On Sunday night when our family was watching the NBC broadcast of Jesus Christ Superstar I told my son and daughter-in-law that as a teenager I knew all the words to every song. I used to sing the Superstar numbers on my cold walks home from university to make the time go by faster.
A woman tweeted during the Sunday night show, “I’m so old I can never remember where I put my car keys, but I can remember every word of the songs in Jesus Christ Superstar.”
On his blog my friend Rudy said when he was 16 he had memorized all the songs in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. He had a summer factory job and would sing through the musical score as he worked sawing wood.
- It was about one of the world’s most well-known and influential figures.
- It asked questions that very few people dared ask about the life of Jesus in 1970.
- It presented stock characters like Mary Magdalene and Judas in a new and much more sympathetic light.
- Jesus was portrayed as a very ordinary human man .
- The fact that some clergy found Jesus Christ Superstar blasphemous when it first debuted made it all the more appealing to many young people and fostered its popularity.
- The rock opera genre had just been established by the success of Tommy in 1969 and so the idea of a rock opera was still new and appealing when Jesus Christ Superstar opened.
- The music is catchy, easy to learn and repetitive.
Why do you think Jesus Christ Superstar was so successful and nearly fifty years after it debuted still remains so popular?