Tuesday, February 16, 2016

One Contemporary Christian Song I think is Great

I know this is a bit off topic for American Creation, but I couldn't resist a follow up to this post. Lead songwriter of Kansas, Kerry Livgren, became a born again evangelical Christian of the fundamentalist stripe. He was always on a spiritual search in his music. He found what he was looking for. I think his music was better in  the prior period, before he converted.

Steve Walsh, vocalist for Kansas, when he was in his prime I think was the greatest rock singer ever, up there with Freddy Mercury, Paul Rogers and anyone else you can name. Walsh's lyrics sometimes have a spiritual, arguably Christian component to them. But he was never a fundamentalist Christian. So when Livgren starting writing lyrics which intimated that you have to either accept Jesus or go to Hell, Walsh quit the band and was replaced by born-again John Elefante (who sometimes plays with Jay Sekulow).

The late Ronnie James Dio was one of those great vocalists to whom Steve Walsh compares. Dio was a lifelong atheist whose lyrics often dealt with the occult (which Dio believed metaphysical fictions, but more traditional believers might think really has something to do with a "dark side" that actually exists).

So when Kerry Livgren did his first solo album as a born-again Christian he hired Ronnie James Dio to sing a song about "who Satan really is" in part because he thought the irony delicious.

 I for one think it's a great tune.

But while Kansas were on tour (their last one before Walsh quit), they performed the song as well. So we can compare Ronnie's version with Steve's.

It's hard to decide which version I like better. But if it's Steve Walsh in his prime, I would prefer it to anyone else's. And even though I am not and never will be a "Christian fundamentalist" I think the lyrics are very compelling.

1 comment:

Tom Van Dyke said...

And even though I am not and never will be a "Christian fundamentalist"

Never say never. ;-)