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URL: http://geb.uni-giessen.de/geb/volltexte/1999/134/


Kontroversen christlicher Rockmusik

Controversies on Christian Rock Music. Problems and Analyses. Christian and Supposed Unchristian Aspects in the music and lyrics of Elvis Presley, The Byrds, Black Sabbath, Petra and others

Einbrodt, Ulrich Dieter


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Universität Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
Institut: Institut für Musikwissenschaft
Fachgebiet: Musikwissenschaft / Musikpädagogik
DDC-Sachgruppe: Musik
Dokumentart: Aufsatz
Sprache: Deutsch
Erstellungsjahr: 1999
Publikationsdatum: 09.12.1999
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: What has rock music to do with christianity or religion? Why should theology examine rock music? Is rock music always combined with unchristian, evil matters or might there be religious elements even in heavy metal?


The theologist Tillich explains that theology should deal with matters that concern us definitely. As popular lyrics of rock songs are about love, everyday problems, personal relations, nature, exploitation, dissatisfaction, unemployment, lack of money, war, spare time, hope, fun, sex and lots of other topics which surely concern all of us, rock music cannot be ignored by theologists.


Examples of popular music - pop, rock, hard rock and heavy metal - are given to show different approaches to religious themes. Sometimes the religious view is obvious, sometimes hidden. In gospel rock-songs the meaning is clear, but had most of 50s parents known that Elvis Presley, whom they found to be shocking in singing and moving, recorded many songs with candid, undeniable religious aspects? Many of the fans of The Byrds were unaware that their song 'Turn turn Turn' was directly taken out of the bible, and it should be mentioned that the Beatles´ lyrics contain elements worthy to think of, even for parsons.


The questions of loneliness, comfort and hope are not unknown topics for rock songs, no matter which musical style carries the message. The religious matter becomes more difficult when songs about evil or the devil itself are concerned. Might these songs pay homage or do they contain a warning? If so, how it is expressed?


Terms like 'Black Metal' and 'White Metal' are common among the Heavy Metal-Scene, but as the lyrics of the white part are more easily classified as purely of christian content, the black counterpart is prone to much dispute.
The article specifies the problems concerned with 'supposed' unchristian music styles and offers help for interpretation.