In October of 1980 a band of 4 Irish teenagers released an album called Boy.
For a debut album, it did OK. It sold 200,000 copies. One of the songs, “I Will Follow,” got some college radio play. But other than that, its impact was minor.
The album’s songs were seeded with “dog whistle” lyrics about faith.
I was lost, I am found.
And the band made no secret of their Christian faith in the (very few) interviews they were asked to give back then.
Despite its mediocre commercial performance, the album got good critical reception.
But their next album, October, did even worse commercially and critically. I can’t even find sales figures for it. But there were those under-the-radar lyrics of faith again…
Gloria…in te domine
In that same year of 1980, “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. was a MAMMOTH hit. The song sold 2 million copies. If you were alive and awake in 1980, you heard this song, probably a bajillion times.
It hit Number One in the US, Netherlands, West Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Norway, Australia, and many other countries.
It’s a highly danceable, synthesizer-y, gimmicky, disco song about…well, I’m not really sure…movin’ and groovin’…that’s about it.
Here are ALL the words in the song, which get repeated and repeated and repeated…
Town to keep me movin’
Keep me groovin’ with some energy
Well, I talk about it…
Gotta move on…
Won’t you take me to Funkytown?
The “band” Lipps, Inc was really just composer Steven Greenberg and singer Cynthia Johnson.
Forty-one years later, Greenberg’s Wikipedia page is 376 words long. Johnson’s is 340.
As I’m sure you’ve guessed, the Irish band of teenagers was U2.
After October, their next two albums cracked the million sales mark…and the one after that became one of the biggest selling albums of all time, 1987’s Joshua Tree.
The niche they “dog whistled” to (teenagers who loved rock and roll and were seeking something spiritual … or who were already Christian believers) thought, “Wait a minute? Christians can be cool rock stars too?! Christians can make good rock and roll?”
I was one of those teenagers.
Today, the band is one of the biggest selling acts ever. 175 million records sold.
Bono, the lead singer, is one of the most famous rock stars on the planet, well known for his work for humanitarian causes. He’s met with US presidents Bush and Obama and many religious figures of influence.
Forty-one years after their first album, U2’s Wikipedia page is 14,000 words long.
What’s my point?
I’m not saying there’s not a place for dance music and party music.
But if you want lasting INFLUENCE, you won’t get it with hooks and gimmicks and clickbait.
Every market is starving for a real man or woman to step out and produce something enduring.
Something worth talking about for a long time.
I want you to be the Bono of your market, your cause, your industry.
I can’t promise you that the Influential Writing Retreat will help you sell 2,000,000 copies of your next book. I can’t promise that 41 years from now, you will have sold 175 million!
But I can assure you that you’ll leave the retreat with a solid grasp of what makes some legacies last and others vanish like vapor.
You’ll know how to give birth to something long-lasting. You’ll acquire a clear sense of how YOU make a permanent dent in your little corner of the world – by permanently altering the thinking of the people who follow you.
They’ll be talking about you for years.
Secure your place in history:
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