In the genealogy of blues, jazz, gospel, pop, rock, hip-hop, reggae, house, it is gospel-rock (rockspel, if you will) which the whiteys have perfected. Its history spans the Stones’ I just want to see his face, with Mick Jagger’s uniquely ridiculous apeing of religious emotion, to the Gorillaz’ Don’t get lost in heaven, which has a dub outtro to boot! Though less gospel, The Happy Mondays’ Hallelujah surely also belongs to the canon, as it were: here the ecstasy is perfected by the singular leering smuttiness of Shaun Ryder’s impious incantations, not to mention the ludicrous gregorian chanting on the remix! Then there’s Primal Scream’s numerous gospel pinches. The genre peaks with Come together, featuring the fantastic sample of Rev. Jesse Jackson on the LP version (The name of the game is power…).
I really did get lost in heaven through my conversion to anglo-Jamaican pentecostalism and participation in its worship. I experienced ecstasy, wonder and self-forgetting. But there was a missing ingredient – the real thing lacked (for me) the gaiety and genuine intoxication of pop music. It really is for true wine to induce true joy.