Theme: How Do We Live In This Mess?
by Eugene Britnell
I cannot identify the author at this moment, but someone before me stated that if he could write the music of a nation he could control its morality and affect its destiny. I agree, for nothing more clearly reveals the mentality and morality of a people than the music they endorse and support. l feel that such reveals a serious problem in our society, and I’m pleased to write about it.
Beyond doubt, the most beautiful and meaningful music on earth is that which the Lord has ordained for His church-the blending of the voices of His people in gospel singing. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). For this study, we are concerned about other kinds of music and their influence on the minds and in the lives of people today.
Some twenty-five years ago, a music (?) was introduced into our society known as rock. It is my sincere conviction that this has done more to corrupt the minds and morals of today’s youth than any other thing on earth! Almost without exception, rock songs purvey a message of sex, drugs, immorality and rebellion. And the rock stars nearly always live what they sing. I have a large file of newspaper articles and other information concerning the leading rock stars and their involvement with dope, sex and crime. Elvis Presley did much to introduce rock and roll music, and he killed himself with drugs.
Many of us have difficulty in classifying rock as music. A hungry calf, a pig caught in a gate, and a billygoat on a tin roof could come close to producing the sounds of rock music—that is, if they could bellow, squeal and stomp with volume that could be heard for a mile. I have never been to a rock music show, and don’t plan to go, but I would like to give you a look at what goes on from one who did attend. I have before me an article from a church bulletin in Ft. Worth, Texas, by Dick Marcear, entitled, “I SAW SATAN IN ACTION; or what it is like to attend a rock concert.” We recognize the language necessary to present a vivid picture of what happened, and apologize if you find it offensive, but we must describe it as it is to get some people to see it for what it is. We now quote from the article:
“Rock concerts are not exactly my bag, Usually, you would expect to see them packed with kids, not a group of preachers. But because we were given free tickets by a group who wanted us to know what was going on, Bob Crass, Scottye Tarliff and I attended the KISS and PLASMATICS Concert at the Amarillo Civic Center on March 22. What we saw and heard literally made us sick, Look in on what we witnessed;
“1. A lady whose only clothes were small pieces of tape on her breasts and a ‘G-string] Her main song was called ‘— and Roll.’ With it she made an obscene gesture with her middle finger, She took a microphone and acted as if she were having sexual relations with it. She encouraged the audience to make the same gesture and join in the singing Many did. Then she took a good TV and smashed it with a sledgehammer. Then she cut up an electric guitar with a power saw.
“2. The couple in front of us drank two bottles of liquor and then smoked their dope openly, Dope was freely passed around in plain sight for anyone who wanted to smoke it.
“3. One person had lighter fluid sprayed on his back and someone set him afire. The lead singer for KISS said, ‘Now if you want to set yourself on fire that’s cool—only don’t do it to someone else. Anyone want to come up here and set themself afire and burn for us?’
“4. We went to the bathroom and the floor was covered with blood and a syringe was lying there where someone had shot himself with some type of dope,
“5. The man who was taking tickets recognized me and asked, ‘What in the world are you doing at a place like this? When I told him, he said, ‘Tell parents to not let their kids come to these things. They are terrible;” “If you think that rock concert was an exception, you are wrong, They are all that way, No decent person should attend one of them. And for the same reasons, parents should discourage the purchase and use of rock albums and tapes.
For many years country music presented a wholesome message and represented the heart of America. But no more! The majority of songs in so-called country music concern love triangles, adultery, profanity, drinking and broken homes. We can’t hear songs like “You Are My Sunshine,” “Home on the Range” and “Cool Water” on radio any more. Such songs can no longer be popular in a society of rotten rock, broken homes, intoxicated people, sexual revolution and general permissiveness. Other than a few stations which play the old songs, about the only clean music I know of is traditional bluegrass. The lyrics are clean, and no drugs, drinking or immodesty is allowed at bluegrass festivals. I saw the manager of one ask three men to leave for not having on shirts. Had it been a rock show, they could have stayed without their pants!
Regardless of what our favorite music may be, let us all work to keep music a clean and wholesome entertainment
CHRISTIANITY MAGAZINE FEBRUARY, 1984