Fab Four’s friend lives by different tune

Music veteran to tell of his long journey from Beatles to Jesus Christ
The Tennessean, May 3, 2003
http://www.tennessean.com/
By BRIAN LEWIS, Staff Writer

Ken Mansfield, a 30-year veteran of the music industry and close friend of the Beatles, has lived a life of extremes.

When Mansfield was working in the music industry, he lived a lifestyle filled with parties, drugs and decadence. He was a record company executive who worked closely with the Fab Four when they were in the states.

Nowadays, his lifestyle fits at the other end of the spectrum, he said, filled with the peace and serenity of knowing Jesus Christ.

Mansfield, a Californian, will speak at 6 p.m. Sunday at Woodmont Hills Church of Christ, 3710 Franklin Road, about his spiritual journey and his work with the Beatles. Mansfield will show a 20-minute video about himself and the Beatles, give a brief testimony and then answer questions from the audience.

There will be something for everyone, he said, Christians and folks who are just Beatles fans with no interest in faith.

”The reaction that I get is it’s kind of cool,” he said. ”Nobody’s trying to ram anything down their throats. They see what happened in my life. It’s kind of cool.”

In addition to the Beatles, Mansfield worked with other legendary musicians such as the Beach Boys and Judy Garland and outlaw-era country stars such as Waylon Jennings and Jessi Coulter.

Nashville is special to Mansfield because this is where he met his wife, Connie, the woman who led him to Christianity.

The couple met in 1984 at the old Music Row-area hangout Maude’s Courtyard restaurant. In the beginning, Mansfield said, he wasn’t the most eager convert.

”I was totally into the New Age thing and I was pretty happy with that,” he said.

”We had a problem with a conversation, the difference between ‘the way’ and ‘a way.’ ”

Mansfield thought Jesus was a way to heaven; his future wife said Jesus was the only way. Ultimately, he said, she won the argument.

”She said if she had to make a choice between Jesus and me, it was going to be Jesus,” Mansfield said. ”That spoke to me.”

When they lived in town, the Mansfields attended Bethel Chapel, now known as Bethel World Outreach Center at Granny White Pike and Old Hickory Boulevard.

Pat Flynn of CrossTrainers, the ministry that invited Mansfield to speak at the church, said he’s excited about the presentation.

”He has a pretty amazing story to tell, and for a whole generation of people and more who were galvanized by the Beatles, this will be an opportunity to connect Christianity with real life,” he said.

Mansfield wrote a book called The Beatles, the Bible and Bodega Bay and he’s gotten e-mails and letters from pastors saying, ”Thank you for delivering me. I can be a Beatles fan and a Christian, too.”

As for the Beatles themselves, Mansfield said, they never picked up religion, except for George Harrison, who followed the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Of course, there was the other statement often associated with the Beatles and religion when John Lennon said the British group was bigger than Jesus.

”John Lennon was basically saying there’s a problem with today’s youth, that they’re worshipping us,” Mansfield said. ”That’s not right, it’s not appropriate.”

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