Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Here's a pretty powerful yet awesomely passe recording. It leaves feelings of omnipotent love, sacrifice, devotion and yearning.

There is no doubt in my mind that the song that comes in at #75 on the countdown, Jesus is a Friend of Mine, by Sonseed, is THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL SONG on the top 100 countdown, and it's not even close. So far on the countdown, and from here on out, every song is either generally recognized as a great modern worship song, or at the very least is a song that worship fans could see themselves liking a great deal.

Unfortunately, that's not true for the song we're doing today on the countdown. It may be one of the most maligned songs in the history of modern worship, and it's almost universally spoken of as a mere afterthought or footnote in the worship history. Hopefully, after I explain fully why it belongs on this list, you'll agree with me. But for now, for those of you who aren't familiar with it, here's Jesus is a Friend of Mine: (by the way, if you are an email subscriber, you won't get the video. Just click on the link at the top and go online to view. You won't be disappointed)

Obviously, the first thing most people notice is the clothing style. It's clear that this song does not fit my definition of 'modern' worship, but if you'll recall, I did say that it was a loose definition. No, the original version seen here was recorded in the early to mid 1980s.(1) However, even though the song itself is powerful, worshipful expression of our relationship with God, the reason it gets a place on the countdown are the people involved in this project.

(1) Of course, when a powerful song like this is recorded in worship music today, there are going to be tons of others recording the same song. The Christian rock band Petra did a metal version of the song for their 1994 album Loud and Stupid, and of course the most famous recording was Hillsong's  orchestral masterpiece on their universally disliked Something About Jesus, and Worship, and Blah, Blah, Blah album. Word has it that Jesus Culture is doing a 26 minute version on their next album.

You see, while the song may not be the hippest, most relevant worship song to ever hit the church worship scene, there are an unbelievable amount of crazy coincidences that come from this one video and the people involved. Don't believe me, just read on and prepare to be amazed:

This is Sue Donim. She did some background vocals for Sonseed and also was their booking manager and accountant - they called her 'Check Lady'. After sonseed broke up, she got really into Jane Fonda workout tapes, lost a bunch of weight and dyed her hair. She then moved to Australia, and in an homage to her 'Check Lady' days with Sonseed, changed her stage name to Darlene Zschech. True fact.

This is Al, the jammin' guitar player from the video. Shortly after this video was shot, Al disappeared and no one in the band could locate him. Eventually, Al showed up at a Sonseed reunion concert 9 years later. Turns out he was just down in the basement. After the reunion concert, he decided to get back into worship music and for the next 11 years he was the lead guitarist for Delirious. 

This is Todd, no last name given. Todd was not part of the group Sonseed, he just appeared out of nowhere the day they shot this video, and happened to be wearing the exact same clothes, so they let him sing along.

Marge and Larry were the spiritual parents to the group, but they also soon left the group after this video, as their family was growing. They brought their young son Chris to the taping of this video, and he was so moved and excited, that he decided that worship music should be his career. Of course, as you may have guessed by now, Marge and Larry's last name is Tomlin.

Despite his amazing, awe-inspiring, zap-inducing performance in this video, Justin Fakename never went on to worship music glory. Once this video was released as the first-ever video to air on MTV, Justin was besieged with offers from Hollywood. He eventually moved to California to pursue an acting career, but it never really took off. He did have the lead role in the straight-to-cable teen romp, Spring Break Podiatrist, and had a minor role as skeleton #4 in the original Karate Kid.

After his failed acting career, when he was at the lowest point of his life, he cried out to God and returned to his religious roots. He currently serves with his wife Heidi as pastors of the Grace Covenant Community Church in Middleburg, Pa. 

If you're still confused about how great this song is, and it's place amongst the greats in worship history, I suggest you listen to again. And again. And again. No lie, there's a place on youtube where you can hear Jesus is a Friend of Mine for 10 hours. If you are then still confused, you could read the first sentence at the top again, but only read the first letter of each word.

Next Week: I will be doing my 'State of the Blog' address, including a special video message from ME, to celebrate being one fourth of the way through the countdown. Oh, by the way, there's a great song by Considering Lily that I put on Andy's Extras last week but forgot to mention. See you next time.

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