Jesus Christ Superstar, Great Christian Art or Hippie Rock?

Ok, I got a new USB Turntable for Christmas. Now I have the ability to record all my old record albums onto my computer. Started with some Beatles, Dylan, Elvis Costello, and found my original 2 record disks of JC Superstar,

Although sounded a bit dated, what does the current audience think of the music? Is it great Christian art or just another example of Hippie Rock?

I liked it at the time, but consider it dated today. I think Andrew Lloyd Weber created an interesting fusion of Broadway and rock music, but it doesn’t age well.

I also consider it, and this is a huge negative, to be the godfather of that excrable form of music that is called Contemporary Christian music.

Shortly after JC Superstar and its clone, Godspell, there was a rush to create musicals that were “relevant” and “orthodox” by many Christian groups. Unfortunately, most were created by middle-aged, middle-class WASPs, and sounded like it. Fortunately the dramatic movement was shortlived, but the musical aspect lives on CCM.

I dunno, reckon ‘I don’t know how to love him’ still stands up pretty well. And I still get a kick (in different ways) out of King Herod’s Song, the scenes in the Temple and Pilate’s Dream song.

Well, I don’t know that I would call it “great” but over the decades I have enjoyed it. Today I have it on CD, but haven’t listened to it in years. I think “dated” is an appropriate word, yet at the same time, not everything “dated” is horrible. :slight_smile:

Wow… really brings back memories. Mary Magdalen (Yvonne Elliman) singing I Don’t Know How to Love Him, was probably my favorite song.

Kind of dated I guess. I hadn’t listened to it in a long time, but I did recently and all I could say was - meh. It didn’t move me very much at all.

Pretty darn dated. Also, while more annoying than offensive I suppose, both Godspell, and JCS are Jesus-the-Great-Moral-Teacher-Period. If I recall correctly, there’s nary a miracle in it to indicate He is anything other than a man.

absolutely not.

My favorite tune to, has really held up over time!

I bet I got a lot of you guys listening to the album again. The record was at least better than the movie. Remember the hippie VW micro bus. That was really realistic I bet.

Not great Catholic Theology, but the album at least got some folks interested in the Gospels.

Little trivia, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice didn’t have the money back in 1970 to produce this as a play or a movie. So they recorded and released the album first and that was followed by the play and then the movie.

The very cool young priest from whom I took instructions to become Catholic back in 1970 liked to have the record playing in the background while we discussed such things as the writings of Thomas Aquinas . . .

I still love it. I actually prefer the movie soundtrack to the original concept album because I think Ted Neely’s vocal have more emotion. We actually saw the stage production last year with Ted Neely as Jesus (he’s like 60 years old now - which means I’m a lot older too) last year in Escondido, CA (northern San Diego county). It was great, he can still hit those high notes and the production was fantastic - we actually had front row center seats (I bought tickets way in advance). It was a wonderful experience - older folks brought their kids - a real mixed audience - even elderly folks on walkers! And the vibe (talk about a dated word) was so warm and happy. It was really wonderful. :smiley:

That’s really amazing. Did the play have decent Judas (sounds weird)? Mary Mag? I actually wondered if that would be a play worth redoing with updated lyrics, ect. …

They use same songs?


Yes - they were all great, really excellent singers, plus great musicians. The production was very “alive” if you get my meaning. My brother in law saw the same production the following month in Chicago and he loved it as well. You know those high notes in Gesthemane? Well, Ted can still hit them with no problem. It was really amazing - and again, the “vibe” was just so warm, positive, loving… I’m so glad we went because it was such a great experience and is now a lovely memory. :slight_smile:

Here’s a link to the tour website:

Thanks again Swan!

I saw it a couple of weeks ago in Chicago. While Neely looks like he ought to be playing God the Father rather than God the Son, and some elements were just overboard (like the way they chose to stage Herod - a difficult scene to play well, given), I did like the portrayals which offered a very real sensibility of the genuine human struggles of people… which is what art ought to do. I, particularly, appreciated Tiffany Dodson’s sensitive portrayal of Mary Magdaline and the well sung Pilate of Craig Sculli. Overall, a fairly worthy production, even if now seemingly dated as a period piece.

Personally, I still love the music and I think I always will. Over the years, I’ve seen it two or three times on stage. My opinion is that you have to listen to it from the perspective of two different sides of the same coin. There is the opinion of Jesus and His followers. And there is the opinion of everyone else, including Judas. Otherwise, it can be considered a bit sacriligious. But, if you listen deeply enough, I think it really does reflect the Gospels in a throughly modern form. Everyone who loves Jesus is steadfastly on His side. But everyone else (like Judas) is definitely predjudiced against Him and His message.


Good album when it first came out…I liked “what’s the buzz?? Tell me what’s a happenning”


Not good Christian art (“for all you care this bread could be my body”?), but great Acid Rock.

The Overture, Simon Zealotes, Pilate’s Dream, This Jesus Must Die - it’s all really good stuff.


I fell in love with Jesus Christ Superstar in 1985 and I still love it. With all due respect, I can’t see how the word dated can be applied to it. Anyway, I love the music, the movie, and all the stage versions I’ve seen. I will be seeing Ted Neeley for the 3rd time in it. I miss Carl Anderson though.

Ah yes, the source of all evil in the world…

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