Church organ intro.
I love the organ. A lot. But today I'm just going to be focusing on churchy sounding organ. Usually a song featuring cathedral-like chording at the beginning eventually starts to rock by the time the drums and/or guitars come in and/or take over, but by that point the organ has already sucked me in. Mostly, it's usually a hilarious attempt to make rock "edgier" by mixing it with sacred things...like the organ. For this collection of church organ songs, I've chosen fairly sterile organ parts (so not gospel church organ). We're also doing more than two generation, and I'm using Grooveshark because I find no need to use an example from a Zeppelin cover band. So here we go:
1. "Your Time is Gonna Come" by Led Zeppelin (1969)
I've probably gushed over John Paul Jones and his mad organ/keyboarding skills before, but they are on full display here. It's innocuous enough that it could probably be played in a church, that is before it starts to play the riff the guitar will later take up. It's an interesting blend of the blues anchored rock with a decidedly less bluesy intro by the organ.
2. "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince (1984)
Prince, being quite the showman, decided to not only give us a warbly church organ solo, but also a church sermon. This time, the organ segues into a pop song, hitting chords to the beat of the only coherent lyrics in the song, "Let's Go Crazy," proving that the organ can be both serious and catchy.
3. "Faith" by George Michael (1987)
I know this is The Audacity of Rock*, but how can you not include this song? This is entirely poppy and catchy and terrible all at once. With the blending of church organ and sexual lyrics, how edgy is this? Although Mr. Michael does give up on the organ as soon as the guitar comes in, demoting his song into acoustic ridiculousness.
4. "Like a Prayer" by Madonna (1989)
I've given up on the rock thing entirely at this point, but I had to include this song, what with its suggestive lyrics. But unlike "Faith," this poptastic single maintains the organ throughout the verses of the song, subtly changing chords in the background. Also double points for including a gospel choir**.
5. "Intervention" by Arcade Fire (2007ish)
The ultimate cathedral organ at the beginning of a rock song. It's majestic and actually reflects the lyrics of the song. It reinforces the power of "the church" to take over a life by remaining a strong presence with the other instruments. Also, a children's choir*** takes up the back-up vocals by the end. Love.
Questions to ponder:
1. How awesome is the organ? Why?
2. Are there any other examples of the church organ intro?
*I count Prince as rock for his leadership of a band and musicianship.
**Which is great idea for another one of these.
***I love choirs!
Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ,and 6 of The Audacity of Rock.