The Stories Behind the Songs on Single #22
Wed., Nov. 23. 2022 4:34pm EST
J. Jackson, lead singer and lyricist for ApologetiX here again.
Here are the stories behind the songs on our 22nd single of 2022:
I really didn't want to do this parody. "Bad Medicine" by Bon Jovi was a long, noisy song with a lot of moving parts and tons of backing vocals, and I figured it would be a logistical nightmare to replicate. There were all kinds of things that could wrong.
Still, I loved the new title (I think I got that in April 2019 at about the same time I got the idea for "Slow to Wrath"), and once I started working on the lyrics in mid-September 2022, the first chorus and first verse came to me extremely quickly. I just had a feeling we were supposed to proceed, but I still dreaded it.
The verses, sung by yours truly, are from the perspective of the rulers and authorities who confronted Peter and John in Acts 4 and all of the Apostles in Acts 5. The choruses, sung by Rich Mannion, are from the perspective of believers, both then and now.
The central scripture verse, cited twice in the lyrics, is Acts 4:19: "But Peter and John replied, 'Which is right in God's eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges!'" Those two Apostles went even further in Acts 4:20: "'As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.'"
I first heard about that story and those quotes in a song called "Can't Stop Talkin'" by The Watchman, a successful local Christian rock band I had to interview as part of my newspaper internship during the summer of my senior year in college in 1986 ... two years before I read it in the Bible myself and two years before "Bad Medicine" came out.
CAN'T LET THE CROWD IN MY HEAD
In September 2022, Rich and I decided to try another ELO tune. We had a few in mind, but I went through my playlist of their hits to make sure we didn't overlook anything. I felt drawn to one I hadn't expected, "Can't Get It Out of My Head," a beautiful song that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle, even though it was ELO's first U.S. Top 10 single.
I texted Rich, and he was all for it. Now I just needed to figure out what to do lyrically. I considered "Can't Get Up Out of My Bed," about the paralytic who was lowered through the roof to see Jesus, but we'd covered that from a first-person perspective in "I'm Cured," and I didn't think the guy would still be singing "I can't get up out of my bed" at the end of the song.
Then I thought about "midnight on the water" and "walking on a wave she (He) came" in the ELO lyrics ... "Can't Let a Doubt in My Head"? No, we'd already done "Walk on the Water" from Peter's perspective. So I started thinking about what we could do with the "Robin Hood and William Tell and Ivanhoe and Lancelot" line, and that put me on the path to where this song ended up.
It's still Peter, but it starts with him in prison in Jerusalem (Acts 12), awaiting execution by Herod but miraculously rescued, and it finishes with Peter in prison in Rome many years later, awaiting execution by Nero. With music so majestic I wanted a special title. When "Can't Let the Crowd in My Head" came to me, I thought, "Now that's something any believer could still sing today."