Happy Monday! I’m thrilled because I’m meeting my blogging goal—I’ve published an entry every week this month! I’ve actually been busier than ever—I just completed a piece on Left Eye for Sister 2 Sister magazine—but I’ve managed to stay on task!
So, let’s get into this week’s topic, starting with a highly-cited, quote from Bono:
“Great music is written by people who are either running toward or away from God.”
I personally think that is spot-on. I’ve found that the concept of God shows up in the music of the greats, whether they are honoring a specific faith, or searching for life’s answers. In a past blog entry, I mentioned that researching other popular artists with spiritual journeys was on my to-do list. That project has been on my mind lately, so I thought I’d share the artists whom I plan to study:
- Little Richard: The rock ‘n’ roll pioneer has struggled between the secular and sacred his whole career. He even went into the ministry at one point. His story was portrayed by actor Leon in a made-for-TV movie, but I didn’t care for it. I’ll stick with the biography.
Planned read: The Life and Times of Little Richard by Charles White
- Al Green: I think it’s pretty much common knowledge that the R&B icon became a pastor and ventured into gospel music.
Planned read: Take Me to the River: An Autobiography by Al Green and Davin Seay.
- Marvin Gaye: I knew that the Motown superstar was brought up in a religious household—his father, who ultimately took his son’s life, was a minister—but I never really took the time to read about his spiritual struggles.
Planned read: Divided Soul: the Life of Marvin Gaye by David Ritz
- Bob Dylan: I’m still confused about this, but apparently Bob Dylan was, at one point, a born-again Christian, and the period is documented by two albums, “Slow Train Coming” and “Saved.”
Planned read: Chronicles: Volume One by Bob Dylan
- Stevie Wonder: I have been listening to the Motown legend’s “Fulfillingness First Finale” album since I was a kid, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I learned that the album followed the artist’s near-fatal car crash. While I can’t necessarily classify Wonder as “born-again,”—I haven’t heard him exalt Christianity—it definitely seems as if he experienced a spiritual transformation (listen to “They Won’t Go When I Go” and “Heaven is Ten Zillion Light Years Away”).
Planned read: Sign, Sealed, and Delivered: the Soulful Journey of Stevie Wonder by Mark Ribowsky.
I’m already excited about the parallels that I already see between Prince and the artists above in terms of spiritual journeys.
What other artists would you add to the list?