Top 20 Jesus Songs
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.
(and you Crazy Diamonds as well)
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’.
“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.
“I read the graffiti in the bathroom stall, like the holy scriptures of a shopping mall”. The inspiration for Uncle John’s Bathroom reader?
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’.
A banging song, that almost makes you forget about Chris Cornell’s ill-advised take on a Michael Jackson classic.
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.
Satire of ‘I’ll be a Sunbeam’ hymn, famously covered by fans, Nirvana (the Vaselines song, not the hymn)
Great song from one of the greatest bands of all time…
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.
“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?
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
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.