Rock Messiah

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Rock Messiah
Studio album by David Axelrod
Released November 1, 1971
Recorded 1971
Label RCA
Producer David Axelrod
David Axelrod chronology
Earth Rot
Rock Messiah
The Auction

David Axelrod's Rock Interpretation of Handel's Messiah (commonly known as Rock Messiah) is a 1971 album by David Axelrod. It is a rock-based interpretation of George Frideric Handel's oratorio Messiah.

The album features arrangements by Axelrod played by a 38-piece orchestra conducted by Julian "Cannonball" Adderley.[1][2] Los Angeles Times writer Martin Bernheimer described the album as "relatively straight and square, as much concerned with Handel and jazz and the gospel tradition as it is with blatant rock".[1] Axelrod described his motivation for the album as "making Handel more accessible".[1]

Ebony writer Phyl Garland described the album as "Jesus Christ Superstar on a bad trip", also stating "The whole thing just seems so unnecessary."[3]

It was originally released in 1971 on U.S. RCA label issue nine-track on a standard vinyl LP (RCA LSP-4636). It was reissued on CD in 2012 on the U.S. Real Gone label (RGM-0041).

Track listing[edit]

All tracks composed and arranged by David Axelrod

  1. "Overture"
  2. "Comfort Ye My People...Recitative"
  3. "And The Glory Of The Lord...Chorus"
  4. "Behold...Recitative"
  5. "Pastoral Symphony"
  6. "And The Angel Said unto Them...Recitative"
  7. "Glory To God...Chorus"
  8. "Hallelujah...Chorus"
  9. "Worthy Is The Lamb...Chorus"


  1. ^ a b c Bernheimer, Martin (1971) "'Messiah': And Now, Just In Time For Christmas, Not One, But Two Rock-Handel Records", Tuscaloosa News, November 7, 1971, p. 5E, retrieved 2011-01-29 (syndicated from the Los Angeles Times article "Rocky Rethinking of Handel's Greatest Hit")
  2. ^ Sheridan, Chris (2000) Dis Here: A Bio-Discography of Julian 'Cannonball' Adderley, Greenwood Press, ISBN 978-0-313-30240-4, p. 201
  3. ^ Garland, Phyl (1972) "Sounds", Ebony, April 1972, p. 30, retrieved 2011-01-29