Written by Sydney Carter in 1967. The Lord of the dance sounds older than it is. It’s a hymn that a gospel story in the first person voice of Jesus. Carter has said that one of his influences was the Hindu God Nataraja who’s name means the Lord or King of Dance. Nataraja danced a cosmic dance to destroy a tired-out universe and make preparations for the God Brahma to start the process of creation again.
There are two forms to Nataraja’s dance: the Lasya, which is gentle and is associated with creation; and the Tandava, which is violent and associated with destruction. Nataraja has to destroy in order to rebuild.
Interestingly,1967 was the same year that The Beatles, loaded up to the eye balls on Indian culture and LSD, released “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”. A year before The Rolling Stones released “Beggars Banquet”, which included the anthem “Sympathy for the Devil”, which was set to a hip swaying samba. The song is about the exploits of Lucifer over the course of human history. Like lord of the Dance it is written from the first person point of view.
That same year John Lenon flippantly mentions that The Beatles are bigger than Jesus and starts a massive bun fight, Christianity v Rock and Roll……. roll up, roll up! John was of the opinion that Rock n Roll would win out.