KEYWORDS: music, words, song, tune, message, songs

Inspired and Uninspired Songs

David Berg

—MO July 31, 1974 NO.92 MWWFL NO. 13

Dear Family: Greetings in Jesus' Precious Name! Well, praise the Lord! Don't expect to hear from me every day like this after I've finished this present series on your present and previous problems! We're just trying to catch up on the answers and comments to your back mail.

2. THESE LETTERS ARE STRICTLY PERSONAL AND CONFIDENTIAL FOR THE FAMILY ONLY, including our Friends, so please do not spread them around. I'm sure that there are parts of them that you won't want to spread around, as they're not very complimentary to some of you! I'm sorry, but like the Lord, any good father has to give an occasional scourging as chastisement or child-training when you need it.—May it produce the "peaceable fruit of righteousness" intended "in them which are exercised thereby"!—Amen? Praise the Lord! God bless you!

3. I HOPE WE NEVER HAVE TO SAY ANY MORE ABOUT SOME OF THESE SITUATIONS and that we never hear anything but good news from them from now on, but I must comment on that music that some of you have been spending so much of God's valuable time in producing, was needed to be spent instead producing the kind of music which our kings know will go with the public, and not this stuff which some of you are trying to do on your own! Your nerve in insisting that the kings publish it or use it in their shows and your insistence that you sing all the leads in all the songs is almost unbelievable!

4. EVEN WHEN WE HAD THE LITTLE CLUB IN CALIFORNIA and some of our dear would be stars insisted on droning on hour after hour all alone, I had to put a stop to it and this boring monotony by telling them that nobody can stand to listen to any one singer for more than two or three numbers at the most, no matter how good they are! So I limited the number of songs per set per artist to either two long ones or three short ones so we'd have no more of this sameness going on and no forever!

5. EVERYBODY NEEDS A CHANGE, AND VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE, no matter how good the singer is and how good the accompaniment or how good the song, and not everybody likes the same kind of music or the same singer all the time‚ and I'll tell you that the music from this tape we've just heard is almost the same as you can get! You can hardly tell one song from the other! They all harp on the same favourite chords, and they all sound about the same!—And god forbid that we should! If it won't go, what good is it?

6. I DON'T EVEN LIKE THE PHILOSOPHY OF THAT SONG‚ MUCH LESS ITS SELF–RIGHTEOUS, NARROW-MINDED DO-IT-YOURSELF RELIGIOUS TEACHING! About the only thing about that song that makes it a little different is that persistent chant-like repetitive theme which is rather catching and different. I can see where that song, if polished up a little and some of its narrow religious teaching either changed or dropped, might actually make a hit with the kids outside.

7. BUT SOME OF YOUR OTHER PAINFUL PEONS ARE NEVER GONNA MAKE IT, at least not from what we heard! For one thing, you can't understand the words on most of them—we couldn't understand one single word on the first one—so if you can't get the message‚ what good is it?—Especially when the music isn't that good! The dear boys in the band are certainly doing the best they can with what you've provided, but you certainly haven't given them much to begin on or work on!

8. MAYBE IT JUST ISN'T MY TYPE OF MUSIC, even though they said they were all my songs based on my Letters, god bless them! But they certainly aren't made of the music that made the Revolution‚ and if we'd had that kind of music we never would have made it! Some of them have that same frivolous restless tormenting beat which is such monotonous agony that it reminds me of the story of the man in the insane asylum who, when asked why he kept beating his head against the wall, replied, "It feels so good when I stop!"

9. THAT'S THE WAY WE FELT BY THE END OF SOME NUMBERS, except "You Gotta Be A Baby," the words of which you still can't understand, and which I think was done much better in the one produced by the kings, wasn't It? Some of your music has that monotonous, discordant, endless harping on the same few notes as that awful jungle music! With a little more quaver you could hardly tell the difference!

10. IF THIS IS THE END PRODUCT OF HOW TO SING AND RECORD, MAY GOD HELP US, and may God help you to get back to your producers and their tutoring and advice and counsel on what to produce! No wonder they were disgusted with you‚ and didn't want your music on their records! I wouldn't either!—Some of it is flippant, shallow‚ monotonous and worst of all, lacks real spirit of the kind that really moves you! It's superficial! Sorry! We still love you, but you sure have gotten off the beat and off the track on some of these!

11. IF WE WEREN'T TRYING TO RUN A REVOLUTION‚ FIGHT A WAR AND WIN A WORLD, WE MIGHT HAVE TIME TO LET YOU PLAY AROUND with your little playmates and their corny music! But when you oughtta be in there fighting together with us and not against us to help your kings to help you make some real hits of real show business quality to not only take your town and win your country but to reach the world with the message, we haven't got time to let you play around like this causing so much trouble and doing so little good!

12. AND THAT'S THE WORD WITH THE BARK ON IT!—And you may think my bark is worse than my bite, but if you soon don't get straightened out, you're gonna find out your old Papa Lion still has pretty good teeth and still knows how to use 'em! Some of you have really deserved a spanking this time, and I hope this tongue-lashing will be sufficient to get you back on the right track with your kings and quit playing around before I have to use some teeth-gnashing as well!

13. YOU REMIND ME OF THE LITTLE GIRL who had a little curl right in the middle of her forehead: When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid! God help you be good again! We think some of you'd do better if you'd start reading my Letters again and obeying them, in particular these last ones, instead of trying to sing 'em to that kind of music! Some of you remind me of a lot of other temperamental stars who are so often 90-percent temper and 10-percent mental! Use your head!

14. QUIT BEING DELUDED BY THE RIDICULOUS IDEA THAT YOU KNOW IT ALL! You don't know anything about the business you're now trying to crack into, and you need all the help you can get from kings that really know what they're doing! They may not be as spiritual as you'd like and they may not always be right, but when it comes to show business, you're more apt to be wrong than they are!

15. IF THEY DON'T BELIEVE IT'LL SELL, IT PROBABLY WON'T, and I certainly agree with them that some of those songs won't!—And that even some of ours may need a little changing in form or context to make them go over better‚ as long as they don't change the basic message. If they even get a little of it in we can be thankful, for what they do get in will reach the whole world if it makes a hit!

16. JACQUES MONTY WAS RIGHT ABOUT THIS OWN SONG, "MY LOVE IS LOVE", AND IT MADE IT, and he could be right about some of ours as well. So why don't some of you try giving your producers a little cooperation for a change? Certainly an attitude of non-cooperation can cause nothing but trouble, can nearly sever your relations with your kings and put an end to your show business. So whaddaya say you call a halt to your shenanigans and call a truce with your kings and get back to work with them! We'll certainly be happy to hear that-you have, if possible and not too late! If not, we're going to have to leave you to your fate!

17. SO GET WITH IT, KIDS! YOU CAN DO BETTER THAN THAT! We're still expecting great things of you if you'll humble yourselves in the mighty Hand of god so that in His due time He can highly exalt you, instead of exalting yourselves as you have been, so that you are now having to be abased! God help you to take it and repent and be exercised thereby and bring forth more peaceable fruit! Amen? I love you!

18. THE IDEA OF HAVING OUR OWN FOLKLORE DANCING ROUTINES FOR THE "MOUNTAIN CHILDREN" SOUNDS GREAT! Some of your posters are beautiful! Thank God for them‚ and I know He'll use them! I now have some posted on the wall above my bed—thanks! "You Gotta Be A Baby" could still be a hit if properly presented and given a chance.

19. I THINK MUSIC IS THE "IN THING" NOW, BUT NOT THE WHOLE THING: GET OUT THAT LIT! We're looking forward to hearing from you. Give our thanks to all your helpers for taking such good care of you‚ but don't forget your kings! I'm sure these last two Letters will help you remember them for awhile!

20. IN YOUR OWN DESIRE FOR RESPECT, DON'T FORGET TO RESPECT YOUR KINGS, too! Thanks for your good letters. Just wish you'd write more of 'em! Thanks for those beautiful nudes of some of you!—They really turn me on! Wow!—You've still got it!—My Family, my Family! God help us! Love, Dad.

"INSPIRED SONGS" August‚ 1071

— A word to the Wise Musicians!

21. A SONG HAS GOT TO MOVE YOU! It has got to make you want to do something—to dance‚ or fight, or love, or cry!—or something! Our songs of the Revolution for Jesus are not for entertainment—they're sung to make people respond to a Message—to evoke emotions which result in action!

22. YOU CAN'T EVEN GIVE A GOOD MESSAGE, IF YOU HAVEN'T A CATCHY TUNE! For no matter how good your message is, if the tune is not appealing, you might as well forget the song!

23. THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT MUSIC THAT REALLY EXPRESSES EMOTION!—Just the music without any message or lyrics. Because the music itself must express the message‚ too! If you've got a song that has real cheerful words speaking of happy situations‚ yet the tune has a hopeless sadness to it, you've defeated your very purpose, and because you sing it sadly, it makes people feel‚ "I don't really believe you" No matter how happy your words are, if your music is not in accord with your words, something is wrong, and your song sounds hypocritical.

24. MOST PEOPLE WILL REACT TO THE TUNE MUCH MORE THAN TO THE WORDS OF A SONG. A strong tune can carry the message, regardless of poor words. On the other hand‚ if the words are catchy, appealing, or arresting, they will add to and supplement the tune, and make it even stronger. But if the words don't go with the music, then something's wrong with the song—the words contradict the tune, and you have to have a strong, convincing tune to overcome them.

25. WHEN IT COMES TO MUSIC, THE MUSIC IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING:—The music should be the message too. The music itself has got to paint the emotional picture or feeling of the message of the song. The tune should be sad if the words are sad; glad, if the words are glad; the tune should be funny, if the words are funny.

26. REAL INSPIRATION COMES WITH REAL FEELING—really feeling a certain emotion, and both words and music will express it. Both will move you in the same direction. Even though some songs have a sad refrain‚ they include a lilting, silver lining, beyond the dark cloud of their sorrow‚ as rays of hope break through the clouds. As Wordsworth said, sometimes: "Sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought, E'en sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught."

27. SO EVEN A SAD SONG CAN HAVE SOME SWEETNESS AND A CHEERFUL RAY OF HOPE—a silver lining—a happy ending—the answer to the problem. Otherwise, all is lost, and you leave your audience in the depths of gloom, even deeper and darker than before, like so many worldly songs. But even our sad songs give hope, like "I Shall Be Released", " Jesus Really Loves You"‚ "Cry of Revolution", "Now's The Time"‚ etc.

28. SO A SAD SONG DOESN'T HAVE TO NECESSARILY BE ALL SAD—IT CAN END WITH A CHEERFUL NOTE—A RAY OF HOPE! It's like witnessing: You first have to show someone that they're a sinner before you can convince them they need a Saviour, and give them the happy answer of who He is. First you must cry, "Woe, Woe," but then‚ "Jesus Saves"! So our songs are a combination of the best of both.

29. WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO SAY IS THAT HAPPY WORDS MUST BE BORNE BY A HAPPY TUNE, just as sad words must be carried by a sad tune; but you cannot have happy words to a sad tune‚ or vice versa.—But you can have a sad song—sad words with a sad tune, which ends, or includes some happy note— with happy words with a happy tune—a happy ending.

30. IN THE MOST POPULAR SONGS EVER WRITTEN, THERE IS USUALLY ONE PHRASE THAT KEEPS REPEATING—ONE CATCHY PHRASE that the people really remember—and that one part of the song is its theme. If you've only got one good line in a song and you keep repeating that line, you could have a hit, regardless of the rest of the song—even if only that one line is inspired!

31. ONE OF THE SECRETS OF "YOU'VE GOTTA BE A BABY" IS THAT YOU KEEP REPEATING THAT ONE PHRASE over and over—and it sticks with people, and they can't forget it! When titling a song, always make the title the catchy phrase, or the phrase that has the message, or the one that's repeated most.

32. AFTER ALL, OUR PURPOSE IN SINGING IS NOT TO ENTERTAIN—BUT TO IMPLANT AN IDEA or message in people's minds that they just can't shake—and the best way to do it is to make the music and the tune both so catchy they can't forget it!

33. A SONG THAT HAS TO BE EXPLAINED IS NOT MUCH GOOD! What makes a song a hit, and gets across its message is usually a combination of the tune that carries the message, and that one outstanding phrase or refrain repeated constantly throughout the verse—worked in throughout the whole song—emphasised where you can really hear it. You must repeat... repeat...repeat! It will be that one unforgettable phrase that will stir your emotions and provoke you to action!—Hallelujah!