Gods and Guitars: Seeking the Sacred in Post-1960s Popular Music

Gods and Guitars: Seeking the Sacred in Post-1960s Popular Music

by Michael J. Gilmour
     
 

Though American attitudes toward religion changed dramatically during the 1960s, interest in spirituality itself never diminished. If we listen closely, Michael Gilmour contends, we can hear an extensive religious vocabulary in the popular music of the decades that followed—articulating each generation's spiritual quest, a yearning for social justice, and the

Overview

Though American attitudes toward religion changed dramatically during the 1960s, interest in spirituality itself never diminished. If we listen closely, Michael Gilmour contends, we can hear an extensive religious vocabulary in the popular music of the decades that followed—articulating each generation's spiritual quest, a yearning for social justice, and the emotional highs of love and sex.

Probing the lyrical canons of seminal artists including Cat Stevens, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, U2, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, Madonna, and Kanye West, Gilmour considers the ways—and reasons why—pop music's secular poets and prophets adopted religious phrases, motifs, and sacred texts.

Baylor University Press

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"With analysis that throbs with rhythm and passion, Gilmour demonstrates why rock 'n' roll is the sacred text of postmodern spirituality."

--Stephen H. Webb, Professor of Religion and Philosophy, Wabash College

"A fascinating caress and collision of rock music and Scriptures that displays a huge library of theological and art wisdom."

--Steve Stockman, author of Walk On: The Spiritual Journey Of U2 and The Rock Cries Out: Discovering Eternal Truth in Unlikely Music

Publishers Weekly
What do Salman Rushdie and literary criticism have to do with rock music? For Gilmour (Call Me the Seeker: Listening to Religion in Popular Music), these things are very much related. The author believes that song lyrics can sometimes stand on their own apart from music, and moreover, they can reveal something about an artist’s religious and spiritual views. This may not appear at first to be an enlightened perspective, but the author’s artful use of Rushdie’s fiction clearly shows how it is possible. The usual suspects in the religion and rock conversation (U2, Springsteen) are not as prominent, leaving room for more obscure but equally vital musicians like Daniel Lanois and Burton Cummings. Especially constructive is the chapter “Outrageous Religion,” about the influence of sexuality and the occult on some styles of rock music, such as heavy metal. The author also ventures into Hindu and Muslim influences on rock music, a foray that few scholars have attempted. His treatment enriches the dialogue between religion and rock well beyond the usual Judeo-Christian interpretations. Tune in, read on and enjoy. (Nov.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781602581395
Publisher:
Baylor University Press
Publication date:
11/15/2009
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
180
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

Steve Stockman

A fascinating caress and collision of rock music and Scriptures that displays a huge library of theological and art wisdom.

Stephen H. Webb

With analysis that throbs with rhythm and passion, Gilmour demonstrates why rock 'n' roll is the sacred text of postmodern spirituality.

Meet the Author

Michael J. Gilmour is the author of Call Me the Seeker: Listening to Religion in Popular Music and Tangled Up in the Bible: Bob Dylan and Scripture. He lives in Manitoba, Canada, where he serves on the faculty of Providence College.

Baylor University Press

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >