New Dimensions

I tend to do posting here on a sporadic basis, and the last time I did consistent posting was over two years ago. It’s not that I’ve lost any interest in Jesus music and the lyrics for it, but other activities take my attention for a while.

In the past two years, I have discovered the ability of posting some of my unique recordings as videos on YouTube. The audio recordings of The Larry Black Show and the Maranatha! Concerts are now available on YouTube in playlists:

The Larry Black Show:

Maranatha! Concert (Isaac Air Freight, Keith Green, Tom Howard, Randy Stonehill, and the Sweet Comfort Band):

But the project for which I am most excited are two Jesus Music Timesweep videos. I have one for 1969-79, and one now for 1980-89.

What the heck is a Timesweep, you might ask? All of you have heard these in the past for top 40 rock music, even if you didn’t realize that is what it was. On WLS in Chicago, a tradition was started in the early 1970s in which at New Year’s Eve the station played a spliced cut of music in the history of rock, from 1960 to the current year, brief clips that originally lasted about 1 minute for each year of music. As time went by, the Montage become (obviously) longer and more complex, including some of the WLS jingles during each of the eras of music that were featured. Like many others, I enjoyed these, and recorded them when I was able.

When the Drake-Chenault History of Rock ‘n Roll “rockumentary” appeared on radio stations across the country, they featured their own version of a montage, based on the number 1 songs for each year from 1955 to the year in which the History was played. They called it a “timesweep”, and I like that term better.

What I realized last year was that although there were brief little such montages that were used on Christian radio stations for their own promotional purposes, no one (to my knowledge) set up a full-blown survey of the music of the Jesus music era. Thanks to the research tools available on the Internet now in the early 21st century, it became possible for a person like myself who did not work at a radio station or had a huge personal collection to create a montage/timesweep that was as professional as any produced by radio station engineers “back in the day”.

I produced the first Jesus Music Timesweep for the years 1969 to 1979 over a period of several months, and published it on YouTube back in April of this year.

Don’t know why I didn’t promote it here; it just didn’t occur to me, and I did share it on Facebook. However, WordPress has made it easier and easier to share videos with their later revisions, and so putting a video here is no more complicated than including the link.

After recovering from the work of producing the first one, I began to research the next decade of music, and just now completed it.

The work in creating these is not trivial. I first have to combine several different lists of top songs for each year, and then look for the audio of those songs. Surprisingly, YouTube has an incredible amount of music that has been uploaded in the form of videos, sometimes from the record companies themselves. There was some music that I could not find on YouTube, and since I wanted to create a playlist of music for each year, I later uploaded a number of these songs myself.

Once I had access to the songs themselves, it was a matter of capturing a 3 to 7 second sampling of each song, which I then spliced together using Apple’s excellent GarageBand software.

Creating the audio was only a part of the job. Since a video is more interesting if there is something to watch, I decided to create a slide for each song that displayed the album cover for that song, the title, artist, and what place it had on the top songs list.

The final result is something that I myself enjoy listening to, and hope that there are others who also enjoy it.

In the next few posts I will include the links to video playlists for each of the years from 1969 to 1989 that are featured on the two Timesweeps.


The reason for this blog

My enjoyment of music has always been about both the music and the lyrics. During my early 1970s high school years, I recall a number of top 40 hits on the radio whose tune and beat were enjoyable, but whose lyrics were objectionable. And there were a few songs whose music was bland, but had lyrics that attracted me such that I could overlook those small musical deficiencies. 

My arrival at college in the fall of 1974 was a change in my life in a number of ways, but one important one was the discovery of this new phenomenon of “Jesus Music”. Groups like Love Song, the 2nd Chapter of Acts, Andrae Crouch and the Disciples, and Larry Norman gave me an amazing fusion of lyrics with meaning that also appealed to my enjoyment of a rock/pop style of music. This is not to say that I liked everything in the Jesus Music genre that I came across, but it opened my world to something that helped to build up my blossoming faith. God has continued to use this music over the past 30+ years to uplift, encourage, and even draw me back to Him when my love became cold. 

I’ve digitized much of my collection to a format that will play on my computer and iPod, thus freeing it from the storage cabinet under my turntable at home, and making it playable in a way that it has never previously been possible. Since the lyrics are the content that the musical vehicle delivers to me, my intent with this blog is to share the lyrics of songs that are particularly meaningful to me.

Along with the lyrics that are posted here, I intend to post the audio of part or all of the songs they came from. Due to copyright restrictions and space requirement, I will do this as 24 or 32 kbps samples, and also try to include links to places where the music can be purchased new today, for those who are interested. 

Thank you for joining me on this retrospective on the music that charged and changed a generation of Christian believers!