The Stories Behind the Songs on Our 15th Single
Fri., Sep. 17. 2021 4:09pm EDT
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 15th single of 2021:
I suggested "Word Up!" as a parody possibility in an email to Rich Mannion on July 28, 2020. He replied with, "Could be interesting. I actually like this song." Four days later, on the way to church, I got the hook line, "What's the Word the word of?" That's a crucial question we all must answer: Is it the Word of God or the word of man?
Making things even more interesting, the Bible tell us that the Word of God actually became a man (John 1:1-14). Ironically, as Man's view of the Bible has dimmed, the Bible's view of Man (and his future) seems more accurate than ever.
I got a decent portion of the lyrics for the first verse on August 20, while driving home with my family from a visit to Splash Lagoon indoor water part in Erie PA. We had spent the day there with Keith Haynie and his family. Ironically, though, Keith does not play on this parody. George Elliott made a Cameo appearance on bass. Keith is still our beloved bassist, but a number of the 80's songs feature slap bass or fretless bass or both, and that's where George comes in.
While preparing to imitate Cameo lead singer Larry Blackmon's vocal style for this parody, I noted that he sang it a bit like Steve Urkel on the old TV show Family Matters with a touch of Fran Drescher, who was best known for her role on The Nanny. However, I was thinking more of the way she spoke in her role as Bobbi Flekman in the cult-classic movie This is Spinal Tap, which is essential viewing for anybody in a rock band.
I got the idea and title for this parody on the evening of July 27, 2021, so I sent an email to Rich Mannion the next morning to gage his interest in doing "All I Need." Knowing what an accomplished musician Rich is, I figured he'd prefer German composer Richard Wagner (famous for his operas) to American singer Jack Wagner (famous for his soap operas).
"You probably think I've lost my mind for even suggesting it," I said. Much to my surprise and relief, he replied by with the following: "I loved this song when it came out." That song went to #2 in 1985, and by then I was already collecting all songs that hit #1 and #2, so I would have purchased it whether I liked or not. But I ended up liking it. And I love Psalm 19, especially verse 14, where David prays, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer."
Back in 1990, when I was a choir member at Covenant Church of Pittsburgh, we learned a song based on that verse, and it has stuck with me all these years. I still sing that song occasionally to my kids, and I pray those words often to God. Was David asking God to approve what he just prayed or was he asking Him to guide his future words and thoughts? Either way, it's a great prayer and sums up how I feel.
Interesting note: Jack Wagner starred in the daytime drama General Hospital (1983-87), as did Rick Springfield (1981-83), another artist we've spoofed ("Jesse's Boy"). And both songs relate in some say to David.