Polemics & Exchanges

On the Devil’s Music

While I found Aaron D. Wolf’s “Solemn Joy and Hot Gospel” (Heresies, December) lively and diverting, in one small point I beg to differ.  Larry Norman took the title for his song “Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?” not from Martin Luther but from Salvation Army founder William Booth.  However, Norman would agree with some of Wolf’s insights on Contemporary Christian Music, judging from the interview with him that was published in the December 2005 issue of Gilbert Magazine, published by the American Chesterton Society.  Those interested may read it at alivingdog.com/LarryInt2.html.

        —Gord Wilson
Bellingham, WA

Mr. Wolf Replies:

My thanks to Mr. Wilson for drawing attention to William Booth and Larry Norman.  In all likelihood, Luther did not utter the precise phrase, “Why should the Devil have all the good music?”—although, as I explained in my article, it is understandable why so many attribute the phrase to him.

William Booth did precisely say, “Why should the Devil have all the good tunes?” after hearing “Bless His Name, He Sets Me Free” successfully set to “Champaign Charlie Is My Name.” ...

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