et’s investigate the top 6 rock songs about God. Why is this interesting? Because the conservative right wing Christian circles often see Rock as a fluke-worm that endangers the morality of the youth. Let’s have an introspection about the approach of rock musicians to God.
6. Elvis Presley: Peace in the Valley
he first person on the list is Elvis Presley, who is certainly unavoidable. He is not black or white as nobody is on this list. But who is totally good or bad? Elvis also roamed a lot between the Eastern teachings and Christianity and properly dug himself into the topic.
He allegedly donated books on spiritual topics even to those girls who did not especially regard Elvis as the great truth-seeking man, though the sex symbol attracted them a lot, even into his bed.
Peace In The Valley is a real psalm, not only because of biblical references but will remain so because of its whole content. This is a stand next to the world peace and the search for inner peace with the images of the heavenly kingdom portrayed in the Old Testament.
Hungary is also an important aspect of the song. Since before this number Ed Sullivan, the showman spoke about the fact that Elvis organizes charity concerts and offerings, thus calling attention to the 1956 October Revolution and Hungarians in a difficult position.
5. Rolling Stones: Sympathy for the Devil
he British Rolling Stones initially had been a band of young guys. They were showing themselves as the counterpoint of the Beatles, who have symbolized the rebellion with their appearance.
Kids with long hair and in torn stuff, surrounded by screaming girls and drugs. Satanism has been stuck onto them in the early years and they said: super, all labels to me, fits me if you need it, I’ll be a Satanist, there you go, be shocked.
Anyway, if we are talking about divine roots, the famous flicking tongue logo was based on a representation of the Indian goddess Kali.
Sympathy for the Devil? Is that supposed to be divine? The Rolling Stones was made Satanist in the eyes of many Christians just because of this song inspired by Bulgakov’s and Baudelaire’s writings.
Yet Sympathy for the Devil does nothing apart from charging Lucifer with the cruelties and evilnesses committed on the Earth from Christ’s crucifixion through the wars until the assassination of the Kennedy brothers – recalling that all these could happen due to the excellent cooperation with mankind.
4. Patti Smith: Gloria
atti Smith, the cult figure of punk, the mother of the New York rock revolution in the seventies. She became famous with the song Because the Night – co-written with Bruce Springsteen – but she had to fight really hard for this publicity.
Everyone who wants to understand just a little bit the major musical and cultural change – which occurred in America in the seventies and spilled over to Europe – should read the autobiography “Just Kids” in which she writes down her love and friendship with the scandalous Robert Mapplethorpe. It gives an insight into the birth of New York’s punk and rock culture as well.
The song is an adaptation of Van Morrison’s Gloria from 1964 to Patti Smith’s own poem. At first you might think that she opposes the basic teachings of Christianity with the first line from Gloria, but the phrase has an entirely different meaning.
“I was twenty years old when he wrote this text. I believed in Jesus, but I did not want to be good. I wanted to be free. I just do not want him to worry because of me, so I took responsibility for all my naughtiness and juvenile errantry.”
After a stage accident almost ending with a tragedy (she fell from the stage while singing Gloria and seven of her vertebras broke), she completely re-evaluated her previous beliefs.
“I realized that Jesus was a true revolutionary, who made God available for everyone with the simple idea of loving one another and that we do not have to feel ourselves alone ever again.” And we might add that after forty years the punk rebel queen sometimes sings the song like this: “Jesus died for the sins of someone… Gloria!”
3. The Queen: Somebody to Love
reddie Mercury’s controversial personality is easily observable even by the more attentive music experts. The Queen frontman played a very clearly hedonistic, offensive and scandalous role on the stage, while in his personal life he was the follower of an ancient religion.
He was a great follower of Zoroastrianism – a belief system based on the Persian prophet, Zarathustra’s teachings, showing several common characteristics with Christianity and Judaism – since his childhood.
He was born in Zanzibar from Indian-Parsi parents. The family fled to England from the Muslim invasion. Freddie grew up here, keeping his faith until his death.
The gospel-like song inspired by Aretha Franklin is actually a musical perfection, it’s meticulously constructed sound is almost entirely based on the voice of the three singers.
This is a really good example of a song built on religious music and lyrics, technically speaking to God, though it is not about him. Psalm-like text, gospel melodies, precise structure, like a beautiful prayer, but it is not. Nonetheless, it is likable. But would the official representatives of religion agree on that?
2. U2: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For
hree of the four members of U2 have been on the tour bus in the early years and they really hated that rock stars had such bad reputation because of their religious songs. However, they had serious doubts about the compatibility of rock and roll and faith as well.
They managed to reconcile with themselves. Bono said that he was always interested in music, “which takes you to God or take you away from God.” Maybe the good Lord has discarded the classic roads to reach out and started to broadcast via the U2 songs? The Lord certainly works in mysterious ways and this would be a quite clever idea.
Bono speaks often of his own deep faith in God, but he never hid that his relationship with Jesus is rugged. His remark refers to this fact too that this song is rather the anthem of his doubt than faith.
This is a song of the man who fought for his own faith and was convinced thousands of times of God’s existence but restlessly is on his way waiting to stop someday. Maybe he knows that he will always search on this Earth and the finding won’t come in this life.
1. Joan Osborne – What If God Was One of Us
rogressives greet a strong hymn, the American religious right sees it as blasphemy. The controversy was certainly rewarding for Joan Osborne: the single was nominated seven times for Grammy Awards. It was sold three million copies, which propels the singer to a charming smile and golden curls, to stardom.
Sales of the album “Relish” (which contains the song) persist several years after its release and Joan Osborne manages its success with equanimity.
The song deals with several aspects of belief in God by inviting everyone to ask questions about their relationship with God. It’s the kind of song that can easily get stuck in your head thanks to its great melody. The title of the song comes from the refrain: “What if God Was One of Us?”