The Stories Behind the Songs on This Single
Fri., Oct. 26. 2018 2:15pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
It's fitting that we spoofed The Zombies for our late-October single, since it's the time of the season for such things, but we didn't plan that. On September 18, Jimmy texted me and asked if "She's Not There" had been a big hit. I told him it had gone all the way up to #2. "It's an eerie tune," he said. "Very cool. Got lyric ideas?" I've always loved that song and told him I'd put it on my "to do" list.
Within minutes, God gave me the idea to turn it into "She's Not Dead," about Tabitha (a.k.a. Dorcas), the woman Peter resurrected in Acts 9. In the week leading up to Jimmy's question, I'd been thinking about doing a song about her, though I'd been toying with a different song. But this one was perfect for it, and I started getting lyrics right away and let Jimmy know.
Jimmy texted back and said, "It's cool, because I feel like God is telling us to do it." Jimmy never says stuff like that, so I put it on the front burner. The guys had all their parts done by October 6, and I recorded vocals on October 10, so there wasn't much dead time. I think it's pretty cool that we used a song by a band named for the undead to tell the story of a woman raised from the dead.
The other song on the new single was a slow burner. I got the idea to spoof the Sugarloaf song "Green-Eyed Lady" as "Read Isaiah" back in the mid-90's but never expected we'd get around to it, so I never wrote the lyrics. About five years ago,Tom Tincha started talking about what a cool song it was, so that rekindled my interest, but it was still a long shot.
Enter Rich Mannion, who just started playing keys with ApologetiX back in late May. Once you hear Rich's keyboards on both of these new songs, you'll realize he was born to play them. That guy is good. And those songs are tricky.
The trick for me with "Read Isaiah" was narrowing down what scripture references I wanted to use from Isaiah. There are so many great ones, but I finally settled on 1:18, 6:1, 7:14, 9:6 and chapter 53. You know how they take verses in the Epistle to the Romans and call them the "Romans Road to Salvation"? This is kind of the "Romans Road" of Isaiah for me.
The Zombies and Sugarloaf only had five Top 40 hits between them, but, oh, what hits they were! The Zombies had "She's Not There" (#2), "Tell Her No" (#6), and "Time of the Season" (#3); Sugarloaf had "Green-Eyed Lady" (#3) and "Don't Call Us, We'll Call You" (#9).
Ironically, both bands had comeback hits four years after their initial successes — at a time when the public had largely forgotten about them. Even more strangely, both comeback hits reached their peak chart position on March 29 (in 1969 and 1975), although the songs we spoofed were the first hits for each band (in the autumns of 1964 and 1970).
Isn't that weird? I know what you're saying: "No, J., you are the one who is weird." Yeah, I know. But, thankfully, God can still use it.