36% of Bob Dylan’s songs published between 1961 and 1968 had biblical references, including his 1964 hit “The Times They Are A-Changin.'”
The book of Ecclesiastes has been a great inspiration on popular music including the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” by The Birds, the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon, and “Desperado,” the 1973 hit by The Eagles, among others.
Paul Simon once advised a young prospective lyricist to raid the Bible for memorable phrases. “Just steal them,” he said, “That’s what they’re there for.”
There’s no question that Scripture has influenced music since the first ever song was penned. In Turn! Turn! Turn! author and music connoisseur, Steve Turner, takes an in-depth look at the lyrics and cultural context of 100 of the greatest songs from the 1930s to today to reveal an often overlooked or ignored strand of influence in popular music — the Bible.
Indeed, some of the “greats” — including Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Bono, Johnny Cash, Sting, and others — have repeatedly returned to the Bible for such sustenance, as well as musical inspiration and a framework with which they can better understand themselves.
“I hope the book prompts, provokes, and intrigues as it reveals this often-hidden history,” writes Steve Turner. You’ll never listen to your favorite song or popular tune the same way again after discovering how the Bible has influenced music.
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