No, this isn’t the “royal we” I’m referring to. For today’s edition of MfM, the “we” I’m identifying is all of us. Because the songs that follow soared up the charts and had catholic, that is “universal,” appeal.
Because if somebody didn’t like them, it’s probably because somehow, they never heard them. Now this isn’t an exhaustive list, as that would probably be at least 500 songs long. But I’m willing to wager that these seven tunes resonate with you even to this day.
These are all pretty modern, as they span the years 1967 up through 1974, and yet they seem timeless. Give them a listen, along with the scripture verses they evoke for me and see if you can’t remember an episode in your life that these songs bring into focus for you.
Some are one-hit wonders, and others went triple Platinum. But they all went far because they spoke to us in a catholic (with a small “c”) way. First up, a song that put us on the edge of our seats…
Bobbie Gentry, Ode to Billie Joe. The year is 1967. The war in Vietnam is raging but news of friends and families and neighbors takes precedence. This “story” song comes along and everyone listened, because this is how our lives unfold too. Remember Matthew 24:2?
Then two shall be in the field: one shall be taken, and one shall be left.
Otis Redding, Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay. Is it just me, or do you also get a profound sense of peace when you look upon the ocean? Once again the words of a prophet come to mind (Amos 5:8),
Seek him that maketh Arcturus, and Orion, and that turneth darkness into morning, and that changeth day into night: that calleth the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.
Creedance Clearwater Revival, Proud Mary. It’s 1969 now and CCR rolls out this tune that becomes a huge hit across the country and world wide. Ike and Tina Turner sent it even further. The lyrics appeal to many and bring these words from the mouth of the LORD to mind (Isaiah 55:1),
All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price.
Blues Image, Ride Captain, Ride. Pretty much a one hit wonder in 1970, but covered by great bands like the Doobie Brothers too. This is the original though. The appeal? Listen to the lyrics and see if you don’t hear the reason the Christ came and why we spread the Good News (Isaiah 42:7),
To open the eyes of the blind, to bring out prisoners from confinement, and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.
Neil Diamond, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother. Live from a BBC concert in the year 1971. This song reminds me of Galatians 6:2,
Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.
Lynn Anderson, Rose Garden. Her monster hit from the year 1973. Bearing crosses and one another’s burdens is tough work. Nonetheless we aren’t called to be “sour-faced saints” either. This song is sort of like the whole book of Ecclesiastes in a song less than 3 minutes long. See Ecclesiastes 9:9,
Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest, all the days of thy unsteady life, which are given to thee under the sun, all the time of thy vanity: for this is thy portion in life, and in thy labor wherewith thou laborest under the sun.
Paul McCartney & Wings, Band on the Run. The Beatles broke up, but all of them went on to solo careers. This song by Paul came out in 1974, and climbed the charts like a rocket. I think it’s still going too, just like the Voyager spacecraft.
Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race, but only one wins the prize? Run so as to win. (1 Corinthians 9:24)
What comes to your mind when you hear these songs? Let us know in the commbox, and I’ll see you here next week.