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Top 20 classic hymns covered by rock musicians

Rock was born, grows and is still reproduced today as an alternative form of liturgy to the liturgy of Christian churches. We only have to see the religious settings of groups like Ghost, Sunn O))) or Hell. Many are scared when approaching a rock concert because, as in a Christian church, its intention is also that it be an exclusive experience of a group of people. If you don′t like what others do at a rock concert, you are more than invited not to return! Rock is not like pop, electronic, or classical music. Rock requires of its audience a way of life, a commitment without which you annoy others. Rock and church protect the communion of their members with a very similar passion, despite everything they have reproached each other for throughout history.

Article by Pablo Fernández from Barcelona on Wednesday, December 22nd 2021 ·.·★ Reading takes 33 minutes or 6692 words.


The three Young brothers, founders of the now multi-million dollar AC / DC group, were originally young entrepreneurs with a markedly entrepreneurial mindset. His artistic inspiration, however, drank directly from blues musicians, who in turn drank directly from the African-American churches of the early 20th century. It is no coincidence that Bon Scott was hired as a vocalist in 1974. Bon Scott was enormously talented, but also at twenty-eight years old, a criminal record on par with what is expected of a blues musician at sixty. He struggled and carried his notebook with notes to the songs everywhere but sometimes he just disappeared for several days.

Overture! The Christian liturgy in the history of rock

When AC / DC locks itself up in Albert′s central Sydney studios to record what will become ′Let There Be Rock (1977), the musicians are sunk and on the verge of ending a career that had barely lasted three albums. The sweet and pleasant songs of Chicago, Eagles or Fleetwood Mac that dominated the charts around the world then, were light years away from what they wanted to do. Headlines featured a ridiculous Bon Scott claiming that they would soon make so much money that he could fuck Rod Stewart′s then-girlfriend. The group′s calls were barely enough to fill half the rooms and the last straw had been the call with which they had been fired by their record label Atlantic Records.

They had just one or two weeks of study to record an album that would regain the confidence of the industry, the press and finally the audience that had already abandoned them. Reinventing itself is not easy and the path the group took was precisely the most difficult of all. Worried, indignant and enraged, what they did was to further brutalize their sound and attitude, distancing themselves even further from the reference they had been given. The song that gives the album its title is to this day the song with which they close all their concerts. ′Let There Be Rock′ is actually the overture of a sermon, where the preacher practically dispenses with any help from the musicians to explain what is the foundation of all things:

In the beginning, going back to 1955.
The man did not know the spectacle of rock n roll and all that movement.
Whites had Schmatz, blacks had blues.
No one knew what they were going to do, but Tchaikovsky announced it by saying:

Let the sound be made, and the sound was made.
Let there be light, and the light was made.
Let the percussion be done, the percussion was done.
Let the guitar be made, the guitar was made.
Oh let the rock be done!

Let rock be made ... And rock was made!

Angus Young of AC / DC was agitated and convulsed in his studies just as blacks did in Pentecostal churches. During the recordings, as if taken by the power of the spirit, Angus Young flapped his legs, climbed the amplifiers and crawled in circles on the ground, to the scandal also of the sound engineers who barely had time to take second takes. The takes were also not interrupted when one of the amps broke due to the extremely high volume.

The important thing was not to follow a specific pattern but to have an overwhelmingly genuine experience - which is exactly what these types of African-American churches held. The official video shows them in hideous costumes performing and singing at The Kirk, the church that you can rent for all kinds of events on Cleveland St. in Surry Hills in New South Wales. The production and performance is quite ridiculous - at least when compared to other performances from the same period such as the Apollo Theater in Glasgow in April 1978.

Shortly after that and shortly before he was killed in a car accident, a reporter asked Bon Scott if he considered himself a star. Bon Scott flashed his infectious smile and assured that the stars are in the sky and were created by God. The history of rock has countless examples similar to AC / DC. John Lord had played the church organ since 1968 on Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin had just covered preacher and bluesman Blind Willie Johnson recording ′It ′ s Nobody ′ s Fault but Mine (1976).

David Coverdale has confessed himself as a believer countless times and has turned his songs into authentic prayers since he left Deep Purple. ′Blindman′ (1977), ′Aint Gonna Cry No More′ (1980) or ′Here I go again′ (1982) are usually accompanied by organs to declare their sins or ask for help with expressions such as ′Oh Lord I pray you give me strength to carry on ′,′ Lord I know the sunshine but I feel the tears of rain falling down to wash my sins away ′or′ Help me Jesus show me the way ′.

Tony Iommi on his side has told Mojo magazine that all the members of Black Sabbath believed then that a fifth spiritual member of the group watched over, guided and protected them especially when they were together. Many musicians such as Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie James Dio or Michael Kiske from Helloween were inspired by the Christian liturgy then and musicians such as Rob Halford from Judas Priest still do so with special passion today. The British Def Leppard used the classic Christian anthem ′Rock of Ages′ (Augustus Toplady, 1763) to give the title to their 1983 album and opened their best-selling album, entitled ′Hysteria′ in 1987, with the following verse:

In the beginning, God created the earth.
He then he made the sea and the creatures.
He then he made man.

He was born with a passion, love and hate.
A spirit dissatisfied with the need for a partner.
But there was something missing, something missing.

The list that we are going to share next is naturally incomplete. It is only a training exercise, which may or may not serve in the future depending on many factors starting with whether or not it is the will of the Most High. All of these hard rock or heavy metal songs are versions of classic hymns sung first in church and arranged so that their most recent versions will appear first. Do you want to listen to the songs? We have created this a Youtube playlist at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkVRSLqL5ko&list=PLQ_xpiN4LChmnPwSgOhsV6Ud-UivDC2qT&index=1. Do you think there is any missing? Use the form at the end to tell us why.

′This little light of mine′ (Harry Dixon Loes, 1920) covered by Nina Llopis of The Lead for ′Go be do: Nina means grace′ (2020)

Nina Fatow Llopis was born on July 31, 1956 in New York City and had finished her Art & Design studies at the University of Miami on September 11, 1984. She was more interested in gothic rock but played the bass for the first time with Julio Rey and Robbie Christie in one of the rehearsals of the hardcore group The Lead. She performed with them in renowned venues such as Cameo Theater or CBGB with radical groups of the moment such as Suicidal Tendencies, DRI or MDC until 1991, which is when she focuses on soundtracks and church songs. During 2020 he has published countless beautiful dark songs online of what Micheal Knott from Lifesavers Underground or Michael J. Pritzl from The Violet Burning had already done, where the worship of God has a special role due to the decadence of its interpreters and with the excellent production of groups like Dashboard Confessional, Further Seems Forever or Underoath. ′This little light of mine′ is an exception since she is not the author of the song. Evangelist Harry Dixon Loes wrote this children′s song that was made into the hymnal ′Songs of Redemption′ in 1920 and has often been used as a protest song by musicians like Bruce Springsteen.

′Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Charles Wesley, 1739) covered by Rob Halford for′ Celestial in 2019

Judas Priest′s Rob Halford feared for his life when he began his rehabilitation in 1986. He says he has managed to stay sober ever since thanks to his constant prayer and belief in a higher power from his education in a Christian home. , a person who makes the protagonist of many of his songs. He has actually recorded a multitude of classic Christian hymns on albums such as ′Halford III: Winter Songs′ (2009), ′Halford IV: Made of Metal′ (2010) or ′Celestial′ (2019) but he has also composed his own abrasive lyrics such as ′Get Into The Spirit′, with which it has the purpose of fighting against the evil that seems to reign in our world. We will try to avoid the hymns associated with the celebration of Christmas because there are many and the list would give a false impression of our original intention; however ′Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Charles Wesley, 1739) covered by Rob Halford for′ Celestial in 2019 is an exception.

′Pie Jesu (Thomas of Celano, 1200) covered by the soprano Tarja Turunen of Nightwish for ′Spirits And Ghosts in 2017

Groups like Estampie or Al Andaluz Project are projects by musicians from the heavy metal scene converted into the study and recovery of medieval and Sephardic music. ′Pie Jesu′ in particular is the last part of the poem ′Dies Irae′ and it says something like this in Latin: ′Merciful Lord Jesus, give them rest.′ Its authorship could go back to the 7th century but its most definitive version in the form of medieval Gregorian chants dates from the 13th century. At the end of the XV century it already appeared in the form of a polyphonic Requiem and was finally incorporated into the liturgy of Anglican and Lutheran churches as well. Lutheran churches are the most common in Finland, which is where the soprano Tarja Turunen, of the symphonic metal group Nightwish, was born. ′I was baptized as a Lutheran, she says, ′and my mother taught me a prayer to always repeat before going to sleep, but I don′t really follow church activities. God is something very personal to me. Lately I spend more time doing it. performances in churches that attending their services. The acoustics make them ideal places to perform and there you get a special atmosphere when you do a show. Churches are made for musical events and are beautiful places. ′

′There is a fountain filled with blood (William Cowper, 1772) covered by Wolves at the Gate for ′Types & Shadows in 2016

The romantic poet and composer William Cowper belonged to a great family of illustrious rectors and poets. He wrote the hymn ′There is a fountain filled with blood′ in 1772 during one of his many periods of depression. The English called it melancholy at that time, but the truth is that in the case of William Cowper these crises led to a suicide attempt on three occasions. The hymn opens with a verse that could be translated: ′There is a fountain full of blood / That proceeds from the veins of the one who is Lord with us; / And the sinners, covered under such a flood, / They lose all their guilty spots / They lose all their guilty spots / They lose all their guilty spots / And the sinners, covered under such a flood, / They lose all their guilty spots . The hymn was covered in 2016 by the young American group Wolves at the Gate, which belongs to a movement of metalcore groups especially inclined to treat biblical themes in a particularly explicit way. A really interesting topic that deserves our full attention in a separate article.

′O Holy Night (Adolphe Adam, 1844) covered by Becoming the Archetype for ′Midnight Clear in 2014

The French Placide Cappeau studied law but ended up selling wines and spirits in his father′s business. His spare time was devoted to writing poetry and one of them eventually attracted the composer of operas and ballets Adolphe Adam. Adolphe was then looking for a text for music that will eventually be released as ′Minuit, chrétiens!′ (1844): ′Oh holy night / The stars shine brightly / It is the night of the birth of our dear savior / Long the world had sighed in sin and error / Until he appeared and the souls felt that he had been worth it.′ The song is known around the world today as ′O Holy Night′ and was covered by the young musicians of the progressive metal group Becoming The Archetype in 2011. The result is simply breathtaking and was naturally included by Solid State Records on one of their compilations. most interesting of all time titled ′Midnight Clear (2014).

′Amazing Grace (John Newton, 1779) covered by the independent group My Enemyz Blood for Youtube in 2014

Gilbert Chase, a music historian, says ′Amazing Grace′ is the most popular of all popular hymns and thousands of versions have been recorded. John Newton, its author, had shown no interest in religion until the day when, while trading slaves, he nearly suffered a shipwreck. The weight of guilt he felt and the rest he seems to find in forgiveness, have been the keys that many have identified with this song since its publication in 1779: ′Amazing grace, how sweet the sound / What a wretch! as I saved! / I was lost but now I have been found / I was blind, but now I can see. ′ The version of the hymn that we have chosen is from a group that does not have the support of a record company. The sound of the version of this independent group called My Enemyz Blood is not perfect and yet it has all the elements that make it a version worthy of being among the most original on this list. As a surprise for the end, the group also incorporates the piper Casey Kendel.

′Pí En Avlígsen Híjd (George Bennard, 1912) covered by Ulf Christiansson of Jerusalem for ′Mer, Mera Av Jesus in 2012

Ulf Christiansson is still the best rock vocalist in Sweden according to Sweden Rock magazine. It is not a little considering that Sweden is, together with Finland, the country with the highest concentration of heavy metal groups on planet Earth. He has recorded under the name Jerusalem since 1978, but also in parallel with his own name since 1982. Ulf Christiansson did not have a childhood marked by the customs of the church but since his conversion to Christianity and as he got older he has recorded more versions of classic hymns, to the point that some of his latest studio works such as ′Mer, Mera av Jesus (2012) are exclusively dedicated to this goal. ′Pí En Avlígsen Híjd′ is the translation of the original ′The Old Rugged Cross′, known in Spanish as ′En El Monte Calvario′. Pastor George Bennard composed this hymn in 1912 and it received a great reception in the evangelistic campaigns in rural areas of the United States of America, in such a way that today it is part of the imaginary of the country as shown for example by the wink that is made in the Doctor Who series.

′ng, Hallelujah (Linda Stassen-Benjamin, 1974) was covered live for years by Joshua Periah and finally recorded in studio for ′Resurrection in 2012

Linda Stassen-Benjamin was preparing an exercise for her composition class at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa Church in 1974 when she began development of the song ′Sing Hallelujah.′ The song became especially well known first thanks to the distribution of the Maranatha! Label. Music but also finally thanks to its use during the Hong Kong demonstrations in 2019. Long before these demonstrations Joshua Peraiah received the award for the best guitarist of the year from the English magazine Kerrang in 1982 and knew the gospel in the home of the preacher Hal Lindsey . Joshua performed the song ′Sing Hallelujah′ only live until he finally recorded it on his album ′Resurrection′ (2012). Joshua Peraiah also contributed to the first of the Sanctuary Praise recordings in 1991, where some of the favorite songs were distributed for the first time in this Christian community of heavy metal fans that gathered in San Diego. The version we share below is a video recording of a 1988 rehearsal with another highly regarded professional from town named Rob Rock. Vocalist Rob Rock had just had a conversion to Christianity then, coinciding according to him with the depression he had suffered from losing Tony MacAlpine, Rudy Sarzo and Tommy Aldridge - the musicians who served others like Dave Coverdale to many other successes in 1987. with the name of Whitesnake.

′Heyr, Himna Smiíur (Kolbeinn Tumason, 1208) covered by Eivor Palsdottir for ′Frostrósir: Heyr Himnasmiíur in 2008

The oldest song that is preserved in the Nordic countries is precisely this Christian hymn that the Icelandic Kolbeinn Tumason composed around 1208 and today it is considered in this country a kind of national anthem. Kolbeinn Tumason was an educated and religious person from the powerful ísbirnings clan, a family of politicians and warriors that would dominate those lands until 1248. Kolbeinn Tumason maintained a good relationship with Bishop Guímundur Arason for a time. Later, however, she accused him of owing him money and being unable to resolve his differences, she faced him in the Vííinesbardagi battle, where she lost his life. It is not clear if he wrote the poem shortly before or shortly after the battle but the first stanza already shows a special need for help: ′Listen, blacksmith from heaven / The poet seeks. / In your small, still voice / Can you show grace? / While I invoke you, / You, my creator. / I am your servant / You are my true lord . Eivor Palsdottir was born in 1983 on a small island between Iceland and Norway called Faroese. Most of her music is overwhelming, it is in her native language and rescues forms that were about to be forgotten forever, which has automatically made her an essential reference in the entire Nordic folk metal movement in particular and in the world. music in general.

′Laulu Suomelle′ (Lasse Heikkilí, 1999) covered by Scandinavian Metal Praise for ′Scandinavian Metal Praise′ in 2008

The Scandinavian Metal Praise project is a collective and an initiative that promotes the church′s own music in the key of progressive metal with female voices, but keeps the names of the musicians behind it secret. The few tracks we have point to musicians from different Finnish groups around the Bullroser Records label such as HB, Oratorio or Mehida where musicians from groups in the Sonata Arctica, Therion or Candlemass category have worked. Leif Edling, the founder of Candlemass, also recently surprised his audience with a song titled ′In My Time of Dying, for his unique female-voiced doom group called Avatarium: ′When I die, I don′t want anyone to cry / Everything I want you to take my body home / Well, well, well, may I die in peace. / Jesus, I′m going to prepare my deathbed / Find me, Jesus, find me. Find me in the air / If my wings fail me, Lord , find me others. / Well, well, well, may I die in peace. / Jesus, I want to make peace. Someone, someone / Jesus, I want to make peace. / Jesus, I′m going to prepare my deathbed ′. ′Laulu Suomelle′ is the only hymn of the two Scandinavian Metal Praise albums recorded in 2008 and 2015 that is in Finnish and belongs to Lasse Heikkilí of the Gospel Power group, composer of contemporary hymns, activist and great-great-grandson of one of the first members of the Parliament named Seth Heikkilí.

′At the cross′ (Isaac Watts, 1709) covered by Glenn Kaiser for ′Bound for Glory′ in 2006

Hillsong is an original multinational corporation from Sydney, Australia, which has built around itself an unstoppable church music factory called Hillsong Worship. The press has already taken good note of its success in focusing on the more cosmetic and superficial aspects of community life, but of course that is not the focus of all churches. Glenn Kaiser of the Resurrection Band group, for example, is a pastor in a very active community in the city of Chicago called JPUSA, a group of believers that has been characterized precisely by highlighting the dangers of the uniformity of globalization and the enormous value of diversity within and outside the community. Glenn Kaiser has spent his entire life playing hard rock but with age, as also happened to Gary Moore, he has surrendered to the blues and on his own he often records old church songs like ′Go Tell It On The Mountain and also modern ones. as ′I Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down′ by RL Burnside. The one we have chosen for this list is the version of ′At the cross recorded in ′Bound for Glory (2006). It was written by another nonconformist minister named Isaac Watts in England around 1709. The influence of the poems that Isaac Watts wrote was in fact so great that it is not for nothing that they have left their mark on the work of writers such as WS Gilbert, Lewis Carroll or Charles Dickens. .

′Canon in D (Johann Pachelbel, 1680) covered by Jacob&primes Dream for ′Drama of the Ages in 2005

′Jacob′s Dream′ is the title of one of the hymns of the American poet and activist Fanny Crosby. The anthem has in turn given its name to one of the most interesting and virtuous power metal groups in the Metal Blade Records catalog. This group can hardly be considered a Christian group but hidden at the end of ′Drama of the Ages′ (2005) and without any title or credit is this version of the ′Canon in D′ that Johan Pachelbel composed in 1680. The German organist Johan Pachelbel He was a friend of Johan Sebastian Bach′s father and one of the most important baroque musicians. His father was a wine salesman but thanks in part to his ambitious character, he managed to get the position of musician-organist at the Wírttemberg court in Stuttgart. He worked as an organist in a good number of churches and composed many works, among which his famous canon for weddings could be highlighted. For a time the baroque lost its credibility and with it Johan Pachelbel also lost his, but the Telegraph newspaper recently identified him as the ′Godfather of Pop.

′Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken′ (Henry Francis Lyte, 1825) covered by Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins and Zwan in ′Mary Star Of The Sea′ (2003)

William Patrick Corgan was born in Chicago on March 17, 1967, into a very dysfunctional family of Irish origin. His mother ignored him when she was three years old and assures that the stepmother who replaced her abused him physically and psychologically. She also gave him a clear Catholic education until the age of eight. His father, on his side, was a musician and told him at the age of six that God did not exist and that this was confirmed by the evil in the world. His father dealt with drugs and abandoned him as well, leaving him entirely in the care of his dreaded stepmother. His album ′Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness′ (1995) debuted at number one on the US Billboard and put on dance floors around the world his famous phrase ′God is empty, just like me.′ That famous phrase expressed with all the rage that he had learned from Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath or Van Halen gave many a false impression of his relationship to faith. He corrected the misunderstanding in a particularly poetic way by recording eight years later this version of the classic hymn ′Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken′, written by the Anglican and Scottish clergyman Henry Francis Lyte in 1825.

′Jesus kom til jorden for í dí (Arnold Bírud, 1978) covered by Extol for ′Burial in 1999

Norwegian Arnold Bírud converted to Christianity in 1965 and was a key figure in introducing popular music to evangelical churches in Norway. He has received various awards and even the King′s Medal of Merit from the Government of Norway. Young Norwegians had no particular appreciation for Christianity in the 1990s. Musicians such as í?ystein ′Euronymous′ Aarseth from Mayhem were then rescuing the memory of the pantheon of Viking gods and using church burning to popularize black metal. Of course, like every rule, this one also had its exception. The Norwegian group Extol was the most respectable of all the exceptions of Norwegian metal and dedicated itself since 1993 to composing songs about Jesus as a God. During the recording of their album ′Burial (1998) they arranged ′Jesus kom til jorden for í dí, one of Arnold Bírud′s first songs, to look like a Viking metal hymn and invited the author to play the organ with them .

′Goin Up Yonder (Walter Hawkins, 1976) covered by Olivia McClurkin and John Elefante for ′Rock Power Praise - Volume III Traditional Gospel Hymns in 1992

Walter left the gospel star career he had started with his brother Edwin Hawkins to found the Love Center Church in Oakland, California in the 1970s. ′Goin Up Yonder′ is one of the songs he wrote then that became part of the hymnals that were later revised for the famous Pakaderm Records productions. John Elefante had to compete with two hundred other applicants to become the vocalist who replaced Steve Walsh of Kansas in 1982 and he dedicated himself with his brother, producer Dino Elefante, to record four albums of classic hymn covers under the name Rock Power. Praise & Portrait of a Spirit in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The first volume is marked by the usual and powerful heavy metal sound of the time and has guest vocalists such as Mike Lee, Jamie Rowe or John Elefante himself. The third installment, however, is marked by a frankly unusual and original sound mixing part of that hard rock sound with the soul of black voices such as Olivia McClurkin, Voncielle Faggett or Rose Stone from Sly & The Family Stone.

′A Mighty Fortress is Our God (Martin Luther, 1529) covered by Sara Tennison and John Elefante for ′Rock Power Praise - Volume I - The Hymns in 1990

Martin Luther is better known for starring in the 16th century Protestant Reformation than for his songs; But that does not mean that, as a good German, he also liked good beer and festive folk songs. The day he wrote ′A mighty fortress is Our God,′ the reformer really wasn′t supposed to be in the party. What at first seemed an understandable protest against the corruption of the church he represented, had led him to be imprisoned awaiting trial by the authorities of the empire of Charles V in April 1521: ′Powerful fortress is our God / bulwark that never fails / He our helper in the midst of the flood / and mortal evils that will not prevail . Charles V and his Diet of Worms passed but not this little song of easy learning and firm hope, which is still sung today in many churches around the world and which was also collected by the Elephant brothers in 1990. The prodigious voice of Sara Tennison It will not be officially recorded again since 1995, but her voice had nothing to envy others who should have inspired her such as Wendy Kaiser from the Resurrection Band, Nancy Jo Mann from Barnabas, Lisa Faxon from Ramson or the Australian Rosanna Palmer from Rosanna′s Raiders. Rosanna in particular continues to record countless songs for church included in a series titled ′Rock Praise.′ The virtuoso guitarist P.K. Mitchell, for his part, recorded along the same lines ′All Hail the Power The Rock Hymns Project′ (1994), using what was then a more modern sound, but losing the community element so typical of church music, which yes they had John Elephant′s projects.

′Holy, Holy, Holy (Reginald Heber, 1861) covered by Sacred Warrior for ′Master&primes Command in 1989

Reginald Heber was born in Cheshire in 1783 and already had several poetry awards when he was studying at Oxford University. He spent several years traveling in Sweden, Russia or Italy before accepting the position of rector in the Church of Hodnet. He died in one of his many trips this time to India and since then the about sixty hymns that he wrote have not stopped singing, among which perhaps the most famous is ′Holy Holy Holy, Lord God Almighty′ . Bruce Swift is one of the best known admirers of him. Swift underwent a conversion to Christianity around 1986 in the city of Chicago and dragged many of his band around with him, such as Rey Parra, Tony Valesquez and Rick Macias. Nomad was the name of the heavy metal group that united them and that over time would come to be known as Sacred Warrior. ′Holy, Holy, Holy′ is precisely the song with which the group always closed its performances due, according to Swift, to the emotional impact that the song caused on its audience.

′King of Kings (Naomi Batya Ginsberg and Sophie Conty, 1974) covered by Petra for ′Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out in 1989

This version should not be confused with the Manowar group song ′King of Kings (2005). Manowar attributes this royal title to the gods of thunder. ′King of kings′, in fact, is a title that many Middle Eastern monarchs claimed for themselves in ancient times. The earliest surviving record is of the Sumerian king Tukulti-Ninurta I (1243-1207 BC) and even Artaxerxes or Nebuchadnezzar make it their own in the biblical account. Naomi Batya Ginsberg now lives in the Bronx where she calls herself Nomi Yah but when she composed this song she was thirteen years old and lived with her mother in California, which is when she composed this song with her friend Sophie Conty ′ Kings of Kings . The music is a popular Jewish melody and the lyrics are a very simple succession of titles such as ′king of kings′ or ′lord of lords′ that Jesus receives from his disciples already in the New Testament. It was first recorded, published, and popularized around the world by the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa hippie community record company in 1980, and was elevated to hard rock status by Christian rock group Petra in 1989. It was the first in a series. of compilations of church songs entitled ′Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out′, which was so successful that it was certified as a Gold Record on January 23, 1998 and of which they also recorded a version in Spanish with a marked American accent entitled ′En praise (1992).

′Battle hymn of the Republic (Julia Ward Howe, 1861) covered by Stryper for ′Soldiers Under Command in 1985

Stryper′s album entitled ′Soldiers Under Command is also a Gold Record. Stryper has a reputation that precedes him and a legion of fans that produces just the opposite sentiment in another part of the population. We live in a polarized world, not unlike the one Julia Ward Howe knew. Julia was born in New York City in 1819. Her father was a Calvinist and a Wall Street broker. Her mother died when she was five years old but he inherited from her her passion for poetry and social action that she put at the service of the abolition of slavery and the defense of women′s rights. He wrote the text of ′Battle hymn of the Republic when he traveled to Washington to meet with Abraham Lincoln in 1861 and it automatically became one of the most popular songs of the Union during the American Civil War: ′My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord / He treads the grape harvest where the grapes of wrath were gathered / He has unleashed the fateful lightning of his terrible and swift sword / His truth advances / Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! / Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! / Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! / The truth of him advances ′

′Jesus loves me (Anna Bartlett Warner, 1859) covered by the group 100% Proof for ′Power and the Glory in 1983

Anna Bartlett Warner was born on Long Island, New York just eight years after the birth of Julia Ward Howe. She wrote such novels as ′Wych Hazel′ (1853), ′Mr. Rutherford′s Children (1855) or′ The Hills of the Shatemuc (1856) but also many children′s songs like this one from′ Jesus loves me (1859). The British heavy metal group 100% Proof covered this classic in 1983, two years before Stryper covered his, so it could be considered the first classic anthem to be covered in a hard rock key. It would be wrong, of course. The Swedish group Jerusalem had recorded in 1981, at the end of their song ′Sodom′, the melody of the famous hymn entitled in Spanish as ′Oh holy, happy′ by the Polish Johannes D. Falk in 1816. ′Jesus loves me, the one who died / Heaven′s door will open wide / He will wash away my sin / Let his little son in / Yes, Jesus loves me / Yes, Jesus loves me / Yes, Jesus loves me / The Bible says so.

Do you want to listen to the songs? We have created this Youtube playlist at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkVRSLqL5ko&list=PLQ_xpiN4LChmnPwSgOhsV6Ud-UivDC2qT&index=1. Do you think there is any missing? Use the form at the end to tell us why.


This is an short translation of the original article published in Spanish by Entrelíneas: Revista de Arte as Los 20 mejores himnos clásicos versionados por músicos de rock


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