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Tag Archives: Music Television

Allowing Relationships to go Their Own Separate Ways

Separate Ways debuted in 1983, two years after Music Television was launched on August 1st, 1981.  This Journey song was recorded on the Frontier’s album, peaking at #8 on the Billboard’s Top 100 chart.  While Separate Ways did reach #1 for four weeks on the Top Tracks Chart, there is more to this song Behind the Music.  The lyrics of Separate Ways was inspired by the painful break ups and divorces Journey band members experienced.

After some time Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the brothers and sisters (believers) in every city where we preached the message of the Lord, and see how they are doing.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take [his cousin] John, who was called Mark, along with them, Acts 15:36-37.

I experienced divorce for the first time when my neighbor’s mom got divorced twice in a three year period.  Spending every other week or once a month with your father must be confusing and difficult for any teenager.  Meanwhile, when the stability of a family collapses, fear of broken and severed relationships leave soul spirit hurts behind.  When I researched Separate Ways, Worlds Apart is italicized like a sub-title that becomes a reality when relationships go their own separate ways.

But Paul kept insisting that they should not take along with them the one who had quit and deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone on with them to the work. 39 And it became such a sharp disagreement that they separated from one another, and Barnabas took [John] Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, Acts 15:38-39.

The Bible refers to a different type of separate ways in the passage above.  Luke highlights a disagreement between Barnabas and Paul over missionary partners.  Barnabas allowed family ties to blind him from his cousin’s desertion during their first missionary journey.  While Paul does forgive John Mark in future epistles, he was unwilling to take the risk of relying on someone who recently abandoned the mission field.  Subsequently, Paul and Barnabas go their own separate ways, serving the Lord in their own unique manner.  While I am sure there were hurt feelings by both parties, sometimes it’s better to go your own separate ways.

by Jay Mankus

Music and Lyrics

As a former song writer of A Simple Confession, I enjoy watching documentaries on musicians.  When Music Television first launched in 1983, one of my favorite programs was Behind the Music.  This show interviewed lead singers and song writers, revealing the inspiration behind the lyrics of their songs.  When I watched the 2007 film Music and Lyrics, I was inspired to begin working on a new song or album.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God, Colossians 3:16.

Hugh Grant plays a washed up singer living on the coattails of his past, playing wherever fans crave music from the 1980’s.  When his agent receives a call from a famous pop star, Grant is given a couple days to compose a chart-topping hit for this teen sensation.  Drew Barrymore serves as a replacement plant sitter, interrupting Grant’s session with his lyricist.  When Barrymore begins to put these lyrics into a catchy melody, she is hired to complete this song.

Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, Ephesians 5:19.

The Bible mentions the power of music and lyrics.  When David played his harp for King Saul, the sound uplifted his soul.  The prophet Samuel claims that music soothes the soul.  While Huey Lewis sang about the Power of Love in 1996, the Bible is filled with examples of how music encourages, inspires and uplifts hearts.  As individuals meditate on the word of God, hymns, melodies and spiritual songs, the Lord will put a new song upon or within your heart and mind to share with others.

by Jay Mankus


The Days That Music Died

In his prime, Buddy Holly produced some of the most distinctive and influential rock music of the 1950’s.  Inspired by Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly went from playing at a local roller skating rink in Lubbock, Texas to the top of the billboard charts.  Songs like Peggy Sue and That’ll Be The Day led to his stardom until a 1959 plane crash ended his life before reaching his 23rd birthday.  American folk star Don McLean was so touched by this tragedy he wrote the song American Pie in 1971 recounting the day music died in this disaster.

Music was reborn 10 years later on August 1st, 1981 as Music Television first aired in New York City.  As cable television went national in the early 1980’s, the art of music was brought back to life through on stage interviews, behind the scenes programs on upcoming album releases and the creation of music videos.  During my junior high days, I went to a friends every day after school until 5pm so I could be informed on my favorite groups and their new songs.  This was musics second hey day, spawning an entire generation, yet this too would come to pass.

While artists come and go, dying of natural and unnatural causes, the second death of music is more subtle.  Some where in the past 30 years, music has been corrupted by sex appeal.  In an attempt to hold an audiences’ attention, music videos continue to push the envelope, developing more into a 3-4 minute adult film than a music video.  Although must consumers download songs from places like itunes, album covers still exist.  Instead of a pissing contest, female musicians appear to be competing in a beauty pageant, seeing who can reveal more of their body without being accused of pornography.

Yes, music in America is on life support, waiting for the next Buddy Holly to rescue it.  While Super Bowl half time shows will continue, we need a true leader to arise, saying enough is enough with these wardrobe malfunctions.  Doesn’t any artist have some integrity or guts to save lyrics from sexual immorality?  God is waiting, like in the days of Ezekiel, for someone to stand in the gap of morality, Ezekiel 22:30.  In the words of M.C. Hammer, Pray!

by Jay Mankus

song writer of A Simple Confession, 1994

Escaping the Ghosts of Christmas Past

Scrooged Poster

Movies like Elf, Home Alone, A Wonderful Life and Miracle of 34th Street have become an annual Christmas tradition for many American families.  While some people have become dependent on these movies to get them into the Christmas spirit, there is another classic which reveals a painful truth.  While fiction, Billy Murray’s version of Scrooged illuminates the fact that everyone has skeletons, ghosts of Christmas past.

Prior to 2012, I spent the previous 10 years in a bubble as a Christian school teacher, insulated from most of the temptations of this world.  Although not perfect, cursing was minimal, most of my interactions with parents were civil and I shared similar values with my co-workers.  Like the apostle Paul on his visit to Athens in Acts 17:16, 2012 has opened my eyes to the idols in our culture.  These images bring me back to my life prior to knowing Jesus, attractive to things like Music Television, R-rated movies and anything sports related.  These skeletons can haunt you, brought up by Satan just as ghosts haunted Billy Murray in Scrooged.

When attacked by these old desires, you have to flee or else ruin will follow, James 4:7.  This escape is not complete until God cleanses your heart and mind, James 4:8.  As you wrestle with your past, things like bad habits, past addictions, ungodly beliefs and soul spirit hurts, read passages like Galatians 2:20 and Philippians 1:21 to keep you on track.  These biblical truths should refresh minds of your new identity in Christ.  I can’t guarantee victory 100 % of the time, but I do hold fast to the promise of Romans 8:38-39 to insure success in the end.  If you run with a Hebrews 12:1-3 attitude, you should be able to escape the ghosts of your past!

by Jay Mankus


Ahead of Their Time: Kyrie

During the 1980’s, there was a spiritual wind that blew through the lyrics of several groups.  U2 ‘s The Unforgetable Album Fire album featured 7 songs with a biblical message.  Mike and the Mechanics created songs that spoke from their hearts, dealing with real life issues.  Even MC Hammer joined the fray with his hit Pray.  However, one of the most powerful song lyrics of this decade is Kyrie from Mr. Mister‘s album Welcome to the Real World.

As I work my daily 10 hour shift, music from the 80’s often echo throughout the warehouse.  Although the genres change from shift to shift, songs from this decade seem to be ahead of their time.  The title Kyrie is a Greek word which actually refers to a form of prayer, “Lord, have mercy.”   While kyrie if often a spoken prayer, Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox and Anglican churches still sing these words as a part of their mass.

My first observation of Kyrie is why would a secular group write a song which means Lord have mercy.  Did the song writer foresee the error of his generation?  Was the lead singer trying to find forgiveness for something he regretted earlier in life?  Or did the group as a whole become aware of their own sinful and wrecked state, recognizing a need for God’s help?  Regardless of the answer to these questions, one thing is certain, Mr. Mister was comprised of  musicians ahead of their time, not afraid to proclaim Kyrie, Lord have mercy!

by Jay Mankus

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