February 04, 2004
Chapters and verses

Father Jim Tucker is compiling a list of songs by mainstream popular music bands that "cite the Bible, Catholic liturgy, or other explicitly Judaeo-Christian sources." He has a nice starter list going.

Off the top of my head, I can think of Sting's Rock Steady, a retelling of the Noah's Ark story, and his Oh My God, which includes the line, "How can I turn the other cheek/It's black and bruised and torn." (It's a fine theodicy song, which somehow escaped my memory when I wrote this post.)

There's also Prince's weird apocalypse song 7, which includes some nods to Revelation: "And we will see a plague and a river of blood," "There will be a new city with streets of gold," etc. The latter image also appears in Creed's Higher. I imagine both of these musicians would be good sources for this kind of thing, though I don't know that many of their songs. (Does I Would Die 4 U count?)

Finally, Fr. Jim mentions a number of U2 songs, and I would refer to a great compendium of Bible references in their songs on a fan site. Some of them are a stretch (like the first one, for instance), but most of them are spot-on with the specific verses cited.

Posted by Camassia at February 04, 2004 01:24 PM | TrackBack

Bob Dylan had dozens of biblical references in his songs, even prior to composing his three albums of gospel music. How about: "God said to Abraham, Kill me a son/ Abe said, Man you must be putting me on!/God said, No! Abe said, What?/God said, You can do what you want, Abe/But the next time you see me comin', you'd better run!/Abe said, Where you want this killin' done?/God said, Out on Highway 61"
--Highway 61 Revisited

Posted by: Rob on February 5, 2004 07:06 AM

Dear Camassia,

Okay, not popular music--but it was the genesis of a megastar--Aphrodite's Child 666 (the beginnings of Vangelis)

And we mustn't forget the various biblical bystreams of Gensis "Foxtrot" and "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway," in particular. And "Trespass," dedicated to those who trespass against us.

There are others, I'm certain, but you can see I don't really do really popular stuff.



Posted by: Steven Riddle on February 5, 2004 10:12 AM

And Sting's "All This Time" which says:

Blessed are the poor, for they shall inherit the earth
Better to be poor than a fat man in the eye of a needle
And as these words were spoken I swear I hear
The old man laughing,
'What good is a used up world, and how could it be
worth having'

Also, Father Jim lists a lot of Indigo Girls songs. One of them (I forget which) is the daughter of a seminary professor. So no wonder there's all those biblical references in their songs!

Posted by: Jennifer on February 5, 2004 12:19 PM

Simon and Garfunkel had "Blessed" ("Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit. Blessed is the lamb whose blood flows. Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on. Oh Lord, why have you forsaken me.")

The musical "Little Shop of Horrors" had an entirely different use of the same scripture in "They say the meek shall inherit."

Posted by: Lynn Gazis-Sax on February 6, 2004 06:23 AM

Van Morrison - don't forget the man who did "Whenever God Shines His Light on Me"...
He heals the sick and heals the lame
among others. He also did "No Religion"...

Posted by: bethany on February 7, 2004 05:25 PM
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