By Request: Frank Garlock


“You tell me the kind of music you like to listen to…and I’ll tell you what kind of person you are.” — Frank Garlock

I found this gem over at The Basement Rug (an awesome site for lovers of vinyl, btw). It’s from an LP record entitled The Big Beat ~ A Rock Blast in which Frank Garlock among other things claims to have to have listened to and analyzed more than 2000 rock songs in a single week.

If you can sit through all 83 minutes of this amazing performance, you’re a better person than I am.

Some notable bites

13:30 listening to good music can increase your eyesight by 25%

13:56 we learn that plants are killed by rock music.

16:47 cutting edge research from 1971 shows that…well…something or another.

20:04 department stores use music to hypnotize their customers into buying more

21:31 Music played for mental patients helped them improve only if the musician was mentally stable. Music played by mentally unstable people made mental patients worse.

On a side note, watching Frank with Spanish voice-over is incredibly trippy.

43 thoughts on “By Request: Frank Garlock”

  1. I surely don’t have the patience to listen to that. Hehheh. I guess you win! (I’m still one of those no-idea-who-Garlock-is people)
    Although the video was interesting…The Mr. Potato Head was a nice additive! And I was able to understand a good part of it! (Yeah high school spanish!)

  2. Frank Garlock is a Bob Jones music guru who’s philosophy of music is one of the major forces in fundamentalism. It’s taught in fundy colleges and preached from fundy pulpits.

    He’s the founder of Majesty Music. His son-in-law, Ron Hamilton, is known as “Patch the Pirate.

  3. The claim that he heard and analyzed 2000 songs in a week is difficult to believe. At an average of three minutes a song for listening time, this does not leave much time for forming and recording his analysis or for the practical matters of handling all the records, eating and sleeping. The math says it is possible, but the common sense says this is difficult.

    Where do deaf people fit on Mr. Garlock’s you are what you listen to scale?

  4. Randy, it probably means he listened to 10 seconds of each song or something, and that constituted analyzing. 😉

    I would listen to this wonderful gem, but don’t think i can bear to. Sometimes the ignorance is amazing.

  5. One of the best Frank Garlock memories is listening to him in chapel at Bob Jones describing the dangers of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) during our annual “let’s make sure our kids aren’t listening to anything except what we put out at the Campus Store” week and listening to him play an excerpt from a CCM song in chapel. Quite funny to see how many students smiled, or swayed gently, or bobbed their head to the rhythm.
    Also, it’s fun to go to your brother’s graduation at PCC and sing the PCC alma mater which was written by…. Garlock. Isn’t it ironic? : )

    1. The former choir director at the fundy school my kids attended once made all the jr and sr hi students watch a video series by Garlock on the dangers of secular music. It only served to increase their hatred for him and all things Christian.
      The same school currently has a rule that all music sung in chapel must come from the church music library which is, of course, incredibly small and full of Ron Hamilton, Garlock, and Mac Lynch music. Typical.

      1. I’m working on a non-fiction project for my degree at Colorado State Pueblo. I attended a Fundamentalist school for 10 years and WCBC for 4. I’ve been looking for those VHS videos for a long time for research in my project. Help?

  6. @Brandon PCC also requires their music students to watch Garlock’s video series on music. My friends who sat through it still twitch when it is mentioned. 🙂

  7. I went to Bob Jones, and I remember this guy so vividly.

    He also said if a band had more than 10% percussion, it was from the devil. I was at the Bob Jones High School at the time, and I was also in the band. I was one of the 5 evil drummers in a 40 member band. woops. This guy is ridiculous, and I loved how he always sells majesty music cds after his CCM tirade. It is a total sales pitch. Garlock’s logic and ridiculousness made me question Fundies. I have to thank Frank here.

  8. Ouch…I did it. I probably zoned out a few times as a sort of mental shield to block the pain, but I sat through the entire thing.

    Anyway, I have never heard of Frank Garlock before, I didn’t go to either BJ or PCC, but the same arguments and thinking I have heard at MBBC.

    Basically, he hit 1 Samuel 16:14
    14But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

    And said this was demonic activity…forgetting to read the next verse I guess,
    15And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee.

    And skipped to verse 23
    23And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

    And applied it to “good music” that repelled the “demonic activity” To his credit he did mention this does not work every time, and even mentioned when Saul threw a javelin at David while he played his harp…

    You don’t have to be a Calvinist, in the sense of seeing God’s Soveriegnty in salvation, to see God’s Soveriegnty in appointing David to be king. Pretty much the entire chapter starting with verse 1
    1And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.

    Is talking about how God is setting up David to be king, from sending an evil spirit to upset Saul, to giving him servants that suggest music and musician to Saul (vs 16-19), to sending the evil spirit from the Lord away when David played his harp to ensure David would be a favorite in the court. The Passage is not about soothing music, as Saul’s javelin would later prove, but that the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord.

    Funny, I heard this argument before, but I guess this is where it comes from. In a way, I guess I did know about Mr. Garlock, but only through his work and not by name. I wonder if there was a reason for some Fundamentalists to seperate themselves from him? Did something happen, or was it just Distance from the other Fundy Colleges?

    1. In reply to your last question, it was likely one of three things: one, he isn’t quite fundy enough for some people (uses syncopation, condones the use of small amounts of percussion, etc). Two, it could be because of the fact that he graduated from BJU, which no longer can be considered a true Fundy U, as they no longer use the KJV. Three, he associates himself with a large range of churches/colleges, and if he associates himself with, say Lancaster Baptist Church (, then some Pastor that just preached against Lancaster would naturally distance themselves from Garlock as well.

  9. I had to watch those videos at PCC. I wrote a paper about it in which I did not agree with him. Oddly enough, I was not reprimanded. I think some of the teachers thought Garlock was wrong.

  10. Garlock doesn’t seem to take into account the effect of Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality on the example from his 5th symphony that he plays near 50:00.

  11. I keep wanting Porky Pig to pop out of the middle of that album art and say “Thhhhhaaat’s All Folks”. Anybody else see it?

  12. Oy. I’ve been in churches where they sung some of his hymns, and though they may not kill plants, they certainly hurt the ears of anyone with musical sensibilities. The melodies have this sort of cheap TV music style – it’s tough to describe.

    Did anyone else notice that cute little couple snuggling on the front row at the beginning of the video? I guess for a fundy, a Frank Garlock speech has to replace the movie theater for that sort of thing. 😉

      1. Anyone see the Mythbusters episode where they exposed plants to different kinds of music? The plants that thrived were the ones exposed to heavy metal. (Of course, Adam and Jamie are professed atheists, so I’m sure there must be a connection there somewhere…)

  13. “You tell me the kind of music you like to listen to…and I’ll tell you what kind of person you are.” — Frank Garlock

    Based on my ipod, it is a collection of 70’s classic rock, Keith Green, Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, and Jimmy Buffett. My guess is that would tell him that I am a 46 year old white guy.

  14. “You tell me the kind of music you like to listen to…and I’ll tell you what kind of person you are.” — Frank Garlock

    Based on my ipod, it is a collection of 70’s classic rock, Keith Green, Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, and Jimmy Buffett. My guess is that would tell him that I am a 46 year old white guy.

    Haha – even though I’m a 24-year-old woman, my iPod would probably say, “mid-40s gay man with terrible taste in sweaters.”

  15. Back in the seventies I attended a church that invited Frank Garlock to come give a music seminar. So, I did not bother to listen to this. I also used to have the pamphlet he wrote with the same information in it. I’m still getting over my fundie upbringing.

  16. I noticed that he says the Psalms are the hymnbook for God’s people, but I never sang Psalms until I was in a Presbyterian church.

  17. If you found it hard to sit through Garlock’s entire rant, you can listen to many of the choicest bits in my follow up compilation, the Frank Garlock Remix Project:

    1) A Friend of Teenagers (Frank Garlock, 1971)
    2) The Banquet (The Deadly Snakes, 2005)
    3) Kick Out The Jams (MC5, 1969)
    4) Rock and Roll (Frank Garlock, 1971)
    5) Rocker (AC/DC, 1975)
    6) Revolution (The Beatles, 1968)
    7) Break Beat Indictment (Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, 2005)
    8) Twist and Shout (The Beatles, 1964)
    9) Tomorrow Never Knows (The Beatles, 1966)
    10) Tombstone Blues (Bob Dylan, 1965)
    11) Highway 61 Revisited (Bob Dylan, 1965)
    12) Jethro’s Gyrations (Frank Garlock, 1971)
    13) Dharma for One (Jethro Tull, 1968)
    14) What the Musician Believes Affects the Listener (Frank Garlock, 1971)
    15) My God (Jethro Tull, 1971)
    16) Sympathy for the Devil (The Rolling Stones, 1968)
    17) Rip This Joint (The Rolling Stones, 1972)
    18) Jim Morrison Feels Spiritual Up There (Frank Garlock, 1971)
    19) Petition the Lord with Prayer (The Doors, 1969)
    20) Break on Through (The Doors, 1969)
    21) She’s a Lady (Tom Jones, 1970)
    22) Frank Zappa is the Devil’s Advocate (Frank Garlock, 1971)
    23) Catholic Girls (Frank Zappa, 1979)
    24) Rock and Roll Addiction (Frank Garlock, 1971)
    25) I’m Waiting for My Man (The Velvet Underground, 1967)

    Thanks for linking to my site!

  18. Listening to about 2000 rock songs in the span of a week (and not being a DJ) can only suggest someone having WAY too much free time on their hands.

    Frank Garlock must not have much administrative work to do at Majesty Music.

  19. In an interesting google search, I just happened to arrive at this page. Like I said, a very interesting google search. I’m a relative to Frank Garlock, and I’ll back up almost anything he says. He is simply brilliant, and his motivations are pure. This argument often comes down to priorities, but that’s something else. What do I believe? I’d say that’s somewhat irrelevant. I guess I’d just like to say that judging a person without knowing them very often leads to misjudgment.

    1. Yay for topic resurrection. Well, “relative,” I went to his church for five years so I feel qualified to speak on this. Do you back up everything he says because he’s family and that’s what folks do in the South, or do you back up everything because you have studied them for yourself and have come to your own settled conclusion? Because, see, I have, and while I don’t doubt his motivations (for the most part), I don’t think “brilliant” is a word to describe him. “Brilliant” indicates intelligence and mental faculties well above average, and given the number of logical fallacies and a basic inability to interact with any relevant material (I know this is an old LP but I’ve heard him talk recently and he’s still using the same–literally–old arguments), I just don’t buy it.

      See, if knowing a person were a requirement for judging the correctness of a person’s arguments, we could only judge a fraction of arguments. When someone steps up and claims to be an “expert,” however, or allows himself to be called such without reservation, we no longer need to know the man personally to judge his material. If he’s an expert than his work should stand on its own. In Garlock’s case, it doesn’t.

    2. You wouldn’t happen to be Frank’s son, Randy — the guy who drove the fast cars, stole a few and got in trouble with the law on a regular basis in Greenville/Mauldin, SC? I was a contemporary of his when I attended Bob Jones Academy.

      I went to one of Frank’s lectures back in 1974. Frank was on a harangue about how rock music had no melody, was a cacophony of satanic dis-chord, and that the humanly imperceptible “infrasonic” and “ultrasonic” sounds in the electronics of the music encouraged drug like trances. He carelessly mis-quoted from the song by Dobie Gray, entitled “Drift Away,” to make his point.

      Of course as a Bob Jonser I wasn’t even supposed to know this song — but I was a part of what we liked to call, “the underground” when at BJA. We knew our compatriots by talking “in tune” That is, one person would quote a line from a popular song in a routine conversation, and the other person might then step up and finish the line in their reply to you. It was a great code system and you could learn pretty quickly who you could trust, who you couldn’t, and who didn’t have a clue.

      Anyway the lyrics of the song goes “Give me the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock’n’roll and drift away … And when my mind is free, you know a melody can move me, … Thanks for the joy that you’ve given me, you know I believe in your song. Your rhythm, and rhyme and harmony, you helped me along , makin’ me strong …”

      Well, Frank misquoted these lyrics in his lecture carelessly and perhaps purposefully to say “And when my mind is free, you know NO melody can move me, … NO rhythm, OR rhyme OR harmony …” If I ever considered Frank to be a self-promoting a fraud and merely a tool of BJU, I knew it for sure after that — as it was painfully obvious to fellow members of “the underground,” as well. “The Big Beat– a Rock Blast” was then and always has been a load of crap.

      Ron Hamilton wasn’t a bad guy and Sherry, his wife was nice. They were our choir directors at BJA. Sadly I believe their son committed suicide on Thanksgiving Day a few years ago. Depression.

      Frank is a twisted little man who never fails to use falsehood and exaggeration to make his stupid points.

  20. Garlock came to my Fundy christian school. I was in elementary school and had just transferred from public school. There was some teaching about “Puff the magic Dragon” being written by a drug addict in a psychotic state trying to seduce us children into taking drugs. After that I knew everyone in public school was wicked as I remembered singing it often.

  21. Okay, now I’m thinking about the “Meet the Parents” movie. . .(“It’s about a boy and his magical dragon”)

  22. Growing up in an IFB church and school, I heard all the arguments against CCM and secular music. Needless to say, I didn’t agree. Then again we listened to oldies, country and southern gospel in the home. No wonder I was unacceptable as a playmate for others my age. 🙂

  23. At one point while I attending our IFB church, we had a youth pastor who, despite his wife wearing long skirts, etc., was probably more SBC than IFB. When he found out that my parents were okay with me listening to secular radio, he felt safe in having me listen to Jars of Clay. To this day, they’re my favorite band, even though I no longer listen to most CCM (purely taste). Sadly, the pastor quickly decided the yp was too liberal, and he was promptly replaced. A shame, really, because he was revitalizing the youth ministry, and he might have eventually have had a hand in helping move that church out of its more hardcore fundyisms.

    And it really irks me that I can’t remember his or his wife’s name, but I’ve been out of that church now for 13 years, which is just less than half my life, and he was only YP for a few months, so I guess it’s understandable.

  24. Just before Jesus healed the leper I can just imagine Him singing…..You fill in the rest. His character, His Heart and His music cannot be seperated. B

  25. His deconstruction of Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited is laughable. This was during Dylan’s “abstract/ surrealism” stage (Blonde on Blonde, Bringing It All Back Home, and Highway 61 Revisited) where most of his songs were pure wordplay. To try to extract dogmatic and concrete meaning out of these songs is to miss their whole point. (Something is happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mister Garlock?)

    What would Frank say about some of the most beautiful Gospel songs written during Dylan’s “Christian phase”: (Slow Train Coming, Saved, Shot of Love) which contained lyrics like “when they came for Him in the garden did they know?…did they know He was the Son of God? Did they know that He was The Lord? Did they hear Him when He told Peter: “Peter, put up your sword.”….

    These are lyrics that rang clear as a bell, and Dylan was criticized for “preaching and proselytizing” at his concerts during the late 70s and early 80s. Where was the support from the Christian fundies then?

    I’m just saying… People (and especially artists) are multi-faceted, and a preacher who puts a person in a box to demonize him or her is overstepping their own credibility…

  26. As a young person husband listened to rock. He hated hymns. Then he met the LORD, and he immediately loved hymns and hated rock. No one told him to do this. That was just how it was. He had never heard of Garlock or anyone like him.

    1. That’s nice. I do not mean to be rude but your personal anecdote means nothing to the overall issue of fundamentalists who push their personal preferences as some kind of holy gospel truth rule handed down to them by God almighty. (not to mention the out-right lies asserted by garlock in the original post)
      No almighty God cares about what genre of music one may or may not listen to or prefer. That’s just a fact.

    2. The problem I have with the personal anecdote is that it is what it is: a personal anecdote with no bearing on anyone else’s situation. Of course one would expect someone who has recently been born again to reject lots of things from their past. That’s part of what becoming a new creature is all about. The problem emerges when that person assumes that everyone who does the same thing or something similar to what they used to do is doing it for the same reason they did: rebellion, hedonism, whatever. That’s where the disconnect occurs. Someone who listened to rock music as an outlet for their rage against authority needs to learn that some people listen or listened to the same music with the full approval of parents or other authority figures or even along with them. Motivations are so much more important than what we actually do, at least when it comes to things not patently sinful. In the words of Paul, “To the pure all things are pure.”

    3. My pastor likes old-school Christian rock and dislikes classical. I like classical but dislike old-school Christian rock.
      I like jazz and blues, he doesn’t.
      He likes New-age. I don’t.
      I believe we both try to serve God to the best of our abilities. Maybe different tastes are okay, and one-size cookie-cutter religious views are wrong.

      As has been stated in so many words, your story isn’t my story. And doesn’t have to be.

    4. I absolutely hate the misapplication of the “weaker brother” passages, which occur frequently in fundamentalism. This said, there is a part of the “weaker brother” passages which certainly applies here.

      “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; AND LET NOT HIM WHICH EATETH NOT JUDGE HIM THAT EATETH: for God hath received him” (Romans 14:1-3, King James Version).

      (Apologies for using ‘all caps’; I don’t know how to italicize here.)

  27. “You tell me the kind of music you like to listen to…and I’ll tell you what kind of person you are.” — Frank Garlock

    I like to listen to the same kind of music Frank Garlock’s son liked to listen to. So does that mean I’m the kind of person who will end up in a Chinese prison?

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