The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)

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"The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)"
The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues) coverart.jpg
Single by Switchfoot
from the album Hello Hurricane
Released October 27, 2009 (digital single)
April 27, 2010 (U.S. radio)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2009
Genre Alternative rock, post-grunge, hard rock
Length 3:47
Label lowercase people/Atlantic
Songwriter(s) Jon Foreman, Tim Foreman
Producer(s) Switchfoot, Mike Elizondo
Switchfoot singles chronology
"Mess of Me"
"The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)"
"Your Love Is a Song"
"Mess of Me"
"The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)"
"Your Love Is a Song"

"The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)" is a song written and recorded by Jon Foreman and Tim Foreman for the alternative rock band Switchfoot. It is a track from the band's seventh studio album, Hello Hurricane, and was released as a digital single on October 27, 2009 to all major digital outlets.[1] It was serviced to alternative rock radio on April 27, 2010,[2] becoming their second Top 15 hit from the album, and the band's first Top 10 single since "Dare You to Move." [3]

Song history[edit]

"The Sound" is a song that references John M. Perkins, an American civil rights activist, in the lyrics "John Perkins said it right / Love is the final fight." The lyrical bent of the song speaks of the country's past racism that still "runs through our veins" and cries out from the ground.[4] Jon Foreman intended for the song to be part of the answer to that, saying that it is like "rising above the constant gnawing of past wrongs" and declaring Love as "the reconciliation. The deliberate act of forgiveness." [4]

Inspired by his reading of Perkins' book, Let Justice Roll Down, Foreman set out to bring more awareness to the activist's story, adamant that "John Perkins is a hero whose name needs to be known." [5] So he wrote the song intentionally avoiding historical plotlines, while instead attempting to "make an impressionistic sketch" of the story.[5]

"The Sound (John Perkins Blues) is a very important song for us as a band. I see so much hatred and fear around me, I see so many people living out their pain. I hear it on the radio. I see it in the headlines. John Perkins story needs to be heard. This song was inspired by a man who sang a louder song than hatred. In a world where we are defined by our differences, Mr. Perkins's life of service and compassion is a tangible demonstration of what it means to live a life of love. Love is the loudest song we could sing. Louder than racism. Louder than fear. Louder than hatred. John Perkins said it right, love is the final fight. We're excited to hear this song on the radio, louder than pain."


Music video(s)[edit]

A music video for the song was directed and was available on iTunes on the same day Hello Hurricane was released featuring live footage and taken from the Live at Spot X in-studio performances, included in the Making of Hello Hurricane DVD. A concept music video was shot, with footage of the band filmed on May 4, 2010 and footage of John Perkins himself shot on May 14.[7] The music video was premiered on Yahoo Music on June 13, 2010 and made its way onto YouTube three days later.


The song and its accompanying video have garnered many accolades from industry sources, garnering a Video of the Day mention on Fuse TV on July 8, 2010.[8] The song got particular coverage from KROQ-FM in Los Angeles, getting featured as "Stryker's No. 1 Video of the Week" on August 11, 2010, and a few days later, "Stryker’s #1 Requested Song".[9][10]

This attention fueled the song's march towards the top 10 of Alternative Songs, a run that saw the song spend 24 weeks on the chart with a peak of No. 7. It is the band's third-highest showing on this particular survey, behind 2004's "Meant to Live" and 2011's "Dark Horses", which both reached No. 5.


The song was nominated for a Dove Award for Rock Recorded Song of the Year at the 42nd GMA Dove Awards.[11]

Other appearances[edit]

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (2010) Position
Billboard Alternative Songs 7
Billboard Rock Songs 15
Billboard Christian Rock 1

Year-end charts[edit]

End of year chart (2010) Position
Billboard Alternative Songs 25


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ " Alternative eWeekly". AllAccess. April 20, 2010. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  3. ^ Chart Wednesday (Week of September 4, 2010): TOP 10!; "safe to say we all have a crush on red rocks." - Published August 25, 2010 (retrieved August 28, 2010)
  4. ^ a b Switchfoot “Hello Hurricane” Song Stories, Part II - Published September 9, 2009 (retrieved April 8, 2010)
  5. ^ a b Seattle Pacific University Magazine - Published April 2010 (retrieved May 12, 2010)
  6. ^ New Email: Lollapalooza 2010, 'Sabotage' Switchfoot Style, and more! - Published April 7, 2010 (retrieved May 12, 2010)
  7. ^ Bonus Coverage: TwitPics from "The Sound" music video shoot - Published May 4, 2010 (retrieved May 4, 2010)
  8. ^ Video Of The Day: Switchfoot, "The Sound (John M. Perkins' Blues)" - Published July 8, 2010 (retrieved August 28, 2010)
  9. ^ Stryker’s #1 Video: Switchfoot “The Sound” - Published August 11, 2010 (retrieved August 28, 2010)
  10. ^ Stryker’s #1 Requested Song: Switchfoot “The Sound” - Published August 16, 2010 (retrieved August 28, 2010)
  11. ^ 42nd Annual GMA Dove Awards Nominees Archived July 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. on
  12. ^ "Switch them on". Khaleej Times. November 7, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2010. 
  13. ^ Big day in LA: Switchfoot and a Joe Jonas Brother perform before BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl; live webcast recap - Published January 8, 2010 (retrieved April 13, 2010)
  14. ^ We're Awakening! (Switchfoot's Official Blog) - n.d. published 12:47PM by user "Job" (retrieved July 16, 2010)
  15. ^ Switchfoot's "The Sound" video to be featured on E! News - Published August 20, 2010 (retrieved August 29, 2010)
  16. ^ Switchfoot invades CSI: Miami. Published September 8, 2010.
  17. ^ Tony Hawk: Shred details soundtrack - Published October 25, 2010 (retrieved January 4, 2011)
  18. ^ [2]