Jesus Goes Mainstream II (Music for Mondays)

"Jesus Christ and the rich young man," Heinrich Hoffman.

“Jesus Christ and the rich young man,” Heinrich Hoffman.

One week down, and 6 weeks to go before Pentecost. I’m still exploring Jesus in mainstream culture through song. Last week, I took us from the late 1960′s up until the early 1980′s.

This week, I dip back into the 1970′s briefly before vaulting back up into the Eighties and Nineties again before getting a toehold in the 2000′s. And all of these songs are well known and I would wager that most of you remember them.

First up is one of my favorite classic rock tunes that I forgot to share last week. See? There are more songs that reference Our Lord in the mainstream than even I can keep track of!

ZZ Top (1973), Jesus Just Left Chicago. From their album, Tres Hombres, I forgot this one from the 1970′s last week. I always liked this song too. The idea of Jesus riding a bus from Chicago to New Orleans is cool, not to mention realistic. And with beards like these, the band might be mistaken for monks from Mt. Athos (smile).

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John Cougar Mellencamp (1985), Small Town. What can I say? I like small towns, especially when I was “taught to fear Jesus, in this small town…”

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Mr. Mister (1985) Kyrie Eleison A reader suggested this one. What ever happened to these guys? They had a monster hit album in 1985 and then…poof! I didn’t even know that this meant “Lord, have mercy” until I became a Catholic—but I always liked this song. Hey, lookee! A live performance,

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U2 (1987), When Love Comes to Town. Remember what I said about U2 last week? They’re an undercover gospel band. This is from their live album Rattle and Hum released in 1988. Performed the first time in 1987 with special guest, and blues legend, B.B. King.

I was there when they crucified my Lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword
I threw the dice when they pierced his side
But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide

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Lenny Kravitz (1993), Are You Gonna Go My Way. Lenny Kravitz singing as Christ. See if you can see any resemblance. The original video has imagery to help, but it can’t be embedded here. But live is better anyway.

I was born long ago
I am the chosen, I’m the one
I have come to save the day
And I won’t leave until I’m done

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Carrie Underwood (2005), Jesus Take the Wheel. I never watch American Idol, because I live under a rock. But I can get twangy with the best of ‘em, and this is one of the best I’ve heard in a while.

Jesus, take the wheel
Take it from my hands
Cause I can’t do this on my own

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I wonder what I’ll dig up next week? Maybe I’ll head back to the Enlightenment era to see what I can find. See you here next week.

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  • wdomburg

    Off the top of my head:"Quality of Mercy" – Michelle ShockedDid not I crucify my Lord?Did not I bind Him in chains?Did not I three times betray Him?Three times deny His name?Did not I cast the first stone?Then justify the blame?Did not He die for my sins,But never would I do the same?Oh I've been three times a sinner.And two times a saint.And the quality of mercy is not strained.(A good pick for not-quite-mainstream, but not-quite obscure.)"Suzanne" – Leonard CohenAnd Jesus was a sailorWhen he walked upon the waterAnd he spent a long time watchingFrom his lonely wooden towerAnd when he knew for certainOnly drowning men could see himHe said "All men will be sailors thenUntil the sea shall free them"But he himself was brokenLong before the sky would openForsaken, almost humanHe sank beneath your wisdom like a stoneAnd you want to travel with himAnd you want to travel blindAnd you think maybe you'll trust himFor he's touched your perfect body with his mind.(Another candidate might be "If it Be Your Will", depending on interpretation.)"Jesus is Love" – The CommodoresAnd I know the TruthAnd His words will be our salvationLift up our heartsTo be thankful and gladThat Jesus is loveHe won't let you downAnd I know He's mineDeep down in my soul(Jesus is love, but is he a BRICK. HOUSE?)

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this series of posts on music. I'm really enjoying hearing some old favorites and some I've never heard. I'm coming to this a little late, but I just found the Classical Music edition, so I've been working my way backward. You could do a whole series of posts on U2 alone, but I thought I'd share a favorite from their most recent album (No Line on the Horizon). It's called "White as Snow" and my favorite line is:Once I knew there was a love divineThen came a time I thought it knew me notWho can forgive forgiveness where forgiveness is notOnly the lamb as white as snowHaunting, beautiful song.

  • Frank

    As time goes on, Bono's (and the bands')Christian voice rings clearer. Have you heard Seal II?

  • Anonymous

    I know a couple of the songs. I look forward to listening to the others. Thanks for sharing!Heidi