If you think that the days of the Christian right attacking rock music are over, think again. A few years ago, Phoenix area pastor Steven L. Anderson went fire-and-brimstone on a certain song because its creators were “God-hating Communist devils.”
You might assume that he’s referring to a track by Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, G.G. Allin, or Marilyn Manson; or perhaps a Katy Perry or Pink pop anthem that advocates debauchery. But you’d be wrong. The song that incurred the wrath of the good pastor was “Yesterday.” Yes, that “Yesterday.”
I am not here to call Pastor Anderson as a religious zealot or conservative nutjob; I am not here to laugh at him. I sincerely want to thank the man. As a musician, teacher and fan of classic rock music, I feel concern that the genre is struggling to stay relevant. It often seems to me that younger generations see the Stones, Hendrix and Van Halen as passe, while older listeners cling to and revere their music to the point of making them museum pieces. However, if the Beatles* – and what everyone would have to consider one of their least threatening tracks – can still touch that much of a nerve, then truly rock music is not dead.
* We all know that Paul McCartney was the only Beatle who had any hand in creating “Yesterday”, but pointing that out in the body of this post didn’t seem necessary. I’ve included it as a footnote to save any music geeks reading this the trouble of emailing me with the correction. DL