Religion in Rock Music

In looking at secular 'rock and roll' music (not the specific gospel, spiritual, or contemporary Christian music {CCM}) one can glean many prophetic, comforting, and other elements that can show influences from the songwriters' lives. Country music already had its Hank Williams' This Little Light now we will investigate Rock.

Elvis Presley's three grammies were from the Gospel genre, of which he made 50 recordings, but some became crossover. Crying in the Chapel was probably his best known, maybe popular because it was safe, non-denominational.

Even Buddy Holly's That'll Be the Day (I die) has overtones. And Jimi Hendrix, albeit 10 years later, talked of dying,(if "6 was 9") And the Gods Made Love (Electric Ladyland; he had some quasi-Hindu illustration on his Axis Bold as Love> album cover, with him included as one of this Vedic Pantheon Norman Greenbaum gave us hope with Spirit in the Sky, and Jesse Colin Young with his Youngbloods looked forward to "...when the One Who left us here, comes for us at last.." in "Get Together" "...try to love one another right now... ." Don't forget that crossover song, One Day at a Time (Sweet Jesus}

Barry McGuire sang Eve of Destruction while he was a protest singer, and ironically, now he performs Christian music exclusively. That hit song was a cynical look at modern, callous industrial society...and a warning. There was another song: 2525, "...will man survive?." (You can hear the song on Cleopatra 2525.)

Eric Clapton sang Presence of the Lord with Stevie Winwood in Blind Faith. "Though I don't have . Other musicians that later did gospel:

Some actually went back to popular music...the bills got to be paid:

The group, Ocean, did a song:

Put Your Hand in the Hand (of the Man Who walked the water, put your hand in the hand from the Man from Galilee; take a look at yourself, and you will look at others differently.")

Kris Kristofferson wrote Help Me, Jesus it crossed over to some hymnbooks! And Janis Joplin, who did Kris' Me and Bobby McGee, had a beautiful song on her Got Them Kozmic Blues album: Work Me Lord.

Now for other theological bents we had the one who wrote Jacknife Gypsy," Cat Stevens eventually become a Muslim. And, of course, many have heard George Harrison with the Beatles and solo: (My Sweet Lord { he designates this Lord as Hare Krishna})--even though he sings 'Halelluia" ([Hebrew} for {Praise the Lord} {Jah}). Sued by the Chiffons for being to close to He's So Fine.

Hey Jude by the Beatles, was alleged, in error, to be singing to the patron saint of junkies (but, actually refers to Julian Lennon.) Let it Be, and whose "Mother Mary is not the Lord's Mother, but Paul McCartney's.

David Bowie on his Golden Years release sang Word on a Wing,"and what millenium could he envisioned where, ..."nothing's gonna touch you in those Golden Years."

Bob Dylan has to be considered the most prolific of this kind of writing (and this is not even considering his three blatant Christian albums.} On his first album titled with his name, Dyan sings: "Jesus' gonna make up my dyin' bed". Who could not forget the burning lines in Masters of War where Jesus could not forgive what they did (Weapon manufacturers setting back, watching, hiding in their mansions while death and fear are produced). And we are asked whether Judas Iscariot had 'God on his side." We are informed of Maggie's Ma, "the brains" of Maggies' Farm telling the servants of "man and God and law" Look at the references in "Gates of Eden," and the "flesh colored Christs" in "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)."

Iron Butterfly had In Da Ga Da Vida the drunken tongues translation 'in the Garden of Eden.' And Led Zeppelin gave us a Stairway to Heaven.

There are too many songs referring to angels, devils, Heaven and Hell for bandwidth to handle, by the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Judas Priest, and all the Mega Heavy Gothic Rockers. Perhaps we can codify all the lyrics like all classical writings, e.g. the Bible, Shakespeare, Homer and so many other varieties catalogged.

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