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Jul 31, 2008

"God" in Song

God_only_knows Continuing with the posts from Salt Lake City where I can't help but think about religious things, here's a new song thing.  What non-religious songs have the word "God" in the lyrics? 

I'm surprised that few are jumping to my mind, but maybe that's because I'm typing from 10,000 ft. where the air is thin.  Here's what's hitting me:

Dear God -- XTC
Closer -- Nine Inch Nails (thanks, TPB, for the correx)
Thank God I'm a Country Boy -- John Denver (which Barry R. reminded me of at Thanksgiving Mix Tape ).
Baby Got Back (I Like Big Butts) -- Sir Mix-a-Lot*
God Will -- Lyle Lovett
What if God Was One of Us -- Joan Osborne
My God -- Whoopi Goldberg and the nuns in Sister Act**
Once in a Lifetime -- Talking Heads
Counting Blue Cars -- Dishwalla

What you got?  Extra credit for songs where "God" does not appear in the title.

p.s. does anyone know how to make a two-column table in TypePad?


*Bonus -- the Alvin and the Chipmunks mix of Baby Got Back:

**which co-starred Kathy Najimy who of course does the voice of Peggy Hill.

12:57 PM in Misc.Blog 2007 | Permalink


i like paul simon's "outrageous", from his recent eno collaboration, an album called 'surprise':

"Who's gonna love you when your looks are gone?
Tell me, who's gonna love you when your looks are gone?

God will,
Like he waters the flowers on your window sill."

Posted by: xta | Jul 31, 2008 1:41:36 PM

Uh, I believe the "Closer" you refer to was actually done by Nine Inch Nails.

Posted by: Tarus | Jul 31, 2008 1:42:07 PM

not sure what "non-religious" means in this context, Phil.

first one that comes to mind is "God Bless the Child," recorded by various artists through the years, but most famously by Billie Holiday.

other not obscure songs that my iTunes comes up with after searching on "God":
God's Footballer - Billy Bragg
With God On Our Side - Bob Dylan
My God - Jethro Tull
It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels - Kitty Wells
Will Your Lawyer Talk To God - Kitty Wells
Mississippi Goddam - Nina Simone
God Loves a Drunk - Richard Thompson
God's Own Drunk - Jimmy Buffett
Little John of God - Los Lobos

and a couple of dozen more obscure songs by the likes of Sleater-Kinney, the Wallflowers, the Kinks, and David Sylvian.

probably my favorite song that doesn't have "God" in the title, is "Turn Your Radio On," but that's kinda religious, no?

Posted by: barry | Jul 31, 2008 1:46:21 PM

There are a whole lot of James Brown tracks where he exclaims "Good God!" such as (one of my favorites) Get Up Offa That Thing.

Posted by: Fikri | Jul 31, 2008 1:56:23 PM

funny!! I started a Divine Intervention mix for a future trivia night. I was including, God, Jesus, fate, destiny, Buddha, Allah....pop cultural spiritual soup.

Matthew Sweet's "Divine Intervention" inspired the idea.....

And you know I loves me some "Jesus Take the Wheel"....

Posted by: | Jul 31, 2008 1:57:41 PM

1 correction: "closer" is by Nine Inch Nails, not Manson
"heresy" - Nine Inch Nails
"head like a hole" - Nine Inch Nails
"wonder" - Natalie Merchant
"money is not our god" - Killing Joke
"slippery people" - Talking Heads
"kiss me son of god" - TMBG
"hey ladies", "root down", "sabotage" - Beastie Boys

Posted by: georg | Jul 31, 2008 2:03:48 PM

Hey, just thought of another: "Then I Met You" by The Proclaimers:

"Thought that God had failed me
Thought my prayers were useless
Thought that he would never give the chance for me to praise him

Thought the book was written
Thought the game had ended
Thought the song was sung and I could never sing another

Thought my faith was misplaced
Thought my back was broken
Broken by a weight that I was never fit to carry

Thought I knew this city
Thought I knew all about it
And then one night I went to morningside and you were waiting

I met you"

What goddamn great song.

Posted by: Fikri | Jul 31, 2008 2:10:38 PM

Monkey Gone to Heaven - The Pixies
William, It Was Really Nothing - The Smiths
Missionary Man - Eurythmics
Get It Together - Seal
Mrs. Robinson - Simon and Garfunkel
O My God - The Police
God Knows - Bob Dylan (although I prefer Gotta Serve Somebody, which has "The Lord")

These are the ones off the top of my head...

Posted by: etselec | Jul 31, 2008 2:46:23 PM

"Bless You" by Peggy Lee ("bless you for the God that's in you")
"Wear Your Love Like Heaven" by Donovan (the Definition of Sound version is a much better song, but the Donovan version actually mentions God)
"Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" by Kay Kyser (couldn't resist :)

Posted by: Sarah | Jul 31, 2008 6:02:59 PM

Brian Wilson's masterpiece, "God Only Knows."

I may not always love you
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I'll make you so sure about it

God only knows what I'd be without you

If you should ever leave me
Though life would still go on believe me
The world could show nothing to me
So what good would living do me

God only knows what I'd be without you...

Posted by: Barry Campbell | Jul 31, 2008 6:57:11 PM

just off the top of my head . . .
"The Broken Road" by Rascal Flatts
"Gaia" by James Taylor
"Fire and Rain" (if you count "won't you look down upon me Jesus") by JT

Posted by: Doc | Aug 1, 2008 9:59:40 AM

I'm not sure what you mean by "non-religious." In particular, "What If God Was One of Us" is all about religion.

Posted by: Glenn | Aug 1, 2008 6:43:28 PM

I'm not sure what you mean by "non-religious." In particular, "What If God Was One of Us" is all about religion.

Posted by: Glenn | Aug 1, 2008 6:43:56 PM

Clarification 1. By "non-religious", I guess I mean not designed for use in a religious setting (e.g., church) or for specifically religious messaging (e.g., things done by "Christian Rock" groups).

Clarification 2. I hadn't thought about Jesus/Lord/Jehovah/etc. names. Interpret the rules as you wish on this one :-)

Posted by: Phil | Aug 1, 2008 7:15:09 PM

In which case, I have to say...

Jesus Is Just Alright - The Doobie Brothers

Posted by: etselec | Aug 1, 2008 9:23:59 PM

There's an Annie Lennox song called "Oh, God (Prayer)" which I don't think is meant as a prayer to Jesus/Lord/Jehovah/etc. but rather a meditation of sorts.

Posted by: Toastie | Aug 2, 2008 1:56:00 AM

Jesus is Just Alright, Oh Yeah! :-)

I keep thinking there must be some Pink Floyd song with the line "Oooh, God" in it, but I can't pin it down. Maybe I'm confusing it with the chapel scene in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.

Oh but wait... my search for that clever scene ("ooh, God -- ooh you are so big...")

I found another God song -- Every Sperm is Sacred!


Posted by: Phil | Aug 2, 2008 2:23:00 AM

I think this list would extend to several hundred at least, probably several thousand.

Ministry - Jesus Built My Hotrod http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RBKTo5K14M

Norman Greenbaum - Spirit in the Sky

Depeche Mode - Personal Jesus

Plastic Jesus from Cool Hand Luke http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xYqwYrbwHeM

Plastic Jesus (Jesus Dance version)

Posted by: Garlic Bread Arsonist | Aug 3, 2008 6:34:32 PM

Burning Love -- Elvis

Posted by: Phil | Aug 6, 2008 3:00:36 PM

Great Balls of Fire... Jerry Lee Lewis. "Good god almighty.."

Posted by: ken | Aug 18, 2008 2:11:38 PM

Sorry. One more. God Bless America best done by Ethel Merman.

Posted by: ken | Aug 18, 2008 2:19:56 PM