When we think of Scriptures influencing popular music, one obvious example is “Turn, Turn, Turn.”
Made popular by 60s rock band The Byrds, the song was originally adapted to music by Pete Seeger in 1959. The song is a rendition of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, with the only original words included being: “I swear it’s not too late” and “turn, turn, turn.” Seeger felt that since his addition to the original “lyrics” was minimal, some of the money made by the song should go back to the original source—a difficult feat, considering the words were written several millennia ago. As he explained to Acoustic Guitar magazine in 2002: “Why not send [the royalties] to where the words were originally written?” Therefore, Seeger donates 45% of the royalties to the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, a non-profit organization that prevents the destruction of the West Bank and Jerusalem using non-violent means
Another example of the Bible’s influence on popular music is the Staples Singers 1972 hit song “I’ll take you there.”
While not based on a specific Scripture, the song is rooted in the hope exclaimed in the Bible. The song’s brief lyrics talk about a place where “…ain’t nobody crying” and “ain’t nobody worrying.” This is similar to Revelations 21:4 where heaven is described as a place where “. . .there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
No doubt, there are many more songs based on Scriptures. What other popular songs do you know of that are clearly influenced by the Bible?
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