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Crocker! Dear God

By Dan Crocker Dec 18, 2014 - 10:50 AM print

It's no secret that rock and roll is the Devil's music. But, the hundreds and hundreds of heavy metal odes to all powerful Satan get a bit boring after awhile. I'm more interested in a much less represented genre—the giving up your religion song. While trying to come up with this list, I was surprised to find how few songs there actually are on the topic.  It's a tough one. First, to write a song about giving up your religion, you must first have had to have a religion. Secondly, I had to decide how broad of a net I'd cast when picking the songs. I decided that any song where someone questioned God would be good enough, but it couldn't have any Satan in it. If you question one, you sort of have to question the other. So no testosterone driven metal written for fifteen year old boys, just adult songs about an adult topic. Finally, I decided the songs needed to tackle the subject seriously. This is what I came up with. Break out your pentagram necklaces and have a listen.

5. Losing My Religion – R.E.M.

How could I not include this?  Like many R.E.M. songs, the lyrics don't stand up to heavy scrutiny, but I like R.E.M. anyway and they get in based on the title of their song alone.


4. Imagine – John Lennon

The first time I heard about this song was on an episode of WKRP in Cincinnati called “Clean Up Radio Everywhere.” A preacher wanted the station to stop playing certain songs that they considered anti-religious. This was one of them. It set me on a path of heathenism in which I have still not recovered.


3. Tomorrow Wendy – Concrete Blonde

Written by Andy Prieboy, Concrete Blonde has the definitive version. According to Johnette Napolitano, Wendy was a real person, diagnosed with AIDS, who decided to end her own life rather than suffer with the stigma attached to it at the time. It's a powerful, beautiful and ultimately angry look at the political climate surrounding AIDS in the 1980s. The stunning last few verses get it on this list.

2. Gloria – Patti Smith

Lyrically, this was originally a Patti Smith poem called “Oath.”  It differs some, but the poem is the genesis. Musically, it's a tune that had been kicked around by a lot of people. One day in 1974, the poem and tune merged to become this classic. Smith was brought up as a Jehovah's Witness. This is her goodbye to all of that.


1. Dear God – XTC

The song speaks for itself. I like the Sarah Mclachlan version. Sue me.


The original is pretty damned good, too.


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