God in songs?
by Walter Price
Over the years I have conducted countless interviews, mostly as a radio DJ and syndicated radio show music segment host and more often than not, I conducted these interviews in person. This has allowed me to meet some amazing artists from all genres of music. From Glenn Campbell and Danzig to Bo Diddley and Lemmy and endless other famous and up and comers in between. What my in-person interviews almost always got around to was the question, “What are songs about?”
I had always assumed, and been told in these interviews, that love and God (religion/faith) were the number one and two topics for any songwriter. Maybe not directly but both are at the core of most songs. It just so happened that I recently stumbled upon this article from 2014 by Claire Hannum at The Frisky that spoke about a study of 50 years of #1 Billboard song themes (January 1960 to December 2009) conducted by North Carolina State University.
Now, I was a bit surprised and then not so much about the 10 most utilized ‘themes’. There are foundations and subsequent thoughts about love in the Top 10 but what confused me was the lack of God anyplace in the list. But these are Pop songs for the most part these researchers studied, so maybe God only lives in rock n roll and in the angst of the soul stretched singer/songwriter. I suppose ‘inspiration’ can include God and faith but the topic seems a little broad for my liking.
All in all, interesting research but I thought let’s look at some songs about God and see what happens…
XTC – “Dear God”
ALBUM. Skylarking (1986)
Adele — “Make You Feel My Love”
ALBUM: 19 (2008)
U2 – “Gloria”
ALBUM: October (1981)
Matisyahu – “King Without A Crown”
ALBUM. Shale Off the dust…Arise (2004)
Slayer – “Disciple”
ALBUM. God Hates Us All (2001)