Rocker Sir Paul McCartney has defended John Lennon's controversial statement that THE Beatles were "bigger" than Jesus Christ, insisting his words were misinterpreted.

Lennon - who was assassinated in New York in December 1980 - unleashed his infamous comments during an interview with newspaper THE LONDON EVENING STANDARD in 1966, sparking outrage among religious groups.

But McCartney claims his bandmate's now legendary words were not an example of his arrogance - instead they reflected his concern for the decreasing number of church-goers in Britain.

He says, "Of course, John never meant to say that The Beatles were literally bigger than Christ.

"He was only referring to the lack of attendance in the church. He was actually taking a sympathetic point of view."

13/07/2004 20:53