Somewhere over the Atlantic, I showed Glenn Beck a new album titled, "Soundtrack for a Revolution." He took my Dr. Dre Beats and drained my iPad charge for the next 8 hours. He leaned back, eyes closed, foot barely tapping. Toward the end of the flight he called me over to where he was sitting. He looked frustrated -- eyes a little bloodshot.
“Where are we?”
“Probably somewhere over Spain, I dunno...”
“Not that... Where are our guys? Where’s our Hendrix,” he thumped the iPad.
“These are our songs! These are our songs! They've been hijacking our songs for 50 years. We are the Civil Rights movement. It’s impossible to occupy both spaces. They can’t be Jay Edgar Hoover and Gandhi.”
For the uninitiated, Hoover and Gandhi is Glenn-shorthand. Jay Edgar Hoover symbolized “top down” abusive power. Gandhi embodied peaceful, spiritual, resistance. He uses Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, and Booker T. Washington for the latter half of the metaphor as well. The latter half, the peaceful half, has the music. They always have.
Dr. King understood that a movement needs a soundtrack. For his movement, songs like "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," "We Shall Not Be Moved," "Wade in the Water," "Oh Freedom," and "This Little Light of Mine," reminded the oppressed that God was watching, and that while there might not be freedom now, it would come someday. Most of them were old slave songs.
They were songs about the soul of man in the hands of God. Songs about patience.
Paul and Silas thought they was lost
Dungeon shook and The chains come off
Keep your eyes on the prize Hold on!
Well I'm on my way to heaven
We shall not be moved.
If you get there before I do
God's gonna trouble the water
Tell all of my friends I'm coming too
God's gonna trouble the water.
Jesus gave me the light
I'm gonna let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
Let it shine
If people have forgotten that Glenn Beck was once a big market Top 40 DJ, it’s only because they haven’t flown with him, walked by his office in the middle of the day, or received a midnight email with the subject line, "WOW," and a song attached.
It’s my job to try and anticipate where Glenn is heading and help relate his message by infusing the arts. He’s an intellectual man, who reads more than most people can keep up with, but there is a shorthand to understanding Glenn. And until now, only those near him have gotten to experience it. It’s in his music. It’s in listening to music with him.
A few months ago, Glenn synced the Jambox to his ipad following a morning meeting. It was the Beatles this time. "Revolution."
"All you need is Love."
If you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you’re not gonna make it with anyone anyhow
you know it’s gonna be alright
Booker T. said that the night before the slaves were freed, the air was different. For years they hoped for treasure in heaven and sang quietly for comfort on Earth, but now freedom was close. They sang more boldly. They hoped for a new day and that that day would come soon. There could be treasure on earth too.
Before I’ll be a slave
I’ll be buried in my grave
and go home to my Lord
and be free
Oh Freedom, now they could feel it. Freedom wasn't just for Heaven.
So they sang louder.
Be sure to tune into GBTV Thursday evening, June 7th, at 5:00 p.m. ET as Beck unveils the last component of his four part plan to take back America, "Create," focused on the arts.