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November 20, 2016

Dave Allan presents Prince and the Revelation: Popular Music and Religion

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David Allan (Saint Joseph’s University)
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Like David Bowie before him, in death we learned more about Prince’s religious beliefs from the lyrics that he left behind. In between he wrote songs with lyrics like “Don’t cry for he is coming, don’t die without knowing the cross” (The Cross), “If God one day struck me blind, your beauty I’ll still see” (“Adore”), “But I’m here to tell you, there’s something else, the after world” (“Let’s Go Crazy”) and “You can be the president, I’d rather be the pope. You can be the side effect, I’d rather be the dope” (“The Pope”). Speaking of the Pope, when Prince died the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture at the Vatican, Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi tweeted “Sometimes, sometimes I wish that life was never ending, All good things they say, never last” (“Sometimes It Snows in April”).
Prince is not the first popular music artist to integrate religion into his lyrics but he may be the most complex and surprising. Everyone who is a fan of the man or the drama surrounding his death knows by now that Prince Rogers Nelson was born a Seventh-day Adventist and died a Jehovah’s Witness. In between he was just a likely to infush religious themes as sexual ones (“Darling Nikki”) into his songs. This article looks at popular music and religion through the purple lenses of Prince.






 
 

 
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Dave Allan presents at the Univerisy of Stirling in Scotland

The soundtrack of yesterday has become the playlist of today, and playlists are ubiquitous. Everyone seems to have a playlist even the Pope (in Spanish and Italian) and the President of the United States (Appendix 1). We see at...
 
 
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Dave Allan presents at The City Council Hearing

Dave Allan presented at The City of Philadelphia Council Hearing on September 16, 2015. Read more about the commission to promote Philly as a music town. View the full presentation.
 
 
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Dave Allan presents at SEI; “Music is the Soundtrack of your Life”

David Allan presented Music is the Soundtrack of Your Life at SEI in Collegeville, PA. View the full presentation.  
 




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