Top 20 Jesus Songs

December 19, 2008 | Music,Religion

Legends about a one-for-one swap of a soul for musical proficiency abound. (though the guy who plays the spoons and passes around a hat at the bus depot might’ve sold his for a ticket to Cleveland) Such is the extraordinary power of song that nobody, say, sells their soul to become taller and better looking.

Alleged soul vendor Niccolo Paganini first mastered the mandolin at age 5, and then, realizing he’d be doomed to tacky Italian wedding minstrelsy, quickly switched to violin (he also realized that if he sold his soul to master the mandolin, it’d be impossible to tell)

He then went from hitting all the right notes, to hitting the bottle so he decided to go into hiding for 3 years, hit the woodshed and come back ‘shredding’, a term you’d hear if you spent your afternoons in a guitar store (here are a few suggestions as to what songs should never favor the assembled as you try out new gear)

When he emerged, after fielding numerous questions about where he’d been in the intervening three years, his sick technique blew so many superstitious 18th century minds that it was thought he was possessed by the devil.

Robert Johnson, famously, was just some guy schlepping around a guitar until he met Lord Beelzebub at the crossroads. The horned one informed him that in the future they’d make a horrible movie of the same name about Johnson’s life, starring Ralph Macchio that was so loosely based upon it that a draw string pant would be required for viewing, and Johnson thought ‘there is no god’, and promptly offered up the barter. [Editor's note: This movie is not to be confused with 'Crossroads', starring Britney Spears, who might've sold her soul to the devil, but he welched on his end of the bargain to provide her with any musical talent whatsoever]

As far as we know though, nobody hocks their soul to Jesus Christ in exchange for raw musicality without reading the exchange policy fine print first, as local fire codes aren’t violated by guitars set aflame during performances of ‘Michael Row the Boat Ashore’ and Christian rock generally doesn’t.

Yes, the best rock music is certainly, to paraphrase Bart Simpson, associated with the devil.

However, the Prince of Peace has inspired quite a few ditties, which we figured we’d share here in the spirit of Christmas. So, break out your axe, crank it up to the cosmos (or if your amp allows, ’11′) and remember that he is the reason for the season. Here then, are our Top 20 ‘Jesus’ Songs.

20. Shine On Sweet Jesus  Flaming Lips

(and you Crazy Diamonds as well)

19. Rebel Jesus  Jackson Browne

A healthy dose of Christmas cynicism from Browne.

We guard our world with locks and guns
And we guard our fine possessions
And once a year when Christmas comes
We give to our relations

18. Jesus Hairdo  The Charlatans Important upkeep required, to prevent development of ‘unholy hair’.

17. Jesus Built my Hotrod  Ministry

“There was only one thing that I could do…ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long.” Truer sentiments have rarely been spoken, let alone sung.

16. Jesus of Suburbia   Green Day

“I read the graffiti in the bathroom stall, like the holy scriptures of a shopping mall”. The inspiration for Uncle John’s Bathroom reader?

15. Jesus Was a Capricorn  Kris Kristofferson

Jesus was a Capricorn
He ate organic food
He believed in love and peace
And never wore no shoes

14. Jesus the Missing Years    John Prine

Speaking of missing, there is no Youtube clip of this so if anyone out there knows Mr Prine or can do a capable version on acoustic, be sure and remedy this right away.

13. Jesus is Calling  Hank Williams Make sure you have call waiting.

12. I’m not Jesus  Ramones Though they both shared Jewish heritage, Joey Ramone has yet to be resurrected, giving credence to this song’s title.

11. Jesus  Queen What could be said about this that hasn’t already been said? Well, lots as not much has been said about this obscure song from the Queen canon and we’re not about to start now.

10. Jesus Just Left Chicago ZZ Top But as a sign of changing demographics in big US cities, ‘Jesus’ (pronounced ‘Hay-zeus’) moved right back.

9. Jesus is Just Alright with Me Doobie Brothers Not exactly a ringing endorsement here, but a cool song.

“How was the movie last night? “It was alright.” “Just alright?”

8. Property of Jesus Bob Dylan / Jesus was an Only Son Bruce Springsteen

“Go ahead and talk about him because he makes you doubt,
Because he has denied himself the things that you can’t live without.”

Studies show that only children are higher achieving, complete more years of education and have more prestigious jobs, like say ‘Son of God’.

7. Jesus Christ Pose  Soundgarden

A banging song, that almost makes you forget about Chris Cornell’s ill-advised take on a Michael Jackson classic.

6. Jesus Gonna be Here   Tom Waits

I got to keep my eyes open
So I can see my lord
I’m gonna watch the horizon
For a brand new Ford

Divine intervention might be required to get these rolling off the assembly line.

5. Jesus Wants me for a Sunbeam   The Vaselines

Satire of ‘I’ll be a Sunbeam’ hymn, famously covered by fans, Nirvana (the Vaselines song, not the hymn)

4. Jesus   Velvet Underground

Great song from one of the greatest bands of all time…

3. Jesus Walks   Kanye West

West famously donned a crown of thorns for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and an entire greenhouse-worth of the prickly fragrant plant was required to surround the circumference of his swelled head.

2. Personal Jesus   Depeche Mode

“Pick up the receiver, and I’ll make you a believer”.

It’s generally good office policy not to take personal calls at work, but where else can you find a land line as these are becoming increasingly obsolete?

1. Jesus Etc,  Wilco

The city of Chicago, not the band (see our Horrible Bands Named After Places list) represented in our first and third slots. This band also entered the Jesus song sweepstakes with the Woody Guthrie penned “Christ for President,” a theme that Sarah Palin later spun into a campaign for the vice-presidency.

We’re certain there are many, many others…These just happen to be our faves.

Almost made the cut:

Jesusland  Ben Folds
Jesus Wrote a Blank Check  Cake
Plastic Jesus   Billy Idol
Jesus Saves   Slayer
American Jesus  Bad Religion
Jesus Christ Was an Only Child   Modest Mouse
Black Jesus Tupac
Jesus Thinks you’re a Jerk  Zappa
Hard on for Jesus Dandy Warhols

Dishonorable mentions:

Rock ‘n’ Roll Jesus Kid Rock
If I was Jesus Toby Keith
Death to Jesus  Deicide Will clear out all sinus cavities. Trash compactors are more pleasing to the ear.

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Comments

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  1. “Wooden Jesus” by Temple of the Dog (combo of Soundgarden and pre-Pearl Jam members).
    “Coat hanger halos that don’t come cheap,
    from television preachers to living room sheep.”
    “I didn’t know this was the holy land,
    but I believed from the minute the check left my hand.”

    Reply

  2. No love for Would Jesus Wear a Rolex (On His Television Show)?

    Reply

  3. serioulsy? you missed out this one:

    “Are you drinking with me Jesus?” Jello Biafra with Mojo Nixon

    “I know you can walk on the water, but can you walk on this much beer”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff5FoGtAbro

    Reply

  4. “Jesus Had A Sweet Girlfriend” by Justice of the Unicorns. An offering to your canon from this year.

    Reply

  5. i believe i have the best Jesus song of all. no offense to the comments above me, but this is “heavy metal Jesus” by dream evil. it is a story about a valiant knight going to slay the dragon, and save the princess. while walking through the woods he meets Jesus, who bestows upon him the power of metal for which to slay the dragon. that is all.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CfmxE5-XiY

    Reply

  6. Drinking with Jesus – Red Elvises

    Booyeah!

    Reply

    • That God is faithful to turn our mouinrng into gladness. He can take this tragic experience and make beauty out of it by giving me understanding and compassion for others and teaching me to cherish my family on earth even more.

      Reply

  7. the christmas song by dmb

    its even about christmas.

    Reply

  8. Can’t believe you missed ‘When Jesus Left Birmingham’ by John Mellencamp

    Reply

  9. Jesus was way cool – King Missile

    Reply

  10. Another great Waits tune, “Chocolate Jesus”.

    Reply

  11. Another vote for King Missile — best band ever!

    Also, The Arrogant Worms, “Jesus Brother Bob”

    Cheers, Ted

    Reply

  12. Hm cool list, but Kanye is the best

    Reply

  13. Thank you Kanye West Free Ringtones (if that is indeed your real name).

    Despite his third place showing, he is welcome to come by and claim 1st prize anyway, as he’s wont to do, at least at music award shows.

    By the way, shouldn’t you be Martin Louis The King Jr Free Ringtones?

    Reply

  14. “She left me for Jesus” – Hayes Caryll.

    @monkeyhouse, I have “Are you drinking…” with Beat Farmers. Masterpiece.

    Reply

  15. Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAwo-F9CpVE&feature=related

    Reply

  16. where is my favorite: one toke over the line sweet jesus? brewer and shipley

    Reply

  17. oh man, 2 comments:
    1. TheDoobies “Jesus is just alright with me” is the ANTHEM of love for Jesus in 20th century modern time. HE truly walks with the Doobies every time that song is played.
    2. How can “drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life” have been overlooked? It was an early morning must-play after drinking until closing time at Steak n Egg Kitchen in Richmond VA.

    God Bless you all. Keep rocking!

    Reply

  18. Jesus is cooooooooooool.

    Reply

  19. JESUS IS GREAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT.

    Reply

  20. the one and only living god

    Reply

  21. plss i request for song of jesus christ

    Reply

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