Songs about the Crucifixion?
March 4, 2013 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Looking to make a playlist of songs that are about or reference the Crucifixion. Not looking for specifically religious songs, though I could see some gospel going well in this mix. References can be direct or very indirect. E.g., I'll take passing use of the word "Calvary", etc.

Let's get the obvious out of the way: Crucify by Tori Amos.

One that is slightly more oblique: Tomorrow Wendy by Concrete Blonde.

Okay—go.
posted by jeffamaphone to Media & Arts (62 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Ringfinger" ("You just leave me nailed here/hanging like Jesus on his cross") off Nine Inch Nails' Pretty Hate Machine.
posted by griphus at 10:56 AM on March 4, 2013


"Calvary," Levon Helm.
posted by MonkeyToes at 10:59 AM on March 4, 2013


Gethsemene in Jesus Christ Superstar (all about Jesus's decision to go through with the crucifixion) - though perhaps you're only looking for mainstream, non-broadway music.
posted by slide at 11:00 AM on March 4, 2013


Yup, lots of gospel hymns here, especially There is Power in the Blood and When I Survey the Wondrous Cross. Both of these have been recorded nicely by Susan Luchsinger, the sister of Reba McEntire.
posted by Melismata at 11:01 AM on March 4, 2013


"Calvary Cross," Richard & Linda Thompson.
posted by mattstan at 11:03 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Golgotha Tenement Blues" by Machines of Loving Grace
posted by sacrifix at 11:05 AM on March 4, 2013


Jars of Clay Liquid (just one of many in the contemporary Christian genre)
posted by The Deej at 11:05 AM on March 4, 2013


The Jim Carroll Band, Catholic Boy ("I understand the fate of all my enemies / I'm like Christ in the garden of Gethsemane")

The Psychedelic Furs, Imitation of Christ ("Another Christ is on the cross / The nails are words, the nails are lies / To make it crawl and make it scream / And make it real and make it bleed")
posted by scody at 11:07 AM on March 4, 2013


Sufjan Stevens treats the subject more obliquely in his song To Be Alone With You.
posted by rabbitbookworm at 11:07 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Crucifixion by Phil Ochs, which, while haunting, is also one of my top five favorite songs ever.
posted by General Malaise at 11:10 AM on March 4, 2013


If you are in fact taking on Broadway showtunes as well as mainstream music, you should include "Man Up" from The Book of Mormon.
posted by dlugoczaj at 11:13 AM on March 4, 2013


Oh, and can't forget the Stones' Sympathy for the Devil: "And I was 'round when Jesus Christ / Had his moment of doubt and pain / Made damn sure that Pilate / Washed his hands and sealed his fate."
posted by scody at 11:16 AM on March 4, 2013


"The Mercy Seat" by Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds or Johnny Cash.
posted by infinitewindow at 11:16 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gavin Bryars recorded a street person singing the refrain "Jesus' blood never failed me yet" over and over again, and set it to music. (That version has Tom Waits singing in the background.)

Nick Cave's song Darker With The Day (no youtube, I'm afraid) contains a line about "a gilled Jesus shivering on a fisherman's hook" which I always took to be an oblique reference to crucifixion.
posted by gauche at 11:17 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


U2 and B.B. King, When Love Comes To Town - for the last verse ("I was there when they crucified my Lord/I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword/I threw the dice when they pierced His side/But I've seen love conquer the great divide").

The title cut off Peter Gabriel's "Passion" album. "Passion" is based on the soundtrack Peter did for The Last Tempation of Christ, and "Passion" is the cut that was based on the music for the Crucifixion in the film.

I say "based on" as Peter likes to tinker with soundtracks after he does them, so by the time he does the album they're sometimes a little different.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:18 AM on March 4, 2013


"Dumb Love" by Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra (Road Gore, the Band that Drank Too Much).
posted by mazola at 11:18 AM on March 4, 2013


The dude you are looking for here is Craig Finn and his band is the Hold Steady.

"No Future" (I've been reading about the Calvary / the Crucifixion still gets to me / I guess Golgotha means the mount of execution)

"New Friend Jesus" (People say we suck at sports but they don't understand / it's hard to catch with holes right through your hands)

"Crucifixion Cruise" & follow-up "How a Resurrection Really Feels" from the Jesus-motif-filled concept album Separation Sunday

"Both Crosses" (At first she thought Judas might go for the mouth / she saw the nails and she saw the hands / She saw the blood and she heard the band)

…and many, many more.
posted by honey wheat at 11:21 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"By the Mark," Gillian Welch (I know you're less interested in gospel, but this song is awesome.)
posted by entropicamericana at 11:21 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and to mix it all to hell, Crucify by Agnostic Front.
posted by General Malaise at 11:21 AM on March 4, 2013


Leonard Cohen, Everybody Knows:

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:23 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Mercy Seat:
I hear stories from the chamber
Christ was born into a manger
And like some ragged stranger
He died upon the cross

Might I say, it seems so fitting in its way:
He was a carpenter by trade
Or at least that's what I'm told
Personally, though, I prefer Johnny Cash's cover version.
posted by Flunkie at 11:24 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Another one: Crowded House, Nails in My Feet (title and video imagery are obvious, but lyrics themselves are very oblique)
posted by scody at 11:30 AM on March 4, 2013


Banging in the Nails, by the Tiger Lillies, is my all time favorite crucifixion song. Pretty decent potential of offending the devout, just to warn you.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 11:31 AM on March 4, 2013


"Christ, you know it ain't easy
You know how hard it can be
The way things are goin'
They're gonna crucify me"
--Lennon/McCartney, "The Ballad of John and Yoko"
posted by kimota at 11:32 AM on March 4, 2013 [2 favorites]


Passing Through, this version sung by Pete Seeger.
posted by DMelanogaster at 11:35 AM on March 4, 2013


Reverend Beat-Man's Jesus Christ Twist?
posted by Ursula Hitler at 11:36 AM on March 4, 2013


There are lot's of songs called roll away the stone
posted by canoehead at 11:38 AM on March 4, 2013


1 from Springsteen:

Jesus Was an Only Son:
Jesus was an only son
As he walked up Calvary Hill
His mother Mary walking beside him
In the path where his blood spilled
Jesus was an only son
In the hills of Nazareth
As he lay reading the Psalms of David
At his mother's feet
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:47 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Leonard Cohen – Suzanne:
And Jesus was a sailor
When he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching
From his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain
Only drowning men could see him
He said "All men will be sailors then
Until the sea shall free them"
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:48 AM on March 4, 2013


for crucify, there's "Tonight, Tonight" by The Smashing Pumpkins: "Crucify the insincere tonight"

the crucifixion is also referred to in the song "Jesus Christ" by Brand New (lyrics): "But I’m scared I’ll get scared and I swear I’ll try to nail you back up" & "we all got wood and nails"

something with "cavalry" is bumping around in my brain but I can't recall. will continue to ponder.
posted by changeling at 11:56 AM on March 4, 2013


"Once Upon the Cross" by Deicide (and probably a lot of other ones by them.)

Blasphemy laughs at thee
Jesus, you've been deceived
Struggling on the cross
Gagging to breathe


Cult by Slayer, from the album Christ Illusion. Probably a lot of other ones by them too.

The pestilence is Jesus Christ
There never was a sacrifice
No man upon the crucifix
Beware the cult of purity
Infectious imbecility
I've made my choice. Six! Six! Six!


Eulogy by Tool:

Come down.
Get off your fuckin cross.
We need the fuckin space to nail the next fool martyr.

To ascend you must die.
You must be crucified
For our sins and our lies.
Goodbye!


Tori Amos, Crucify

I've been raising up my hands drive another nail in
Just what God needs one more victim
Why do we crucify ourselves?
Everyday I crucify myself
And nothing I do is good enough for you
I crucify myself



posted by TheRedArmy at 11:56 AM on March 4, 2013


If you don't mind them being delightfully blasphemous, Eulogy by Tool.
posted by lydhre at 11:57 AM on March 4, 2013


Stone Roses, "Love Spreads"

Love spreads her arms, waits there for the nails
"I forgive you, boy, I will prevail"
...
Let me put you in the picture, let me show you what I mean
The messiah is my sister, ain't no king, man, she's my queen
posted by Flannery Culp at 11:57 AM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus was a Crossmaker by Judee Sill.
posted by dortmunder at 12:15 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Softly Moses, by Erin McKeown

"I wish I could die for thee,
on a technicolor cavalary."
posted by wg at 12:18 PM on March 4, 2013


"Lover's Cross" Jim Croce
posted by Billiken at 12:20 PM on March 4, 2013


Gloria, Patti Smith: "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine."
posted by stebulus at 12:37 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


The very odd R.E.M. ditty Voice of Harold includes lyrics which singer Michael Stipe apparently read off the back of a gospel album, including:

Charles Surratt introduces his own composition "On Calvary For Me"

-and-

The pure tenor quality of the voice of Harold Montgomery gives a special interpretation to the grand old hymn "The Old Rugged Cross"
posted by jabes at 12:51 PM on March 4, 2013


Possibly a stretch for your purposes, but the Tom Waits tune, "Come on Up to the House" has a great line about metaphorical crucifixion: "All your cryin' don't do no good...come down off the cross, we could use the wood."
posted by voiceofreason at 12:52 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jesus Christ Pose - Soundgarden

And that's the official video too. Someone must have been seriously messed up.
posted by theichibun at 1:17 PM on March 4, 2013


In the musical (and film) Godspell, the song "Finale" is sung by Jesus (answered by the rest of the cast) as he's being crucified.
posted by theatro at 1:23 PM on March 4, 2013


Speaking of films, what about Always Look on the Bright Side of Life?
posted by scody at 1:34 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


These are all great. Can't wait to get home and sort through it all. Broadway is totally acceptable.
posted by jeffamaphone at 1:42 PM on March 4, 2013


Grant Hart, "The Main":
She was so crucified by the end of the day
With her head in her hands she decided to pray
Jesus Christ topped the list of the most wanted souls
Like De Quincey he died with his arms full of holes

posted by cowboy_sally at 2:18 PM on March 4, 2013


Dave Matthews Band - Christmas Song (basically the story of Jesus)

When Jesus Christ was nailed to his tree
Said "oh, Daddy-o, I can see how it all soon will be
I came to shed a little light on this darkening scene
Instead I fear I've spilled the blood of my children all around"
The blood of our children all around
The blood of our children all around

posted by pised at 2:44 PM on March 4, 2013


Firewater - Bourbon & Division

Friday was the crucifixion
Saturday, cremation under glass
The resurrection was on Sunday
No, correction, make it Monday
'Cause Monday's when they come to take the trash

posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:30 PM on March 4, 2013


My mom used to listen to "Via Dolorosa" by Sandy Patti non-stop. It is incredibly schmaltzy, be forewarned.
posted by tacodave at 3:50 PM on March 4, 2013


The dude you are looking for here is Craig Finn and his band is the Hold Steady.

"No Future" yt (I've been reading about the Calvary / the Crucifixion still gets to me / I guess Golgotha means the mount of execution)

"New Friend Jesus" yt (People say we suck at sports but they don't understand / it's hard to catch with holes right through your hands)

"Crucifixion Cruise" & follow-up "How a Resurrection Really Feels" yt from the Jesus-motif-filled concept album Separation Sunday

"Both Crosses" yt (At first she thought Judas might go for the mouth / she saw the nails and she saw the hands / She saw the blood and she heard the band)

…and many, many more.


Well, I missed my one chance for my obsession to be relevant for once.

Does the song need to be officially released? Against Me! have been playing Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Christ live, and somebody has already transcribed lyrics.

They made me think of the musical Hedwig & The Angry Inch and Nailed: By the gold light of your halo I wanna nail ya
Give you lovin' and devotion that won't ever fail ya
Wanna run my mouth over your wounds
And fall on the ground
And the holes in your hands and your feet they help to nail you down

Nail ya down
Nailed
Nailed
Nailed
They made you Christ to get ya nailed
When you hover in the night like a holy vision
With the crimson and the purple of your incision
Wanna run my fingers through your hair and over your pale skin
On the fringe, shit, Jesus Christ man, you sure wanna nail ya

posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:02 PM on March 4, 2013


I think the chorus of Nick Cave's Oh My Lord references Jesus' words to God when he's on the Cross. I feel like there's more of his songs than just this and Mercy Seat though.

I knew that Titus Andronicus, with their love of the Hold Steady and melodrama, couldn't resist this metaphor and I finally found a Christ lyric in 'Arms Against Atrophy':

It ain't hard to see that it's not that way, not that way anymore. Jesus Christ is suffering upon his cross tonight. I just sit outside waiting for frost to bite. "It's always this way," she says on her way out the door. Wait and see. The rest is yet to reveal itself to me.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:14 PM on March 4, 2013


A Perfect Circle's Judith.

It's not like you killed someone
it's not like you drove a spiteful spear into his side
Pray to the one who left you broken down and paralyzed
He did it all for you.

posted by bfranklin at 4:40 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


There's a lot of this in emo/pop punk/metalcore:

Bring Me The Horizon - Crucify Me

Brand New - Jesus/Jesus Christ:

Well, Jesus Christ, I'm alone again
So what did you do those three days you were dead?
'cause this problem's gonna last more than the weekend.

Well, Jesus Christ, I'm not scared to die,
I'm a little bit scared of what comes after
Do I get the gold chariot?
Do I float through the ceiling?

Do I divide and fall apart?
'cause my bright is too slight to hold back all my dark
And the ship went down in sight of land
And at the gates does Thomas ask to see my hands

I know you're coming in the night like a thief
But I've had some time, O Lord, to hone my lying technique
I know you think that I'm someone you can trust
But I'm scared I'll get scared and I swear I'll try to nail you back up


Green Day - Jesus of Suburbia:

I'm the son of rage and love
The Jesus of Suburbia
From the bible of none of the above
On a steady diet of
Soda pop and Ritalin
No one ever died for my sins in hell
As far as I can tell
At least the ones I got away with

And there's nothing wrong with me
This is how I'm supposed to be
In a land of make believe
That don't believe in me

Get my television fixed
Sitting on my crucifix
The living room or my private womb
While the Moms and Brads are away
To fall in love and fall in debt
To alcohol and cigarettes
And Mary Jane
To keep me insane,
Doing someone else's cocaine

posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 4:54 PM on March 4, 2013


"Carry on my wayward son"-Kansas
Many people don't realize Kansas is a Christian rock band
posted by irish01 at 5:53 PM on March 4, 2013


"Christ, himself, upon the cross
Said to the guy who banged in the nail,
'Mate, things they can't be all that bad
When Derryn Hinch goes to jail.'"

The Penis Is Mightier Than The Sword - TISM
posted by pompomtom at 6:15 PM on March 4, 2013


Carman's This Blood's for You
posted by soelo at 6:17 PM on March 4, 2013


Deerhunter - Calvary Scars
This Moment In Black History - Nailed to the Cross
posted by hydrophonic at 8:06 PM on March 4, 2013


Selling The Drama by Live:
And to Christ, a cross
And to me, a chair
I will sit and earn the ransom from up here
posted by mbrubeck at 9:42 PM on March 4, 2013


"Dime Store Mystery" by Lou Reed.
posted by mzurer at 10:40 PM on March 4, 2013


Alabama 3, 2129:

you fell into the arms of Mary Magdalene
stain of stigmata on your hands
when the sky fell down on Calvary
I saw the light shining in your eyes, yeah


(And probably some more Alabama 3, since they're really into the semi-ironic use of Christianity).
posted by novalis_dt at 11:32 PM on March 4, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Jesus Christ" by Woody Guthrie.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:34 AM on March 5, 2013


(It'll take me a while to mark all the best answers, so please don't be offended if I haven't gotten to you yet.)
posted by jeffamaphone at 5:45 PM on March 5, 2013


There is no Tool on spotify. -_-
posted by jeffamaphone at 4:12 PM on March 7, 2013


Jonny Lang and the Fisk Jubilee Singers, "I Believe." Rockin' and stompin.' "Because He made a way for me/When He died on Calvary..."
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:05 PM on March 10, 2013


« Older Can you re-polish marble tiles in-situ?   |   Should I get teeth extracted, or do I keep them? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.