As I was writing the song analysis for Gungor's "People of God", I started thinking about The Beatles' influence on the music of Gungor. I searched for Beatles songs on YouTube and ended up at this video for "All You Need Is Love". While I watched the video and thought about the lyrics, I had to ask the question: Did Gungor interject Beatles-esque musical elements into "People of God" as an allusion to "All You Need Is Love"?
Nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you in time.
All you need is love.
"All You Need Is Love" was written and performed in 1967 for Our World, the first live global television link (satellites were kind of new back in '67). Lennon later said it was a global propaganda piece. (1) Written in the middle of an arms race, a space race, and technology race, Lennon is pointing out: hey, that thing you think makes you special, isn't really all that special. Let's quit competing with one another and come together in love.
"People of God" is saying essentially the same thing, except while Lennon came from a humanistic point of view, Gungor is coming from Christ's perspective.
I was reading in Matthew 7 this morning. Jesus was admonishing the Pharisees to take the log out of their own eye before pointing out the speck in their brother's. It is a similar admonishment that Gungor is making to the Church: avoid valuing your achievement, your gifts, or your dogma over love. Take verse one:
We can have tongues of angels
We can move mountains with our faith
We could give everything away
But if we have not love we're left with nothing.
The Beatles are a band's band. They stretched the boundaries of what 60s rock and roll was and forged what would come. Unlike typical rock, pop, or worship music today, The Beatles experimented with instrumentation, harmony, rhythms, and time signatures. For instance, "All You Need Is Love" goes back and forth between 3/4 and 4/4 throughout the verses and shifts tonalities between the verses and the choruses.
Gungor is bringing this same spirit of artistic expression back to christian/worship music. A few Beatles-esque devices found in "People of God":
- At the introduction, the major I chord to the minor iii chord progression along with the repeated piano pattern and glockenspiel (bells) create a mood that is reminiscent of The Beatles.
- At the end of verse three, Gungor uses what sounds like a Mellotron flute sample. This is the same sound the Beatles use in "Strawberry Fields Forever" (except they used a real Mellotron!). This flute is also used by Gungor in the bridge and the final bars.
- The bridge:
-the major III chord
-the pulsing quarter note feel
-the chromatic walk down in bar two
-more Mellotron flute
-and the ascending melodic minor scale at the end
All of these make the bridge shout "Beatles" to me.
When Gungor hits the bridge, the parallels become pretty convincing to me. I've outlined the musical elements of the bridge, but the lyrics!
Tear down the walls that divide us;
Let love come in and unite us.
All we need is, all we need is love.
I'd love to know if my hunch is correct. Michael Gungor, you out there? I'd love to know at what point the Beatles entered into the conversation when creating "People of God". Maybe it's a big coincidence, and I'm the first to bring it up. But I doubt it.
1 - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/All_you_need_is_love
Question: Do you think "People of God" has ties to the Beatles? What are other examples of Beatles influence on Christian/worship musicians?