Why the devil has all the good music


My husband began a new hobby, starting yesterday. He’s looking up all of the contemporary Christian musicians that he can remember from our youth on YouTube. And you know what? Everything’s on YouTube. So our soundtrack for this week has been a dredgin’ up of all the classics:

“Two men walking up a hill, one disappears and one’s left standing still. I wish we’d all been ready” by Larry Norman. Which never failed to scare the crap out of me.

But then I could chase it with the reassuring “I’m only four feet eleven, but I’m goin’ to heaven, and that makes me feel ten feet tall” by Evie. Since I’m now a towering five foot one, I don’t think it’s legit for me to sing along, but how could I stop myself?

When I hit Junior High CCM evolved past these initial hits, and we had musicians of every genre: Petra, Michael W. Smith, Randy Stonehill, and there’s no forgetting America’s sweetheart, Amy Grant. I would go to the Bible bookstore and look at a sound-alike chart that said:

If you like Bon Jovi, you’ll love Stryper.

I was thick into Florida’s fundy culture in the seventies. I went to Joy Festivals at Disney World and Christian nights at the skating rink.

All the while, I was told that “secular” music was sinful, evil, and must be destroyed. As in burned. Nothing less than a towering inferno could keep America’s youth from the devil’s message (which could be clearly heard by playing the vinyl backwards).

Then there was this documentary (one that Brian hasn’t found on YouTube…yet), by Maranatha, which really pulled out all the stops. It’s a hazy memory for me, but for some reason I’m pretty sure it compared Gene Simmons from KISS to Hitler.

Well, if Larry Norman had not scared me completely, then this info piece definitely finished off the job. Satan was alive and well, and his minions were working through our FM.

I think I was in High School when I couldn’t handle CCM any longer, because you know what? If I want to listen to The Cure, then I don’t want to listen to The Choir. By then, I could tell, it really wasn’t the same thing.

And then, one day, it dawned on me: They scared my young, naïve self to death, so that they could get an industry off the ground. They were not concerned about Satan speaking through the lyrics of “Stairway to Heaven,” they just wanted me to buy their records.

And that was it. It was all about REM’s “Losing My Religion” after that.


9 thoughts on “Why the devil has all the good music

  1. Brian’s comment made me laugh out loud!
    Thanks for a great post and fun memories.
    I can tell I’m older, because I would have had to start with camp songs. It really DOES take a spark, you know, to get a fire going.

  2. I lip sync-ed a Ratt song at church camp in Nebraska cc 1984.

    Your post brought back a flood of memories; amy grant/mw smith concert, waiting for Brian as he took an hour to find a philip baily record at maranatha bookstore and discovering rem, U2, duran duran,etc.

    I did really like Petra, I must admit.

    I enjoy your postings.

  3. Brian, so that’s who taught you how to love. MWS. I owe him more than I thought!

    You’re right Ruth. The words are so true.

    Keith Green! I almost forgot about him. I don’t know how I could have. CCM’s very own martyr. Bamanna bread anyone?

    Lip syncing Ratt at a church camp? You are a brave man. B still takes an hour to pick out music. Thank God for iTunes.

  4. Scarrier than the Larry Norman song was the movie that went with it. I went to a Baptist school and we had to watch the fire-and-brimstone version of the movie at least once a year. I guess it is like a precursor to the Left Behind series.

    The DC Talk remake is pretty nice. Still a bit scre-it-into-you, but pretty nice anyway!

  5. Ahhh the memories! I remember when we were at Moody I decided not to go to a U2 concert out of fear that I would get “caught” going to a secular concert!

  6. Rob, I will never forget that movie. I still nighmares about that one.

    Linda, I have to say, thanks to Jesse (who paid) and a homeless guy named Mike (who stood in line), we were 5 rows back for the zoo tour. I went, without guilt, because the Moody officials were still convinced that Bono was a Christian at that point. Then came the album where they were caught cross-dressing in liner notes, and it was all over! They were going to hell for sure after that!

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