“Jesus Is Just Alright” by The Doobie Brothers
“Jesus Is Just Alright” was written for the most part during the 1960s. During that era, putting forth that someone was “just alright” would be another way of saying that they’re cool or hip, or, let’s say in the grand scheme of this song, acceptable.
Associating yourself with Jesus of Biblical fame is such that you are bound to meet some resistance or criticism along the way. So whereas the chorus centers on the titular figure being “just alright with” the vocalist, the verses are designed to drive home the idea that Patrick “doesn’t care” who disagrees with his disposition, i.e. him being down with Jesus.
Or as stated in the bridge, the singer considers Jesus to not only be his “friend” but also a concerned leader, one who ‘took him by the hand and led him far from this land’. That latter assertion, all things considered, isn’t likely literal but meant to allude to the notion of the narrator having somehow been redeemed from a life of sin via his relationship with Jesus, as idealized in the Christian faith in particular.
But ultimately, whether or not this piece classifies as gospel is a matter of interpretation. For instance, we would like to consider it a non-gospel song due to the fact unlike a traditional gospel outing, the lyrics don’t focus on the vocalist’s faith per se. Rather as portrayed, the singer has a sort of a personal relationship with Jesus.
And the emphasis isn’t really on his belief in Jesus but more so him deeming the son of God, as he is also known, quite the cool fellow, regardless of how others may feel about him.
Who wrote “Jesus Is Just Alright”?
This song was written by a gospel musician named Art Reynolds. Furthermore, it was his band, a group known as The Art Reynolds Singers, who first dropped a rendition of “Jesus Is Just Alright” in 1966.
Throughout the years a number of prominent acts have put their talents to it, including The Doobie Brothers, who aren’t gospel artists themselves.
The Doobie Brothers
The Doobie Brothers are still technically extant as of this writing, though their heyday was back during the band’s inaugural decade of the 1970s.
This track can be found on one of their projects from that era, the group’s second album “Toulouse Street”, which came out through Warner Records on 1 July 1972. The members who are noted as having participated on this recording are:
- frontman, Patrick Simmons
- guitarist, Tom Johnston
- bassist, Tiran Porter
- drummer Little John Hartman (1950-2022)
- drummer, Michael Hossack (1946-2012)
Johnston has pointed out that even though The Doobie Brothers did drop this song, they are far from a religious act. However, their fans that were of Christian inclinations definitely got a kick out of their live performances of “Jesus Is Just Alright”.
Achievements of “Jesus Is Just Alright”
This song acted as the second single from “Toulouse Street”, and it peaked at 35th place on the US Hot 100. This achievement made The Doobie Brothers’ cover the most-successful version of “Jesus Is Just Alright” to date.
Also to note, their single version is shorter than the one featured on the album. And this is also considered to be one of the band’s most-notable hits, in that it went on to be appear on a number of their compilation and live albums afterwards.
The Doobie Brothers were inspired to cover this song specifically by the version that The Byrds put out in 1969.
Ted Templeman, a regular Doobie Brothers’ collaborator, produced their rendition of “Jesus Is Just Alright”.
Other notable covers of “Jesus Is Just Alright” include the below:
- American rock band Exile in 1973 for their eponymous debut album.
- American Christian rock and hip hop group DC Talk in 1992 for their third album, “Free at Last”.
- In 2006, Robert Randolph & the Family band featured Eric Clapton for their version. The cover was released as part of Robert Randolph’s second album, “Colorblind”.
- American Christian metal band Stryper also included their version in their tenth album, “No Hell to Pay” in 2013.
Notable Usage of “Jesus Is Just Alright”
American animated sitcom “The Simpsons” featured this song in the 22nd episode of Season 8 titled “In Marge We Trust”. The episode was aired on 27th April, 1997.
2012 American comedy movie “Wanderlust” starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd also used this song.
American crime drama “City on a Hill” used “Jesus Is Just Alright” on season 2, episode 1. The episode was aired on 28th March, 2021.
Words from Fans
As expected, this is a song that resonates with Christian fans who wholeheartedly believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior.
A fan shared his story of losing his dad and hearing him singing “Jesus Is Just Alright” before he passed. The song has since brought comfort to him since he believes his father is currently in heaven with Jesus.
A hardcore Doobie Brothers’ fan told us this song gave her the hope she needed to survive during a very dark and hopeless chapter in her life.
Another fan, who lost his uncle recently, wrote that this was uncle’s favorite song. So he listens to the song a few times a day in memory of him. According to him, he feels it’s his uncle’s way of telling him he’s in a good place.
Many fans of this song have also confessed that the track was responsible for making them believers in Jesus Christ. One fan (who converted via this song) said the chaos that characterized his previous life has now been replaced with peace and bliss since he started following the footsteps of Jesus.