Most Inspiring Rock Song Ever?

Last week, Kaimi made this Comment: “Possibly the greatest rock song of all time: Hotel california.” This was followed by a few expressions of incredulity, including this from cooper: “Hotel California??????? Ugh! Gross. Blech!” Kaimi defended his choice on grounds that the song had a great guitar solo, and he backed up his assertion with this ranking.

When I heard Hotel California on the radio today, it reminded me of this exchange and started me thinking. Rock music can be rated along various other dimensions: best vocal (should we just agree by acclamation that Bohemian Rhapsody wins this?), best drum solo (anything by Keith Moon), best rock ballad (hmm, “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd?), etc.

How about the most inspiring rock song ever?

What I have in mind is something you would use to teach your children the Gospel or something you like to hear when you are in a spiritual mood. Not Christian radio. Mainstream rock.

There are a lot of choices. Some favorites from my childhood include “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds (almost too easy, since the text comes straight from the Good Book), “You’ve Got a Friend” and “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor, and anything Dylan. As you can see, for me the songs in this category range from (almost) pretentious to sappy, and they tilt heavily towards folk rock. Tastes about such things are profoundly influenced by the contexts in which you heard the songs, and my tastes were formed in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

My top choice is pretty easy: “I Am a Rock,” by Paul Simon (sung with Art Garfunkel). I associate this song with my life before finding the Gospel. While some may find it depressing, I see hope in the speaker’s willingness to express his loneliness. In asserting his isolation (to whom?), he is reaching out. In those moments, God answers.

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December;
I am alone,
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,
Well I’ve heard the word before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.

26 comments for “Most Inspiring Rock Song Ever?

  1. Great idea, Gordon.

    As for me, there are some definite thoughts. Lots of songs by U2 are potential candidates — the most inspirational probably being Pride (In the Name of Love), but also One, Sunday Bloody Sunday (the “wipe your tears away” ending), Where the Streets Have no Name.

    I am a Rock is great, and other Simon and Garfunkel songs also come to mind — America, Homeward Bound, The Boxer, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

    Then there are the songs that make me want to be a better parent — The Living Years, or (especially) The Cat’s in the Cradle.

    However, I think my vote for most inspirational has to go to Indigo Girls, Closer to Fine. The words really express some of my own sentiments, about the ease of giving in to temptation, about the difficulty of finding unambiguous answers to life’s questions, about the inability of many avenues (education, substances) to ever answer those concerns, and about the need not to take life so seriously. The lyrics are:

    I’m trying to tell you something about my life
    Maybe give me insight between black and white
    And the best thing you’ve ever done for me
    Is to help me take my life less seriously
    It’s only life after all

    Well darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable
    And lightness has a call that’s hard to hear
    I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
    I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it
    I’m crawling on your shores

    I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
    I looked to the children, I drank from the fountains
    There’s more than one answer to these questions
    Pointing me in a crooked line
    And the less I seek my source for some definitive
    The closer I am to fine

    I went to see the doctor of philosophy
    With a poster of rasputin and a beard down to his knee
    He never did marry or see a b-grade movie
    He graded my performance, he said he could see through me
    I spent four years prostrate to the higher mind
    Got my paper and I was free

    Repeat Chorus

    I stopped by the bar at 3 a.m.
    To seek solace in a bottle or possibly a friend
    And I woke up with a headache like my head against a board
    Twice as cloudy as I’d been the night before
    And I went in seeking clarity.

    Repeat Chorus. End:
    Yeah we go to the doctor, we go to the mountains
    We look to the children, we drink from the fountains
    Yeah we go to the bible, we go through the workout
    We read up on revival and we stand up for the lookout
    There’s more than one answer to these questions
    Pointing me in a crooked line
    The less I seek my source for some definitive
    The closer I am to fine

  2. I’d have picked Hammer and Nail by Indigo Girls, but I can go with Closer I am to Fine.

    Their music has become a fixture in the repertoire I listen to.

  3. My choice is not rock in the classic sense. The artist I find most inspirational is Seal. All of his albums have songs about love, mercy, seeking understanding, and major spiritual overtones. His second self titled cd is probably my favorite with the likes of “Dreaming in Metaphors”, “Prayer for the Dying”, and “Newborn Friend”. These are songs about loving people in spite of flaws and trying to understand the world around us.

  4. Well… first we need to define Rock. While Simon and garfunkel were great folk singers and others wrote great songs, we have to exclude them because they really aren’t rock music.

    Most inspiring rock song? I would have to go with Rush:

    The Trees

    There is unrest in the forest,
    There is trouble with the trees,
    For the maples want more sunlight
    And the oaks ignore their pleas.

    The trouble with the maples,
    (And they’re quite convinced they’re right)
    They say the oaks are just too lofty
    And they grab up all the light.
    But the oaks can’t help their feelings
    If they like the way they’re made.
    And they wonder why the maples
    Can’t be happy in their shade.

    There is trouble in the forest,
    And the creatures all have fled,
    As the maples scream Oppression!
    And the oaks just shake their heads

    So the maples formed a union
    And demanded equal rights.
    The oaks are just too greedy;
    We will make them give us light.
    Now there’s no more oak oppression,
    For they passed a noble law,
    And the trees are all kept equal
    By hatchet, axe, and saw.

    I am a huge fan of Rush. Red Barchetta is another great song.

    Oh and by the way…the best guitar solo EVER was in Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd.

    I know what I’m talking about here guys. Let’s talk rock. What does everyone else like?

  5. greetings from boston. the 1st annual lds law conference at harvard went well.

    Note re: the Simon&Garfunkel ‘rock’ song.
    They lied.

    I Am an Island, because lyle = l’ile = french for island.
    sorry Simon. Sorry G.
    you got kaught.

  6. I’ve never thought of using a pop or rock song (or a jazz standard or a folk or blues tune or a musical number, for that matter) to teach the gospel–not to say that it’s impossible, but I suspect it wouldn’t match up with my own sensibility or pedagogical style. (Others will differ, of course. I had a seminary teacher, Kaimi, who played “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” for us on the first day of our study of the New Testament. She was a wonderful lady.) On my own though, I’ve put more than few rock and pop songs (vaguely defined) on the stereo over the years, in attempts to capture a “spiritual” feeling. However, perhaps going along with my quasi-Lutheran sensibility, the feelings I’m reaching for usually aren’t “highs,” but rather are meditative, melancholic, sobering, rueful “lows”: I feel closest to God when I feel small and humble, settled and placed, looking within rather than searching without, not moving but standing still. Consequently, the songs I’ve mostly choose are reflective, quiet and ironic (in the sense that they lyrically acknowledge their own limits, despite the music’s attempt to move beyond such). Some possibilities include Sarah McLachlan’s “Angel,” The Rolling Stones’ “Waiting on a Friend,” James Taylor’s “Carolina in My Mind,” REM’s “Nightswimming,” The Beatles’ “Let It Be,” Lyle Lovett’s, “If I Had a Boat,” or Nick Drake’s “Place to Be.” But ultimately, I think my choice for “most inspiring” would have to be Talking Heads’ “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody).” For in a sense we all need to be naive, I think.

    Home…is where I want to be
    Pick me up and turn me round
    I feel numb…born with a weak heart
    I guess I must be having fun
    The less we say about it the better
    Make it up as we go along
    Feet on the ground
    Head in the sky
    It’s ok I know nothing’s wrong…nothing

    Hi yo…I got plenty of time
    Hi yo…you got light in your eyes
    And you’re standing here beside me
    I love the passing of time
    Never for money
    Always for love
    Cover up and say goodnight…say goodnight

    Home…is where I want to be
    But I guess I’m already there
    I come home…she lifted up her wings
    Guess that this must be the place
    I can’t tell one from another
    Did I find you or you find me?
    There was a time
    Before we were born
    If someone asks this is where I’ll be…where I’ll be

    Hi yo…We drift in and out
    Hi yo…sing into my mouth
    Out of all those kinds of people
    You got a face with a view
    I’m just an animal
    Looking for a home
    Share the same space for a minute or two
    And you love me till my heart stops
    Love me till I’m dead
    Eyes that light up
    Eyes look through you
    Cover up the blank spots
    Hit me on the head…Hi yo

    P.S. Cooper–I’m not a huge Rush fan, though one of my best friends is, and my wife adored them when she was in high school, and so between the two of them I’ve listened to Rush plenty. And while I don’t any strong feeling for The Trees, I’m sure that we’d agree that Gordon’s identification of “best drum solo” with “anything by Keith Moon” simply proves that the man hasn’t ever listened to Neil Peart.

  7. A few other songs I thought of late in the process (but none of which would have changed my ultimate decisions):

    Scorpions – Winds of Change
    Alphaville – Forever Young (a song that makes me feel my mortality)
    Don MacLean – American Pie
    Queensryche – Silent Lucidity
    Styx – Come Sail Away
    Toad the Wet Sprocket – Walk on the Ocean

  8. Agree with Russell – Neil Peart is a far superior drummer with a musical feel than ole’ Keith Moon is or was. As far as my favourites go, “Time” by Pin k Floyd is my favourite. I am also inspired to CTR by the Beatles “Let it Be”

  9. If we want to introduce other artists and talk about modern post 50s style music a lot of what has been mentioned will fit.

    And yes, Russell Neil pert is way above the rest.

    Sid – Time, is excellent.

    Kaimi good choice with Queensryche and the Scorpions.

    I don’t mean to be condescending Gordon. It’s just that I grew up listening to my mom’s music and then moved on to the Calif beach scene (Beach Boys et al) in the sixth grade. Then came the Beatles and the rest is history. At 15 I went to see Jimi Hendrix in concert (yes I am old) and have seen a bunch of live concerts.

    I love music. If you want to talk just plain inspirational music of the modern generation I could name even more music than Rush. However, like Russell said, I look to this music to fill a mood. Inspiration maybe not. There are those writers that can always stir feelings such as James Taylor, Elton John, the entire album of Obscured By Clouds – Pink Floyd. On their album A Momentary Lapse of Reason, the song One Slip is excellent.

    Then there is Sarah McLauglin, Annie Lennox, Phil Collins the list could go on and on. And I have already used up my allotted time (and space). Possibly more later.

  10. coming soon to a DB near you:

    How to teach the gospel to your teen using their musik.

    or…maybe not. this thread is much easier with artists that we listen to…but could you do so with the newer artists of the day? i dont’ think i can….

  11. I remember the old thread and now this one… I’ve been holding back because people can easily get annoyed when I start talking rock music. But I’ll try and tone it down.

    I can’t help but mention the following unmentioned musicians/bands that shouldn’t be mentioned for the first time by someone born in ’79. Shame on you all! :-)

    Jethro Tull – Quite possibly the most underrated musician: Ian Anderson. The entire Benefit Album is killer along with most of their/his dozens of albums. Just by Ian Anderson’s sheer volume of incredibly good music, he should be mentioned both as the man behind Tull and for his solo career. He’s also incredible in concert.

    Randy Bachman? BTO? The Guess Who? Come on people, we’re Mormon here, and we haven’t said anything about Bachman? I think his best work was with the Guess Who, “No Sugar”, “American Woman”, etc.

    ELO (Electric Light Orchestra) – Generally blown off because of popular songs like Evil Woman which aren’t nearly as good as the rest of their work (I know, kind of cliché to say that the famous music of musicians isn’t their best, but we all love saying it)

    Kansas – they have some popular favorites, which resonate with some “Dust in the Wind” or “…Wayward Son”

    Boston – First three albums are great, when they released “Walk On” in the 90s… people stopped mentioning them.

    The Cure – This group takes the cake for best remixes and one of my personal all time favorites, “Love Song”.

    Three Dog Night… where to begin? I love their music: Never Been To Spain, Mamma Told Me Not To Come, Joy To The World, Old Fashioned Love Song, One, etc, etc.

    Now, I’ve purposely steered clear of 90s and beyond music to try and make my comment shorter (that didn’t work, sorry). But we can go there another time.

    BTW- Best guitar solo, drummer, etc.? Here’s my two cents.

    Kaimi, Joe Walsh of the Eagles did do well with Hotel California and also with his solo career, “Life’s been good…”, etc. But not the best.

    Cooper, David Gilmour’s solo on song number six of the second Wall cd is quite good, but I feel song number eleven (High Hopes) on the Division Bell is just as good. I know, no Roger Waters and some say it may as well not be Pink Floyd. But in any event, I can’t agree that Gilmour has the best solos. He’s up there, but not at the top. See my list below.

    About drummers… it’s hard for me to see how anything tops John Bonham’s solo in “Moby Dick”.

    Best Guitarists / Guitar Solo? So hard to say, but let’s not forget the following people when asking the question:

    Jimi Hendrix – already mentioned and generally considered the best
    Stevie Ray Vaughn – The Texas Flood album is amazing! Hard for anyone to tell me that he wasn’t the best in his life time. Just listen to his rendition of “Mary Had A Little Lamb”. If it were up to me, SRV would win the title.
    Eric Clapton – need I say more?
    Jimmy Page – kind of arrogant and not as good any more, but very good back in the day. Very creative, you know, with the whole violin bow on the guitar for “Kashmir”. People automatically give him more credit for that one.
    Van Halen – nimble with the fingers, he at least gets the prize for “fastest” solo
    Guns N Roses / Slash “Sweet Child of Mine”, “November Rain”, etc.

    One more BTW- Nice try, Gordon, with the “teaching your children the Gospel from main stream rock…” Maybe I listen to all the wrong music, but trying to find Gospel messages in any of it can be hard. But maybe that was what you were saying. I guess, though, that my father owning over a thousand CDs, more than half of which are rock from the 60s-80s, did create a rather unique/strong bond between the two of us. We’ve had some pretty good pseudo-FHEs with his music. Does that count? :-)

  12. You wanna talk music? The Sons of Mosiah are just the boyz for you!

    Taking Lyle’s suggestion, here’s the uplifting music of today that comes off the top of my head (okay, and my wife’s head). Others may be able to add some goodies.

    From the more mainstream/alternative category:

    Live – Heaven: talks about believing in God when he sees beautiful things like his daughter, the sunset, etc.

    Alanis Morissette – That I Would Be Good: it’s about being valuable no matter what — not just if you’re perfect on the outside. It seems like she has some others, too.

    Jewel – Hands, Life Uncommon: she has all sorts of good ones.

    We can also go hip hop/R&B.

    Nas has a song called “I can” that tries to tell kids they can be whatever they want when they grow up. Ashanti’s “Dreams” is along the same lines.

    There’s always Black Eyed Peas, “Where is the love?”

    Depending on where you put Christina Aguilera, she’s got “Beautiful,” which is about positive self-worth and -image.

    India Arie – practically anything, but here are some song titles of hers: “Strength, Courage, and Wisdom”, “I see God in You”, “God is Real”.

    Some others who are generally uplifting and inspirational are Josh Groban, Clay Aiken, and Howard Jones.

  13. Oh, to add to Bob’s 70’s list, how can we forget Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” for religious/inspirationl (okay, maybe not that doctrinal)?

    Also, some of my other favorite 70’s songs are:
    Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama, Freebird
    BTO – Taking Care of Business
    Aerosmith – Dream On, Sweet Emotion
    Steve Miller Band – The Joker
    The Who – Behind Blue Eyes

    Don’t even get me started on 80’s Buttrock/Hair Metal . . .

  14. I almost forgot a favorite, it’s in the CD player as we speak. Queen – The Miracle

    Every drop of rain that falls in Sahara Desert says it all
    It’s a miracle
    All God’s creations great and small, the Golden Gate and the Taj Mahal
    That’s a miracle
    Test tube babies being born, mothers, fathers dead and gone
    It’s a miracle
    We’re having a miracle on Earth, mother nature does it all for us
    The wonders of this world go on, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon
    Captain Cook and Cain and Abel, Jimi Hendrix to the Tower of Babel
    It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle
    The one thing we’re all waiting for, is peace on Earth – an end to war
    It’s a miracle we need – the miracle
    The miracle we’re all waiting for today
    If every leaf on every tree, could tell a story that would be a miracle
    If every child on every street, had clothes to wear and food to eat
    That’s a miracle
    If all God’s people could be free, to live in perfect harmony
    It’s a miracle, we’re having a miracle on Earth
    Mother nature does it all for us
    (the wonders of this world go on)
    Open hearts and surgery, Sunday mornings with a cup of tea
    Super powers always fighting
    But Mona Lisa just keeps on smiling
    It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle

    (The wonders of this world go on)
    Well it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle, it’s a miracle
    The one thing (the one thing)
    We’re all waiting for (we’re all waiting for)
    Is peace on Earth (peace on Earth) and an end to war (end to war)
    It’s a miracle we need, the miracle, the miracle
    Peace on Earth and end to war today
    That time will come one day you’ll see when we can all be friends
    That time will come one day you’ll see when we can all be friends
    That time will come one day you’ll see when we can all be friends
    That time will come one day you’ll see when we can all be friends
    That time will come

    This is an all time fav. The lyrics are nice.

    Bob – funny I saw most of those bands in concert don’t ask which ones I met). Three Dog Night played at a high school dance once Saturday in Carlsbad California. They were great.

    There are too many great bands to list. But remember we’re supposed to be talking inspirational. While I like all the bands mentioned so far and would add the likes of Nickel Creek, King Crimson, Aman Duul, Lincoln Park, OIngo Boingo and Bush.

    Not that we’d ever use any of this music to teacha gospel pricipal, but, what song do you play when you need to recenter yourself or just need to be removed from the chaos of the day? Can that be accomplished with this music? In it’s place, I think it can.

  15. Cooper-

    “funny I saw most of those bands in concert don’t ask which ones I met”

    That’s cool. I’d love to hear more, but maybe that would be taking this thread where others wouldn’t want it to go.

    BTW, Bush? Lincoln Park? I love quite a bit of music from both bands, but not to stereotype type here, but most people your age sort of plateau-ed in the 80s with their music interests. You obviously kept listening to what’s out there. Do explain.

    Logan, Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” was the first song I heard right after I opened my mission call. I’m totally going to use it to teach my children. :-)

  16. Sorry to nitpick, Bob and Cooper, but I think you mean “Linkin Park” (or am I the un-hipster who doesn’t know of some other similarly-named band?). ;->

  17. Logan:

    Thanks for the list.
    Maybe we should go into business? :)

    Also, I think there are alot of great songs that are called “bad”; but can be seen as “good” if interpreted “correctly”.

    e.g.: Smashmouth’s “I get knocked down again,” is in this light. While ostentiously a song about getting stone drunk and continuing to drink…I prefer to think of it as a “I refuse to be beaten by others or self” anthem.

  18. Lyle, the “I get knocked down again” song is “Tubthumping” by the British band Chumbawumba, not Smashmouth. It’s a song most or less written explicitly for the drunken hooligans who frequent football (that is, soccer) matches. Chumbawumba is a pretty serious anarchist band, so watch out; they’d likely torch your house if they heard you giving a nice, inspiration, bourgeois interpretation to their violent (yet admittedly rocking) song.

  19. oops. my bad. thanks Russell. So…the Smashmouth group does have a song too that would work…the one one the movie Shrek. Good values.

  20. Um… Lyle, you’re striking out here… That SmashMouth song was totally a remake of a classic Monkies song… I’m a Believer. Nice values, to be sure, but from the sixties. Hardly any credit should be given to SmashMouth.

    Come to think of it, there were a couple of SmashMouth songs done for Shrek, maybe you were thinking of another one… Ah, it’s just too easy to get off on a tangent.

  21. Lincoln Park, Linkin Park… Potato, Potato hee hee

    No really I knew it was wrong, but it was too late to ask anybody who really knew how it was spelled.

    Bob – I just love music. That’s why we’ve continued to listen. Musicianship is what we look for. That’s why you don’t see any of the garbage that dominates the airwaves on my posts. Also, my husband (who I started dating at 17) was in a progressive rock band when we met. Music is a very important part of our lives. Not just rock, country, classical, opera. Our daughters have the “cool parents” where music is concerned. Discipline. Well, just say we’re strict and conservative.

  22. Lots of good ones already mentioned. Here are a few others that pop to mind when I think of inspirational songs:

    Peter Gabriel: Don’t Give Up, Mercy Street, Washing of the Water, Here Comes the Flood, Blood of Eden, a few others — he seems to borrow a lot from religion/spirituality

    REM: Everybody Hurts

    Marvin Gaye: What’s Going On?

    John Lennon: Imagine

    Led Zeppelin: Bron-yr-aur, The Rain Song

    Pink Floyd: The Final Cut

  23. Favorite Inspirational Rock Songs: From the “born again” Bob Dylan–“I Believe in You,” “When He Returns,” “Solid Rock,” “Saving Grace,” “In the Summertime,” and “Every Grain of Sand.” (Runner ups from George Harrison–“My Sweet Lord,” “The Lord Loves the One (That Loves the Lord),” and “The Day the World Gets ‘Round.”)

    “I Believe in You”
    by Bob Dylan

    They ask me how I feel
    And if my love is real
    And how I know I’ll make it through.
    And they, they look at me and frown,
    They’d like to drive me from this town,
    They don’t want me around
    ‘Cause I believe in you.

    They show me to the door,
    They say don’t come back no more
    ‘Cause I don’t be like they’d like me to,
    And I walk out on my own
    A thousand miles from home
    But I don’t feel alone
    ‘Cause I believe in you.

    I believe in you even through the tears and the laughter,
    I believe in you even though we be apart.
    I believe in you even on the morning after.
    Oh, when the dawn is nearing
    Oh, when the night is disappearing
    Oh, this feeling is still here in my heart.

    Don’t let me drift too far,
    Keep me where you are
    Where I will always be renewed.
    And that which you’ve given me today
    Is worth more than I could pay
    And no matter what they say
    I believe in you.

    I believe in you when winter turn to summer,
    I believe in you when white turn to black,
    I believe in you even though I be outnumbered.
    Oh, though the earth may shake me
    Oh, though my friends forsake me
    Oh, even that couldn’t make me go back.

    Don’t let me change my heart,
    Keep me set apart
    From all the plans they do pursue.
    And I, I don’t mind the pain
    Don’t mind the driving rain
    I know I will sustain
    ‘Cause I believe in you.

  24. [Restoring Comments Inadvertently Lost in the WP transfer] :

    I just wanted to throw out there that our junior year seminary teacher used Pink Floyd examples ALL THE TIME. Most of us didn’t … well, never mind.
    Comment by: Meg at February 16, 2004 11:27 PM


    Fun post, Gordon. Rock really owes a lot to some of the explicitly devotional music it grew out of: country and soul. The genius of the early rockers (Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Johnny Cash) is that they took all the songs about God and salvation and transmogrified them into songs about girls and love. Sometimes the two themes (God and romantic love) are still closely intertwined, as in the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds.
    Anyway, I’m with Russell in that I usually find the “lows” rather than “highs” in music. What I love about good rock is the humanity on display, which usually isn’t inspiring in the way we usually use the term. My list would probably include songs by Lucinda Williams, Elliott Smith, Steve Earle, Velvet Underground, Wilco, Will Oldham, and Neil Young.
    But just to contribute something, here are some lyrics written by Woody Guthrie in the 40s, and put to music by Billy Bragg and Wilco a few years ago. The song always makes me smile and it seems especially appropriate during an election year.
    Christ for President
    Let’s have Christ for President.
    Let us have him for our King.
    Cast your vote for the Carpenter
    that you call the Nazarene.

    The only way we can ever beat
    these crooked politician men
    Is to run the money changers out of the temple
    And put the Carpenter in

    O It’s Jesus Christ our president
    God above our king
    With a job and a pension for young and old
    We will make hallelujah ring
    Every year we waste enough
    to feed the ones who starve
    We build our civilization up
    and we shoot it down with wars

    But with the Carpenter on the seat
    away up in the capital town
    The USA would be on the way — prosperity bound!
    Comment by: Greg Call at February 17, 2004 01:23 AM


    Oh wow… a post about music. I could go on for pages. I won’t though. First I’ll toss out my own all-time inspirational rock song, and I’m really suprised that with the number of Pink Floyd fans out there no one has mentioned it yet: “Wish You Were Here”. Can we say Isaiah? The song reminds me why I try so hard, and keeps my in line when I forget what to try hard for “Did you exchange, a walk on part in the war, the lead role in a cage?”.
    Other great inspirational bands include Rush “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice” and Kansas (“Carry on My Wayward Son”).
    And now to more recent music. A big one that hasn’t been mentioned yet is Collective Soul. The entire “disciplined breakdown” album is unbelievable. Third Eye Blind is also great, from their first CD. The song “God of Wine” means more to me then, well… it means a lot.
    And where you guys are all really missing out, and I don’t expect I’ll be able to convert anyone here is PUNK-ROCK! No, seriously, if there’s one genre of music that maintains a shred of respectability by not “selling out to the man” in recent times, it’s punk/emo/rock.
    Bad Religion has some great songs, even if his sentiments aren’t always the most Christian. My own very favorite band is Yellow Card, which also has very inspirational songs. Mainstream classics like Offspring’s “You Got to Keep ’em Seperated” and Pennywise with “Peaceful Day” and “Bro Hymn Tribute” are great (with good messages).
    And of course you can’t forget the Christian punk-rockers (and there are a ton). Switchfoot, an all-around mediocre band, had a recent hit with the chorus “we were meant to live for so much more” that’s really awesome. It really got to me.
    Here’s a quick “most inspirational” list (most inspirational meaning either songs that intellectually make me believe or that just plain make me want to DO WHAT’S RIGHT!)
    1. “Wish you were here” Pink Floyd
    2. “Mind of my own” Strung Out
    3. “God of Wine” Third Eye Blind
    4. “The World I Know” Collective Soul
    5. “Believe” Yellow Card
    And finally some very non-rock bands that are also great and recent. Speech (from Arrested Development) and Blackalicious (semi-underground hip-hop) are both very, very good.
    This post is too long for more lyrics. Within 15 minutes I’ll have them up here:
    Comment by: stormin at February 17, 2004 07:54 PM


    Hey stormin,
    I didn’t mention “Wish You Were Here” as “most inspirational, but I suggested it as “best rock ballad” in the original post. I should get credit for that … ;-)
    Nice comments, by the way. This is a fun thread.
    Comment by: Gordon Smith at February 17, 2004 08:10 PM


    Stormin, no need to convert me on punk rock. I absolutely love the genre. In fact, there were several years of my life when that was all that I listened to (with a bit of techno scattered in). While I tend to agree that most of these bands usually can claim to have “not sold out,” and that at least some of these songs contain lyrics with a decent message, I don’t know that I would call much of punk rock “spiritually uplifting.” Instead, most punk rock tends to be pretty irreverent (take Ministry’s Stigmata as just one example among thousands). Anyway, when I had kids, I decided I had to trade in most of this music at the local music store for some more, well, tame. I didn’t want to have to explain to them how it was fine for me to listen to this kind of music (much of it well over the line when it comes to language, etc.) but that it was not okay for them to watch Nickelodeon. Still, I always crank up the radio when the local college station happens to play Ministry . . . .
    Comment by: Randy at February 17, 2004 08:37 PM


    stormin, I’m interested in your interpretation of “Did you an exchange a walk on part in the war for a lead role in a cage?” My simplistic approach is that one refused to be a nameless soldier in a war and therefore became a well-known target for prison. This all depends on what war is intended and whether the exchange is a good or bad thing (martyr or rebel).
    Comment by: Matt J at February 17, 2004 08:38 PM


    Well, first of all I’m neither married nor a parent, so I guess that clears me on that account! Seriously, though, I tend to listen that I feel “enlightens” me in one way or another. This encompasses a broad range from the Tallis Scholars (renaissance devotional music) to the punk rock (and I like some techno to, by the way). I find a lot of punk rock that is really sincere, clean and very much on target with what I believe. More than in any other genre (although it has plenty of less-than-tasteful music as well).
    My plan is to play a lot less of it when my kids are young, but I want to have the music I loved around when they start to experiment with whatever new music is there when they grow up. Not to keep them from finding their own stuff, of course, but to show them something that I loved and that got me through hard times. So I try to refine my collection as I go to contain only music that I would *want* to be held accountable for! Just like I appreciated the music of my parents (and made it my own) I hope they will be able to incorporate my own tastes. And, of course, I will want to hear what they listen to (like my mum listens to Creed and Linkin Park as well as her own Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull).
    Well, given that the rest of the analogies always seem to be about exchanging something of value for something worthless (heaven vs. hell, blue skies vs. pain, heros vs. ghosts) I always understood that the “walk on part in the war” was basically a small part in the real battle while “the lead role in a cage” was nothing but a the trappings of importance. So, to make the metaphor really simple, you can either be just another decent person standing for what’s right in your own small way, or you can be some famous figurehead that seems important but is really utterly trivial.
    How often do we have the choice to quietly do what’s right, or to give up on that and just chase after fame and money?
    That’s the way that I see it.
    Comment by: stormin at February 17, 2004 09:31 PM


    “my mum listens to . . . Black Sabbath.”
    Wow. How do you rebel when Mom is blasting Sweet Leaf?
    Comment by: Greg Call at February 17, 2004 09:42 PM


    I think it explained the very short rebellious period. The futility was more obvious than usual I think! :-)
    And yes, my mum is the coolest ever. (and, much to the scandal of the sisters in the ward that know her music tastes, she is married to the bishop and she teaches Gospel Doctrine!)
    Comment by: stormin at February 18, 2004 12:35 AM


    Someone mentioned Johnny Cash. My favorite, and in my view rather inspirational, is Man in Black.
    Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
    Why you never see bright colors on my back,
    And why does my appearance seem to have a somber tone.
    Well, there’s a reason for the things that I have on.
    I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
    Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
    I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
    But is there because he’s a victim of the times.
    I wear the black for those who never read,
    Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
    About the road to happiness through love and charity,
    Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.
    Well, we’re doin’ mighty fine, I do suppose,
    In our streak of lightnin’ cars and fancy clothes,
    But just so we’re reminded of the ones who are held back,
    Up front there ought ‘a be a Man In Black.
    I wear it for the sick and lonely old,
    For the reckless ones whose bad trip left them cold,
    I wear the black in mournin’ for the lives that could have been,
    Each week we lose a hundred fine young men.
    And, I wear it for the thousands who have died,
    Believen’ that the Lord was on their side,
    I wear it for another hundred thousand who have died,
    Believen’ that we all were on their side.
    Well, there’s things that never will be right I know,
    And things need changin’ everywhere you go,
    But ’til we start to make a move to make a few things right,
    You’ll never see me wear a suit of white.
    Ah, I’d love to wear a rainbow every day,
    And tell the world that everything’s OK,
    But I’ll try to carry off a little darkness on my back,
    ‘Till things are brighter, I’m the Man In Black
    Comment by: Randy at February 18, 2004 10:23 AM


    Those lyrics are awesome, Randy. Now I just have to find a copy of the song so that I can listen to it.
    Comment by: stormin at February 18, 2004 10:46 AM

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