Final words

No, not MY final words! David Cassidy’s!

If you’re a Baby Boomer like me, the news of the death of David Cassidy at the age of 67 on November 21st may have struck a chord with you.

Cassidy was a cast member of “The Partridge Family” television show, which ran on ABC from 1970 to 1974 and featured Shirley Jones, Cassidy, Susan Dey, and Danny Bonaduce as a single mother and her children trying to make it as a rock and roll band.

The show was pretty successful, although I would have never admitted to watching it. The music was strictly for teeny-boppers while I saw myself as a cool teen by that time who only listened to FM rock. Truth be told, I may have watched “just a few” episodes, if no one was around, to check out actress, Susan Dey. I thought it was a bit strange that Keith Partridge (Cassidy) obviously spent more time on his hairdoo than his sister, Laurie (Dey).

The show launched Cassidy into the entertainment stratosphere with every pre-teen girl in the country falling in love with him. But Cassidy could never shake his television character persona. Try as he might to escape it, Cassidy would always be Keith Partridge to his fans. The dictionary featured a photo of Cassidy next to the word, “typecast.” David kept singing in small venues right up until the end of his life, but the one song his fans showed up for was the Partridges’ #1 hit, “I Think I Love You.” Cassidy descended into drugs and alcohol to cope with his bitter disappointment and frustration.

Following the news of Cassidy’s death, I saw the story below in which Danny Bonaduce had some comments regarding his former co-star. On Cassidy’s frustration with his career, Bonaduce said, “He never did get the life he wanted. It really was a tragedy…And I heard his last words were, ‘So much wasted time.'”

[Sigh]

Those are some SAD last words. Of all the countless millions of people who ever picked up a microphone or guitar, probably 99.9% of them wished they had a fraction of the worldly success that Cassidy did, but it didn’t bring him fulfillment. This life is full of personal accomplishments and failures, but in the end they don’t matter for much. The only hope in this life is Jesus Christ. I accepted the Lord thirty-four years ago and my hope is in Him. When I’m laying on my death bed, unless the Lord chooses another exit ramp for me, my last words will be, “Take me home, Lord Jesus! Thank you, Lord Jesus!” What a blessed Hope believers have!!! The unsaved have no Shepherd to cling to through the valley of death.

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” – Psalm 116:15


Danny Bonaduce on ‘Partridge Family’ Pal David Cassidy: “He Never Did Get the Life He Wanted”
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/danny-bonaduce-on-partridge-family-pal-david-cassidy-he-never-did-get-the-life-he-wanted-guest-column/ar-BBFVpMt

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The Byrds in minute detail

Today, I’m taking a break from theological matters, but believers know that all things lead back to Christ.

Byrds: Requiem For The Timeless: Volume 2
By Johnny Rogan
R/H Publishing, 2017, 1248 pages

When my oldest sister came back home from college for the “holidays” in 1969, she brought her small LP collection with her. I took a listen to one of the albums, the one with three hippies sitting on a dilapidated couch on the cover, and became an instant fan of “Crosby, Stills, and Nash.” Being the Asperger’s nerd that I am, I wasn’t content with just casually enjoying the group’s music, I had to immerse myself in it, which meant delving into two of the trio’s previous bands; Buffalo Springfield and the Byrds.

The Byrds came to be in 1964 when young folk musicians, Jim McGuinn (lead guitar and vocals), Gene Clark (vocals), David Crosby (rhythm guitar and vocals), Chris Hillman (bass), and Michael Clarke (drums) caught the excitement of Beatlemania and charted a new course somewhere between Bob Dylan and John Lennon. Folk rock was born. This was significant because, up to that time, rock and roll music was considered to be strictly for teeny-boppers and beneath the dignity of “intellectual” college students. By adding a rock beat to folk sensibilities, the Byrds bridged the gap between rock and folk (strongly influencing both Dylan and the Beatles) and ensured rock music would be the soundtrack of the growing youth counter culture movement.

The Byrds peaked in 1965-1966 with two number-one singles, “Mr. Tamborine Man” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!,” but the group actually enjoyed a long (1965-1973) and prolific (twelve albums) run. Although they’d become largely passé in the minds of fickle audiences by 1967, the Byrds continued to blaze trails by introducing different musical genres into rock, including jazz, Indian raga, psychedelia, and country. That kind of pioneering legacy encouraged a solid following that continues today.

By 1968, Jim/Roger McGuinn was the only remaining original member. Hired hands came and went. The band continued to tour and record albums, but the output was incomparable to that of the original line-up.

Byrds aficionado, Johnny Rogan, detailed much of the Byrds’ history in the 1200-page tome, “Byrds: Requiem For The Timeless: Volume 1, which was published in 2012. A 1200-page book about a rock-and-roll band, you ask incredulously? Ah, it was a feast for fans, but quite a bit of emphasis was given to best-known members, Messrs. McGuinn, Crosby, and Hillman as might be expected.

In this 1248-page follow-up, Rogan devotes individual chapters to the remaining charter members, Gene Clark (d. 1991) and Michael Clarke (d. 1993), as well as to hired-hands, Kevin Kelley (d. 2002), Gram Parsons (d. 1973), Clarence White (d. 1973), and Skip Battin (d. 2003). All six of these men are deceased; the deaths of the first four were directly attributable to drug and alcohol abuse while White was killed in an accident and Battin succumbed to Alzheimer’s, but those two were also more-than-casual users.

Because the abuse of drugs and alcohol was a common theme among all six men, their stories are similar in many respects. Their professional and personal lives suffered dearly. Relationships with their wives and children were sadly broken. These men were talented musicians and Clark, Parsons, and White especially still have enthusiastic followers, but much of their talent went unfulfilled.

Rogan regrets that he was not able to devote chapters to the two surviving hired-hands, John York and Gene Parsons, so this book unfortunately has a glaring deficiency. Maybe Rogan should have trimmed some of the excessively detailed descriptions of the drug habits of the six and squeezed in York and Parsons? Just sayin’.

Nobody but a true Byrds fan would enjoy this gigantic opus so you may want to think twice before you head over to Amazon.

Additional thoughts from a believer

The Byrds included many Gospel-themed songs in their recorded repertoire and that had an unsettling effect on me as an unbeliever. Band leader, Roger McGuinn, hit rock bottom with his drug use in 1977 and accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. “Oh, no,” I thought. “McGuinn has become one of those born-agains.” I accepted Christ six years later.

Tom Petty and “Playing Dumb” in the Catholic church

 

Overshadowed by the horrific mass shootings in Las Vegas last Sunday evening was the news of the death of popular rock and roller, Tom Petty, on Monday.

Petty started out as a big fan of The Byrds. His second single, “American Girl,” sounded so Byrds-ish that when it hit the airwaves in 1977, Roger McGuinn, former leader of the Byrds, scratched his head and wondered when HE had recorded the song. Petty would go on to record a total of 16 albums (with the Heartbreakers and solo) that sold over 20 million total copies.

From all that I can tell, Tom Petty was an atheist. But on his 2014 album, “Hypnotic Eye,” he included a song called “Playing Dumb,” a scathing indictment of the Catholic church and it’s “handling” of the pedophile priest scandal and hierarchical cover-up. The video is actually worth a listen and a watch (lyrics and graphics included). If nothing else, it’s a good example of how an atheist views corrupt, institutional (c)hristianity.

Yup, man-made religion will ALWAYS let people down. It’s not the way to salvation. People need to trust in Jesus Christ as their Savior! He will NEVER let you down.

♫ “When I walk through the storm, You’ll be my guide” ♫

 

One of my favorite songs growing up in the 1960s was “I’ll Never Find Another You” by Australian folk quartet, The Seekers, which was released at the end of 1964 and peaked at #4 on the U.S. singles charts. Lead singer, Judith Durham, could really belt out a tune. I know I sound like an old coot when I say this, but they just don’t make music like this anymore.

At first take, most would interpret the tune strictly as a romantic love song, but there’s also a spiritual dimension and I now like to think of this as a song of love for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The only qualifier is, I know I will never lose His love. Take a listen and you’ll see what I mean. It really tugs at my heartstrings. Thank you, Jesus.

I’ll Never Find Another You
Written by Tom Springfield

There’s a new world somewhere
They call the promised land
And I’ll be there someday
If you could hold my hand
I still need you there beside me
No matter what I do
For I know I’ll never find another you

There is always someone
For each of us, they say
And you’ll be my someone
Forever and a day
I could search the whole world over
Until my life is through
But I know I’ll never find another you

It’s a long, long journey
So stay by my side
When I walk through the storm
You’ll be my guide, be my guide
If they gave me a fortune
My pleasure would be small
I could lose it all tomorrow
And never mind at all
But if I should lose your love, dear
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you

But if I should lose your love, dear
I don’t know what I’d do
For I know I’ll never find another you
Another you, another you

Question: When George Harrison was singing, “My Sweet Lord,” who was he singing to?

Answer: No one

Yesterday, I wrote about the Hindu god, Ganesha, being worshiped in a Roman Catholic church. See here. Really strange stuff. That got me to thinking a bit more about Hinduism.

Readers of this blog know I was a big fan of The Byrds rock and roll band way back in the day. They were a pretty innovative bunch and explored many musical styles. One of the band’s members, David Crosby, was a big fan of Indian sitar player, Ravi Shankar. This was before Shankar got a lot of recognition at the Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. Crosby would constantly play Shankar’s albums to bandmate, Roger McGuinn, which influenced the lead guitarist to attempt to mimic the drone of the sitar on his twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar on several songs featured on the band’s third album, “Fifth Dimension” (1966).

Crosby had also shared his enthusiasm for Shankar with Beatles guitarist, George Harrison. To say Harrison became infatuated with the sitar and Hinduism would be an understatement. Harrison introduced the sitar to rock and roll audiences with “Norwegian Wood” (from “Rubber Soul,” 1965), “Love You To” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” (from “Revolver,” 1966), and “Within You, Without You” (from “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” 1967). Harrison was indoctrinated deeply into Hinduism by Maharishi (“great seer”) Mahesh Yogi and subsequently embraced the Hare Krishna sect. Literally hundreds of millions of Westerners were introduced to Hinduism and Eastern religions through the music of one person, George Harrison.

Perhaps Harrison’s most famous ode to his new religion was the song, “My Sweet Lord” (from “All Things Must Pass,” 1970). If you’re a Baby Boomer then you know the melody and words of this one pretty well, but I’m guessing many of the lyrics sung in the background went right over your head as they did mine.

Let’s take a look at the lyrics of the last half of the song, with the backing vocals in commas, accompanied by reference numbers that link to notes further below. Got all that? It’s actually pretty simple once you see how I have it laid out. Okay, here we go…

Hm, my lord (hare Krishna) – 1
My, my, my lord (hare Krishna)
Oh hm, my sweet lord (Krishna, Krishna)
Oh-uuh-uh (hare, hare)

Now, I really want to see you (hare Rama) – 2
Really want to be with you (hare Rama)
Really want to see you lord (aaah)
But it takes so long, my lord (hallelujah)

Hm, my lord (hallelujah)
My, my, my lord (hare Krishna)
My sweet lord (hare Krishna)
My sweet lord (Krishna, Krishna)
My lord (hare, hare)
Hm, hm (Guru Brahman) – 3
Hm, hm (Guru Vishnu) – 4
Hm, hm (Guru Devo) – 5
Hm, hm (Maheshwara) – 5
My sweet lord (Guru Saakshaat) – 6
My sweet lord (Parabrahma) – 6
My, my, my lord (Tasmai Sri) – 7
My, my, my, my lord (Gurave Namah) – 7
My sweet lord (hare Rama)

Those are a lot of really strange words you’ve been humming along to all these years, right? But guess what? You’re about to find out what all those strange words mean, thanks to the internet and a little perseverance!

  1. Hare Krishna – Is an appeal/prayer to the supreme energy (hare) of the Hindu god, Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the god, Vishnu, and also a supreme god in his own right.
  2. Hare Rama – Is an appeal/prayer to the supreme energy (hare) of the god, Rama, the seventh incarnation of the same Vishnu mentioned above. My, so many different incarnations to keep track of!
  3. Guru Brahman – (gu-ru, literally means “darkness remover,” i.e., teacher) – the teacher/creator god.
  4. Guru Vishnu – the teacher/preserver god.
  5. Guru Devo Maheshwara (also known as Shiva) – the teacher/force of destruction or transformation god. Brahman, Vishnu, and Devo (Shiva) mentioned above are the “Trimurti” or triad of Hinduism’s major gods.
  6. Guru Saakshaat Parabrahma – the incarnation of the supreme god.
  7. Tasmai Sri Gurave Namah – means, “Teacher god, I bow to you from my soul.”

Notice that Harrison alternated the “hallelujah” familiar to Christians and “hare Krishna” throughout the song. That was no accident. In his autobiography, Harrison stated that his intention was to convey to the listeners that the two terms meant “quite the same thing,” as well as prompting them to chant the Hindu mantra “before they knew what was going on!” “My Sweet Lord” climbed to #1 on the U.S. singles charts in December 1970 and remained there for four weeks. Millions of teeny boppers and young adults all over the world were moved to chant “Hare Krishna” over and over again along with the song.

Anybody remember all those bald-headed Hare Krishna dudes in saffron robes who used to hang out at airports asking for money? One evening back in the late 70s, I was coming out of a Lum’s restaurant (remember the Ollie Burger?) and a young Hare Krishna member wearing a woman’s wig and an army surplus jacket tried to recruit me. He kept bringing up George Harrison’s connection to the sect as a selling point, but I didn’t want anything to do with shaving my head and wearing those saffron robes. I’m glad I didn’t fall for that stuff, but I was already on my journey to accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior a few years later.

Hinduism has certainly gone mainstream with all those Deepak Chopra books, yoga, transcendental meditation, the growing popularity of reincarnation, and the belief in karma. Can you think of any other examples?

They say there’s 300 million Hindu gods so you would need a computer to keep track of them all. But the bottom line for Hinduism is it’s another works religion just like all the rest of them (including apostate Roman Catholicism). Only Biblical Christianity proclaims the genuine Good News! of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

“Salvation is found in no one else (besides Jesus), for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

What are the beliefs of Hinduism?
https://carm.org/hinduism-beliefs

♫ Don’t you write her off like that, she’s a real fine lady, don’t you see. ♫

In the Wings: My Life with Roger McGuinn and The Byrds
By Ianthe McGuinn
New Haven Publishing, 2017, 234 pages

Generally, when Baby Boomers hear a reference to the 1960s rock and roll group, The Byrds, they usually think about the band’s #1 singles, “Mr. Tambourine Man” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” But The Byrds had an amazing influence on popular music that transcended the singles charts. The band is credited with pioneering folk rock, jazz rock, psychedelic rock, raga rock, and country rock. An interesting and talented cast of characters were members at one time or another, including David Crosby, Gene Clark, Chris Hillman, Gram Parsons, and Clarence White, a rather impressive roster. But the mainstay throughout the band’s twelve albums recorded over nine years (1965-1973) was guitarist, Jim (later Roger) McGuinn. It was McGuinn’s chiming Rickenbacker twelve-string guitar and Crosby’s high harmony vocals that gave The Byrds’ their unique, signature sound.

In this book, McGuinn’s second wife, Ianthe (aka Dolores DeLeon Tickner), gives a personal account of her relationship with Roger and the other members of the band. Ianthe met McGuinn prior to the release of “Mr. Tambourine Man” in April 1965, when he was still a struggling musician. She was a waitress at a music club and McGuinn and the other members of the fledgling Byrds used to stop by frequently for a free meal. Ianthe pursued McGuinn and the two began a relationship, resulting in a son, and were eventually married in late 1966. The couple had another son and Ianthe stayed home to raise the children while Roger continued to tour regularly. But Roger’s repeated marital infidelities, increasingly habitual drug use, and disinterest in his family led to the couple’s separation in 1971 and eventual divorce.

Fans of the band will enjoy many of Ianthe’s insights into McGuinn and the other Byrds that you won’t find anywhere else. Roger was a classic introvert and was often unsuited by temperament to lead the band. One of the reasons the Byrds ventured into so many different musical styles was due to McGuinn’s passivity in response to the pressures of other band members.

Ianthe is definitely not kind to Roger in these pages. She reports that her ex-husband had zero contact with his two sons for four years while they were growing up. He also missed many child support payments as the gigs became fewer and farther between. This book is definitely payback. But why did she wait so long? Roger and Ianthe are both 75. The hurt is obviously still very strong and Ianthe recognized her opportunity to piggy-back this book with Johnny Rogan’s long-awaited “Byrds: Requiem for the Timeless, Volume 2,” also published this month. Ianthe, unfortunately, gets a bit too personal with some of her memories, bordering on outright salaciousness, but she clearly is out for Roger’s blood and is willing to pull out all of the stops, even at the risk of embarrassing herself.

As I mentioned in a previous post, McGuinn hit rock bottom in 1977 and accepted Jesus Christ as His Savior. Praise God! But even though our sins are forgiven when we trust in Christ, we must still deal with the after effects of our sin. In our disobedience to God, we hurt ourselves and others and sometimes that damage has far-reaching consequences in this life.

The last few pages of the book recount how Ianthe received an invitation in 2008 to spend Thanksgiving with Roger’s mother. Roger’s parents had remained on good terms with Ianthe after the divorce and were loving grandparents to the two boys. But Ianthe hadn’t seen Roger since 1995, when their youngest son, Henry was married. As Ianthe walked into the house, she relates that she was immediately bowled over by Roger’s forceful wife, who begged her to forgive him, while Roger stood by sheepishly. Ouch! Well, that’s Ianthe’s version of what happened. Ianthe states that she agreed to forgive her ex-husband at that time, just to smooth over an awkward situation, but this book is a testimony to her lingering re$entment.

In addition to the sometimes long-lasting effects of sin, the other moral of this book is that fame ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

If Jesus paid the price for our sin, why do we still suffer the consequences of our sin?

Postscript: Roger continues to tour at the age of 75, performing all of the classic Byrds tunes on his trusty Rick. Visit his website here.

The Who in concert: False spirituality in some really strange places

I was born at the tail end of the post-WWII “baby boom,” which means that rock and roll music was a big part of my early life. There’s no accounting for taste, but I was more into the breezy California folk-rock/country-rock sound of The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, Poco, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash than bands with a harder sound, but I was pretty much aware of all the big groups and the different musical styles.

The rock and rollers of the 60s and 70s certainly had their agendas. For the most part, their message was “peace, love, sex, and partying,” and not always in that particular order. Most rock songs didn’t have any overtly religious themes. Rank hedonism seemed to be the idol of choice. But in the late 60s, some of the big name rockers began to dabble in Eastern mysticism, most notably George Harrison of the Beatles with his heavy involvement with Hare Krishna Hinduism.

I don’t listen to rock music much anymore since I’m an old fuddy duddy now and a lot of the song lyrics are antithetical to Christian belief, but I do like to take a Byrds CD for a spin every now and then.

One of the premier rock and roll bands of the 60s and 70s, The Who, came to Rochester this past Sunday. A good friend asked if I would tag along to the concert. I was never a big fan of The Who, but I thought it would be an interesting experience. So I sat in my collapsible camping chair from 8:30 PM to 11 PM in the cheap-seats grassy section while most of the 15,000 capacity crowd stood for 2.5 hours cheering wildly for The Who, or what’s left of it. Drummer Keith Moon died of a drug overdose in 1978 and bassist, John Entwistle, died of a cocaine-induced heart attack in 2002. So much for the rock and roll lifestyle. Guitarist and songwriter, Pete Townshend, and vocalist, Roger Daltry, carry on The Who legacy.

Halfway into the concert set, my ears picked up the mezmerizing electronic synthesizer intro to one of the Who’s most iconic tunes, “Baba O’Riley” (aka Teenage Wasteland). So there I was, listening along to one of the few Who songs I really liked in the past. But then I picked up on the lyric, “…I don’t need to fight to prove I’m right. I don’t need to be forgiven.” What? I don’t need to be forgiven? What’s that all about?

I wondered about that lyric and ended up doing a little research on Pete Townshend and “Baba O’Riley” the following day. Come to find out, the song was written by Townshend in part as a tribute to Meher Baba (1894-1969), a Zoroastrian-Hindu spiritual master who claimed to be an “avatar,” i.e., God in human form. Townshend has been a devoted follower of false Christ, Baba, since 1967 and several of his songs reference his teachings. Baba taught, as many Eastern mystics do, that there is no such thing as sin as the Bible teaches, but that there is only a journey of several lifetimes (aka reincarnation) to higher wisdom and eventual deification (“God-realization”).

“Dogmas, creeds, and conventional ideas of heaven and hell and of sin are perversions of Truth, and confuse and bewilder the mind. “ – Meher Baba

I don’t care to sit in constant judgement of every single detail of this unbelieving world or to criticize Christians who enjoy a little secular music now and then. I got caught up in that kind of “circle the wagons,” bunker-mentality style of Christianity for eight long years after I first accepted Christ. But there are many God-defying agendas out there. We must be discerning. If you’re sitting in your SUV, singing along to your favorite classic rock radio station, you may just find yourself repeating Townshend’s “I don’t need to be forgiven” or John Lennon’s ode to atheism, “Imagine there’s no heaven, it’s easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky.” Do we really want to fill our minds with those messages?

For anyone who is curious about Townshend’s connection to false Christ, Meher Baba, see here.

♫ …It was FIFTY years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play… ♫

The 1960s was an interesting period to grow up in as society was in major flux. Throughout the decade, Walter Cronkite reported on civil rights battles, Vietnam, the rising youth culture and drugs, the peace movement, the beginning of the fight for women’s rights, the growing awareness of the environment, the dawn of computer technology, etc. Young people were rapidly losing faith in traditional institutions and were turning elsewhere for answers.

Because of my five older sisters’ love of The Beatles, I constantly heard the group’s music on the family stereo from 1964 until the end of the decade. Every time a new Beatles album came out it would be played over, and over, and over again until we all knew the words of every song by heart.

I recently watched a PBS special on the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” released in 1967. The album was a revolutionary recording at the time with its pioneering studio gimmickry. It was the first LP album cover which included the song lyrics and we were all transfixed by “heavy” wisdom of the far-out Beatles.

Jim McGuinn of The Byrds and a Beatles contemporary proclaimed in 1966, “Lord Buckley (comedic hipster) said that the entertainers now are the new clergy.”

Institutional religion appeared as passé and the rock and roll troubadours seemed to have all the answers. “Sex, drugs, and rock and roll” was the new religion of the young and rock concerts were the new churches. Albums like “Sgt. Pepper” were the new bibles.

John Lennon of the Beatles went even farther that same year when he declared, “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue about that. I’m right and I’ll be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now. I don’t know which will go first, rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

Lennon was right in some respects. Cultural (c)hristianity, the kind Lennon was familiar with, has all but disappeared in Europe and is declining in the U.S. But the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone continues to go out into the world.

Jim McGuinn changed his first name to Roger in 1967 as part of his initiation into an Eastern religion. But after hitting rock-bottom after years of heavy drug use, McGuinn accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior in 1977.

The Beatles’ partnership was formally dissolved in 1975 after five years of bitter personal and legal acrimony. I guess the lads needed more than love after all. John Lennon was murdered by an insane fan in 1980 and his Beatles-mate, George Harrison, died of lung cancer in 2001.

People are still chasing after something to fill the spiritual vacuum in their soul. Jesus Christ is the ONLY solid Rock, yesterday, today, and forever!

“Now all the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there would spend their time in nothing except telling or hearing something new.” – Acts 17:21

I thought I’d seen Someone, Who seemed at last, to know the Truth. I wasn’t mistaken.

 

In a couple of previous posts I mentioned that I’d been a huge fan of the rock bands, The Byrds and Crosby, Stills, and Nash way back when I was a teenager. David Crosby was a member of both groups and I liked his music quite a bit. Crosby was an excellent singer and wrote some outstanding tunes. But he was also an atheist and occasionally preached his godless worldview via his songs.

Yesterday, I had Pandora playing in the background as I was washing a few dishes and Crosby’s song, “Laughing,” from his 1971 solo album, “If I Could Only Remember My Name,” started playing. I remember I used to love that song. It seemed so full of wisdom at the time. Crosby actually wrote the song in response to ex-Beatle, George Harrison, and his deep involvement with Hindu guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and later, with the Hare Krishna sect.

Check out the song’s lyrics below. Crosby was/is a man searching for truth while denying the truth.


“Laughing”

I thought I met a man,
Who said he knew a man,
Who knew what was going on.
I was mistaken,
Only another stranger that I knew.

And I thought that I found a light,
To guide me through my night,
And all this darkness.
I was mistaken,
Only reflections of a shadow that I saw.

And I thought I’d seen someone,
Who seemed at last,
To know the truth.
I was mistaken,
Only a child laughing in the sun.
Ah! In the sun.

Well, David, I finally did meet the Man who not only knows the Truth but Who is the Truth! His name is Jesus Christ and He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Praise the Lord, I accepted Jesus Christ a decade after filling my head with “Laughing” and similarly-themed existentialism from the high priests of rock and roll.

“Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” – John 6:68-69

“Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” John 18:37-38

More on the CSN/Byrds/Buffalo Springfield Jesus Connection

This is the last installment of my CSN/The Byrds/Buffalo Springfield series.Trouble-In-Paradise

Chris Hillman began his music career as a mandolin player for several California bluegrass bands in the early-1960s. Producer Jim Dickson tapped Hillman to play bass, an instrument he never played before, for the fledgling Byrds in 1964. Learning a new instrument and switching from bluegrass to folk-rock was quite a challenge for the nineteen-year-old. The group had tremendous success right out of the gate with their first single, Mr. Tambourine Man, scoring #1 on the U.S. charts. As some of the other original members left, Hillman’s role in the band expanded to include both singing and songwriting duties. He was even able to incorporate his beloved country music into the band’s song list.

As the Byrds began their descent from popularity, Hillman exited in 1968 and joined Gram Parsons to form The Flying Burrito Brothers, a pioneering country-rock group. From there, Hillman was asked to join Stephen Stills’ new venture, Manassas, in 1971 as second-in-command. One of the other members of the group was guitarist, Al Perkins. Most people haven’t heard of Perkins but he was one of the preeminent steel guitar and dobro players of the period. He was also a “Jesus freak,” one of the members of the loosely-knit Jesus Movement on the West Coast. Perkins witnessed frequently to Hillman and he eventually professed to have accepted Christ in 1972 but it wasn’t a genuine conversion by his own admission.

When Manassas ended in 1973, Hillman and Perkins joined Richie Furay, formerly of Buffalo Springfield and Poco, and Eagles-songwriter, J. D. Souther, in the CSN rip-off, The Souther, Hillman, Furay Band. Furay was not at all happy about having a Jesus freak in the group. But Perkins began witnessing to Furay and six months later, he accepted Christ. When the music press broke the story about Furay becoming a born-again Christian, I remember my reaction being something like, Oh, no! Another one of my favorite artists has become one of those “born-agains.”

Furay eventually dropped out of the rock and roll grind to become a Calvary Chapel pastor. Hillman says he genuinely accepted Christ in the early 80s and began attending an Evangelical church. But he was also newly married at the same time and gradually gravitated to his wife’s Greek Orthodox faith. So how does one genuinely accept Christ and then go back and put on the chains of legalism?

Richie Furay continues to pastor the Calvary Chapel in Broomfield, Colorado.
http://calvarybroomfield.org/about/pastor-richie

Richie’s autobiography (see here) was one of the things the Lord used to draw me back to Him a couple of years ago.

After Manassas, Al Perkins continued his career as a performer, producer, and sought-after session musician. And he’s continued witnessing for the Lord.
http://www.alperkinsmusic.com/my-testimony.php

Following Manassas, Chris Hillman eventually put together the Desert Rose Band (1987-1993), which charted eight Country Top Ten songs. At the age of 71, he now plays limited acoustic engagements with former Desert Rose bandmate, Herb Pedersen.
http://www.chrishillman.com/