House, June 23-October 7, 2012.//

Maquette for David Bowie stage set by Derek Boshier, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, June 22 2012.

//Maquette for David Bowie stage set, 1980s.//

In our chat we’ll also also be investigating Boshier’s influence on popular music via such work as 1962 painting Rethink/Re-entry (the titular inspiration for Roxy Music’s Remake/Remodel) and the 1972 conceptual book/installation 16 Situations, in which a perspex sculpture was placed in everyday circumstances (Hipgnosis’ cover for Led Zeppelin’s 1979 album Presence owes a debt to this).


//Rethink/Re-entry, 1962.//

Tickets  for the in-conversation are available here.

Listen to Boshier with Libby Purves and her other guests here.

And here is footage of Roxy Music performing Remake/Remodel at Boshier’s alma mater London’s Royal College Of Art in 1972:


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