Rock music and religion have always made for the strangest of bedfellows, yet the two of them are inextricably linked — both historically and, as odd as it may seem, even artistically.
Despite being often referred to as the "devil's music" by some of the more fringe elements of the Christian Right for example, rock and roll has a rather long and storied tradition of having roots in the church. It's fairly common knowledge, for example, that early rock and roll pioneers like Elvis were as influenced by what they heard in southern churches as they were by the "race records" they heard on the radio.
Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart were cousins, for Chrissakes (and my apologies to the Almighty there).
The tradition goes even deeper when you get into the history of rhythm and blues, though. From Aretha Franklin to Marvin Gaye, you can pretty much pick any random R&B singer who came up in the fifties and sixties, and you won't find a background in gospel music too far behind. In many cases, you will also find that these same artists have spent lifetimes waging their own personal battles between the desires of the flesh and the joys of the spirit.
Marvin Gaye, for example, may have famously died for it at the hands of his preacher father. The Reverend Al Green is another example of an artist who has spent the latter part of his career walking a tightrope between his gospel recordings, and the more earthly come-ons of his sexier R&B records.
Little Richard may be the most famous example of a rock and roller fighting this inner-battle, though. He has famously denounced the rock and roll lifestyle several times, citing how Jesus saved him from homosexuality. Yet, he has always drifted back to playing the likes of "Tutti Frutti" and to singing about how that Miss Molly sure likes to ball in concert on the oldies circuit. From what I hear, though, Little Richard hands out Bibles at his concerts these days.
Not that the influence of religion on rock is limited to Christianity though. In the sixties and seventies especially, rock artists looked for higher inspiration in any number of places. Cat Stevens went back and forth on this for several years, before finally dropping out of sight altogether to reinvent himself as devout Muslim Yusuf Islam. He has only just recently come back to getting his feet wet again playing music.