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Pink Floyd, The Beatles, U2, Michael Jackson, Oasis & the Pope

L’Osservatore Romano, just published its list of the top ten rock albums of all time. L’Osservatore Romano, just published its list of the top ten rock albums of all time.

Back in the day, the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican, and various popes said rock and roll was “the devil’s music.” So it’s a miracle that the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, just published its list of the top ten rock albums of all time. The Vatican’s favorite artists include Pink Floyd, The Beatles, U2, Michael Jackson, Oasis, Santana and Fleetwood Mac.

According to the Vatican article, the ten albums on the list are the ones you’d want if you were marooned on an isolated island.

Their favorite album was The Beatles’ Revolver. This 1966 Beatles album was (along with Rubber Soul) considered a pioneering, breakthrough and transitional album in which The Beatles said goodbye to “simple pop and ballads” to begin creating eclectic, never before heard styles that started an entirely new genre of modern music.

Revolver contains the song Eleanor Rigby, with taut violins backing piercing lyrics describing the sad life of a lonely widow. Nobody had ever heard this kind of music before.

Similarly Revolver’s Tomorrow Never Knows and I’m Only Sleeping also broke new ground by using tape loops, reverse guitars and vocal processing.

These techniques were created by The Beatles and their producer, George Martin, and were copied and expanded upon by many of the other bands on the Vatican’s Top Ten list, including Pink Floyd.

In fact, the Vatican’s favorite Pink Floyd album (Dark Side of the Moon) is characterized by Beatlesesque touches. The same can easily be said of the Vatican selection What’s the Story Morning Glory by Oasis, a band that’s often been accused of copying The Beatles.

The L’Osservatore Romano article listed the U2 album Achtung Baby, Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Paul Simon’s Graceland, Carlos Santana’s Supernatural and Donald Fagen’s Nightfly as other top albums.

Perhaps the strangest inclusion is Thriller, the best-selling album by the late Michael Jackson. Obviously, Thriller was a worldwide mega-album that generated many hits, but Jackson’s personal life (in which he was accused of drug abuse, child molestation and other bizarre behavior) would seem to make his work a less than obvious choice for a religious publication.

You might be asking yourself why the official newspaper of the Roman Catholic Church would even delve into the topic of rock music.

Turns out there are a couple of reasons. One of them is public relations. Many people view the Pope and his moral pronouncements as being stodgy and old-fashioned. Young people didn’t like it when popes and the church denounced rock music as the work of the devil.

Thus, the L’Osservatore Romano Top Ten rock albums article tries to liberalize the church’s image and make it seem more in tune with our times.

According to reports from Italy, the Vatican newspaper was also sending a semi-humorous message about Italian music festivals that feature weak music that certainly doesn’t rock.

It’s fun to imagine the Pope and others at the Vatican rocking out to Pink Floyd, U2, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson, and Oasis. Perhaps we can expect a Rock Star Pope any day now?

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Last modified on Wednesday, 03 August 2011 23:25

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