It’s Easter time, and that means believers around the world are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ and reflecting on his teachings. There are plenty of awesome songs which allude to the Holy Trinity in some way, but here are five of our tip-top favourites.
Smashing Pumpkins, 33 (1996)
Billy Corgan has never explicitly confirmed or denied the idea, but I’ve heard that this song was written from the perspective of Jesus of Nazareth just before the Last Supper. The lyrics certainly lend themselves to the interpretation, and then there’s the song title (purportedly Jesus’ age at the time of his death).
Lyrics: “Speak to me in a language I can hear, humour me before I have to go/ Deep in thought I forgive everyone… I know I can’t be late, supper’s waiting on the table…/ The earth laughs beneath my heavy feet at the blasphemy in my old jangly walk/ Steeple guide me to my heart and home.”
Joan Osborne, One of Us (1995)
This three-time Grammy-nominated song, written by Eric Bazilian of The Hooters (to impress a girl, apparently, who is now his wife and the mother of his two children), asks us to imagine God in a whole bunch of everyday encounters, and questions how we’d relate to and believe in him. It’s also very fun to sing “yeah, yeah, yeah-yeah-yeah” along with Joan Osborne in the most nonchalant ‘90s drawl ever.
Lyrics: “If God had a face, what would it look like?/ And would you want to see if seeing meant that you would have to believe/ In things like Heaven and in Jesus and the saints, and all the prophets?”
Kanye West, Jesus Walks (2004)
Kanye doesn’t care if rapping about Jesus instead of guns and sex will affect his cred, because he needs religion in his life – and Jesus walks with us all, including the drug dealers and strippers and those living in complete poverty.
Lyrics: “I ain’t here to argue about his facial features/ Or here to convert atheists into believers/ I’m just trying to say the way school need teachers/ The way Kathie Lee needed Regis, that’s the way I need Jesus.”
Ben Harper, Ground On Down (1995)
If you think believing in God isn’t cool, take a long hard look at Ben Harper, preferably while he’s playing lapsteel while sitting in the belly of an empty pool and some guys flip around in there on skateboards.
Lyrics: “I believe in a few things: God, the devil and love/ ‘Cause I’ve looked up from the bottom, and I’ve stared down from above/ I have faith in a few things: divinity and grace/ But even when I’m on my knees, I know the devil prays.”
Sidney Carter, The Lord Of The Dance (1963)
At my Anglican all-girls high school, we all looked forward to the Easter assembly when we’d get to sing this belter. It was one of the highlights of the school year. Carter wrote it in ’63, it was introduced to UK schools in ’72, and it’s been a roaring success from there on in.
Lyrics: “I danced on a Friday when the sky turned black/ It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back/ They whipped me and they stripped me and they hung me high/ And they left me there on the cross to die.”