Christian rock

Christian rock

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Christian rock is a form of rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 played by individuals and bands
Band (music)
In music, a musical ensemble or band is a group of musicians that works together to perform music. The following articles concern types of musical bands:* All-female band* Big band* Boy band* Christian band* Church band* Concert band* Cover band...

 whose members are Christians and who often focus the lyrics on matters concerned with the Christian faith
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

. The extent to which their lyrics are explicitly Christian varies between bands. Many bands who perform Christian rock have ties to the contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith...

 labels, media outlets, and festivals, while other bands are independent.

Christian response to rock music (1950s-1960s)


Rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

 music was not viewed favorably by most traditional and fundamentalist Christians when it became popular with young people from the 1950s, although early rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 was often influenced by country
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 and gospel music
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

.
Religious people in many regions of the United States did not want their children exposed to music with unruly, impassioned vocals, loud guitar riffs and jarring, hypnotic rhythms. Often the music was overtly sexual in nature, as in the case of Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

, who became controversial and massively popular partly for his suggestive stage antics and dancing. Individual Christians may have listened to or even performed rock music in many cases, but it was seen as anathema
Anathema
Anathema originally meant something lifted up as an offering to the gods; it later evolved to mean:...

 to conservative church establishments, particularly in the American South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

.

He Touched Me
He Touched Me
He Touched Me is a 1972 gospel music album by Elvis Presley. It earned Presley his second of three Grammy Awards. It was his third and final studio gospel album, and the most contemporary of the three. The album was certified Gold on 3/27/1992 and Platinum on 7/15/1999 by the RIAA.-Track listing:#...

was a 1972 gospel music album by Elvis Presley which sold over 1 million copies in the US alone and earned Presley his second of three Grammy Awards. Not counting compilations, it was his third and final album devoted exclusively to gospel music. The song "He Touched Me" was written in 1963 by Bill Gaither, an American singer and songwriter of southern gospel and Contemporary Christian music.

In the 1960s, rock music developed artistically, attained worldwide popularity and became associated with the radical counterculture
Counterculture
Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behavior...

, firmly alienating many Christians. In 1966 The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, regarded as one of the most popular and influential rock bands of their era, ran into trouble with many of their American fans when John Lennon
John Lennon
John Winston Lennon, MBE was an English musician and singer-songwriter who rose to worldwide fame as one of the founding members of The Beatles, one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music...

 jokingly offered his opinion that Christianity was dying and that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus
More popular than Jesus
Angry reactions flared up in August 1966, after John Lennon's remark that The Beatles had become "more popular than Jesus" was quoted by the American teen magazine, Datebook. Lennon originally made the remark when an English newspaper reporter, Maureen Cleave, interviewed him at home for a...

 now". The romantic, melodic rock songs of the band's early career had formerly been viewed as relatively inoffensive, but after the remark, churches nationwide organized Beatles record burnings and Lennon was forced to apologize. Subsequently the Beatles experimented with a more complex, psychedelic style of music and anti-establishment lyrics, while The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones are an English rock band, formed in London in April 1962 by Brian Jones , Ian Stewart , Mick Jagger , and Keith Richards . Bassist Bill Wyman and drummer Charlie Watts completed the early line-up...

 sang "Sympathy for the Devil
Sympathy for the Devil
"Sympathy for the Devil" is a song by The Rolling Stones which first appeared as the opening track on the band's 1968 album Beggars Banquet. It was written by Mick Jagger credited to Jagger/Richards...

", a song openly written from the point of view of Satan
Satan
Satan , "the opposer", is the title of various entities, both human and divine, who challenge the faith of humans in the Hebrew Bible...

.

As the decade continued, the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, the Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

, the Paris student riots and other events served as catalysts for youth activism and political withdrawal or protest, which became associated with rock bands, whether or not they were openly political. Moreover, many saw the music as promoting a lifestyle of promiscuous "sex, drugs and rock and roll", also reflected in the behavior of many rock stars. However, there was growing recognition of the diverse musical and ideological potential of rock. Countless new bands sprang up in the mid-to-late 1960s, as rock displaced older, smoother pop styles to become the dominant form of pop music, a position it would enjoy almost continuously until the end of the 20th century, when hip-hop finally eclipsed it in sales.

Roots (late 1960s-1980s)


Among the nation's first bands that played Christian rock was The Crusaders, a Southern Californian garage rock
Garage rock
Garage rock is a raw form of rock and roll that was first popular in the United States and Canada from about 1963 to 1967. During the 1960s, it was not recognized as a separate music genre and had no specific name...

 band, whose November 1966 Tower Records
Tower Records (record label)
Tower Records was a record label from 1964 to 1970. A subsidiary of Capitol Records, Tower often released music by artists who were relatively low profile in comparison to those released on the parent label, including a number of artists—such as The Standells and The Chocolate Watch Band—later...

 album Make a Joyful Noise with Drums and Guitars is considered one of the first gospel rock releases, or even "the first record of Christian rock", and Mind Garage
Mind Garage
Mind Garage was an American psychedelic rock and roll band from Morgantown, West Virginia, and a progenitor of Christian rock music. Their "Electric Liturgy" performed in 1968 was the first documented Christian rock worship service, and their 1969 eponymous debut RCA album was one of the earliest...

, "arguably the first band of its kind", whose 1967 Electric Liturgy was recorded in 1969 at RCA
RCA
RCA Corporation, founded as the Radio Corporation of America, was an American electronics company in existence from 1919 to 1986. The RCA trademark is currently owned by the French conglomerate Technicolor SA through RCA Trademark Management S.A., a company owned by Technicolor...

's "Nashville Sound" studio.

Larry Norman
Larry Norman
Larry David Norman was an American Christian musician, singer, songwriter, record label owner, and record producer, who worked with Christian rock music...

, often described as the "father of Christian rock music", and in his later years "the Grandfather of Christian rock", who, in 1969 recorded and released Upon This Rock, "the first commercially released Jesus rock album", challenged a view held by some conservative Christians (predominantly fundamentalists) that rock music was anti-Christian. One of his songs, "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?" summarized his attitude and his quest to pioneer Christian rock music. A cover version of Larry Norman's Rapture
Rapture
The rapture is a reference to the "being caught up" referred to in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, when the "dead in Christ" and "we who are alive and remain" will be caught up in the clouds to meet "the Lord"....

-themed "I Wish We'd All Been Ready" appears in the Evangelical Christian feature film A Thief in the Night and appeared on Cliff Richard's Christian album Small Corners along with "Why Should the Devil Have All the Good Music?". Another Christian rock pioneer, Randy Stonehill
Randy Stonehill
Randall Evan "Randy" Stonehill is an American singer-songwriter from Stockton, California, best known as one of the so-called "fathers of contemporary Christian music". His music is primarily folk rock in the style of James Taylor, but he has assayed other styles, with various albums focused on...

, released his first album in 1971, the Larry Norman-produced Born Twice
Born Twice
Born Twice is the title of an album by Randy Stonehill, which was released in 1971.-Track listing:All Songs Written by Randy Stonehill, except "Hand in the Hand" by Gene MacLellan, "I Need You" by Jimmy Owens, and "He's Got the Whole World" and "He is a Friend of Mine" are Public Domain-Words & Arr...

. In the most common pressing of the album, side one is entirely a live performance.
Another early Christian rock album was Mylon (We Believe) by Mylon LeFevre
Mylon LeFevre
Mylon LeFevre is an American Christian music singer, who was the leader of the Grammy Award-winning band Mylon and Broken Heart. He is a member of the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame. He currently travels around the United States, ministering, teaching and singing...

, son of members of the southern gospel group The LeFevres
The LeFevres
The LeFevres, or The Singing LeFevres, were an American Southern gospel singing group, active for nearly 50 years in the middle of the twentieth century....

. He recorded the album with members of Classics IV
Classics IV
The Classics IV were a band formed in Jacksonville, Florida, United States, in 1965, given credit for beginning the "soft southern rock" sound...

 and released it through Cotillion Records
Cotillion Records
Cotillion Records was a subsidiary of Atlantic Records and was active from 1968 through 1985. The label was originally formed as an outlet for blues and deep Southern soul; its first single, Otis Clay's version of "She's About A Mover", reached the R&B charts. Cotillion's catalog quickly expanded...

 in 1970.

Christian rock was often viewed as a marginal part of the nascent Contemporary Christian Music
Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith...

 (CCM) and contemporary gospel industry in the 1970s and '80s, though Christian folk rock artists like Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Douglas Cockburn OC is a Canadian folk/rock guitarist and singer-songwriter. His most recent album was released in March 2011. He has written songs in styles ranging from folk to jazz-influenced rock to rock and roll.-Biography:...

 and rock fusion artists like Phil Keaggy
Phil Keaggy
Phil Keaggy is an American acoustic and electric guitarist and vocalist who has released more than 50 albums and contributed to many more recordings in both the contemporary Christian music and mainstream markets...

 had some cross-over success. Petra
Petra (band)
Petra is a music group regarded as a pioneer of the Christian rock and contemporary Christian music genres. Formed in 1972, the band took its name from the Greek word for "rock"...

 and Resurrection Band
Resurrection Band
Resurrection Band, also known as Rez Band or REZ, was a Christian rock band formed in 1972. They were part of the Jesus People USA Christian community in Chicago and most of its members have continued in that community to this day. Known for their blend of blues-rock and hard rock, Resurrection...

, two of the bands who brought harder rock into the early CCM community, had their origins in the early-to-mid 1970s. They reached their height in popularity in the late eighties along side other Christian-identifying hard rock acts such as Stryper
Stryper
Stryper is a Christian glam metal band from Orange County, California. The group's lineup consists of Michael Sweet , Oz Fox , Tim Gaines , and Robert Sweet...

. The latter had videos played on MTV
MTV
MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

, one being "To Hell with the Devil", and even saw some airtime on mainstream radio stations with their hit song "Honestly". Christian rock has proved less successful in the UK and Europe, although such artists as Bryn Haworth
Bryn Haworth
Bryn Haworth is a British Christian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pioneer of Jesus music in mainstream rock. Born in Blackburn, Lancashire, UK, he has released some twenty-two albums and several singles since the 1970s as well as guesting as guitarist on many other albums by rock and folk...

 have found commercial success by combining blues and mainstream rock music with Christian themes.

1990s-present


The 1990s saw an explosion of Christian rock.

Many of the popular 1990s Christian bands were initially identified as "Christian Alternative rock
Alternative rock
Alternative rock is a genre of rock music and a term used to describe a diverse musical movement that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1980s and became widely popular by the 1990s...

", including Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay
Jars of Clay is a Christian rock band from Nashville, Tennessee. They met at Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois.Jars of Clay consists of Dan Haseltine on vocals, Charlie Lowell on piano and keyboards, Stephen Mason on lead guitars and Matthew Odmark on rhythm guitars...

, Audio Adrenaline
Audio Adrenaline
Audio Adrenaline was a Christian rock band that formed in the late 1980s at Kentucky Christian University in Grayson, Kentucky. During the band's 17-year existence, they were awarded two Grammy awards, multiple Dove Awards and they released 17 number one singles. They were regular performers at the...

 and the later albums of dc Talk
Dc Talk
DC Talk , is a Grammy-winning Christian rock music trio. The group was formed in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1987 by Toby McKeehan, Michael Tait, and Kevin Max Smith. They have released five major studio albums together: DC Talk , Nu Thang , Free at Last , Jesus Freak , and Supernatural...

. Outside Anglophone countries
Anglosphere
Anglosphere is a neologism which refers to those nations with English as the most common language. The term can be used more specifically to refer to those nations which share certain characteristics within their cultures based on a linguistic heritage, through being former British colonies...

, bands like Oficina G3
Oficina G3
Oficina G3 is a Christian rock band from São Paulo, Brazil. Lead vocalist and guitarist Juninho Afram formed the band along with drummer Walter Lopes and bassist Wagner García in 1987. Through their history they have changed their musical style very drastically...

 (Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

) and The Kry
The Kry
The Kry is a Christian rock/worship band from Quebec City, Canada. The band consists of Jean-Luc La Joie Yves La Joie, , Nic Rodriguez , The Lajoie brothers currently both serve on staff at located in Southern California.In addition to their invitational songs,...

 (Quebec
Quebec
Quebec or is a province in east-central Canada. It is the only Canadian province with a predominantly French-speaking population and the only one whose sole official language is French at the provincial level....

, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

) have achieved moderate success. One of the most successful bands from the UK was the band Delirious?
Delirious?
Delirious? were an English Christian rock and worship band. For the majority of their career, the lineup featured Martin Smith on vocals and guitar, Stu G on guitar and backing vocals, Jon Thatcher on bass guitar, Tim Jupp on keys and piano, and Stew Smith on drums and percussion...

.
This decade also saw a notable boom in the Christian / R&B / Hip Hop / Rap, and the Christian / Punk / Pop, and Christian / Metal / Death Metal circles.


By the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the success of Christian-inspired acts like Skillet
Skillet (band)
Skillet is an American Christian rock band formed in Memphis, Tennessee in 1996. The band currently consists of husband and wife John and Korey Cooper , along with Jen Ledger and lead guitarist Seth Morrison. The band has released eight albums, two receiving Grammy nominations: Collide and Comatose...

, Thousand Foot Krutch
Thousand Foot Krutch
Thousand Foot Krutch is a Canadian Christian rock band formed in 1995. They have released five major studio albums: Set It Off , Phenomenon , The Art of Breaking , The Flame In All of Us , and Welcome to the Masquerade . They also have one live album, Live at the Masquerade...

, Decyfer Down
Decyfer Down
Decyfer Down is a Rock band formed in 1999 and based in Morehead City, North Carolina. Up until 2002–the year that Chris Clonts joined the band–they went by the moniker Allysonhymn . Following Clonts' arrival they switched to the current name, Decyfer Down...

, Underoath
Underoath
Underoath is an American Christian metalcore band from Tampa, Florida. Founded by Dallas Taylor and Luke Morton on November 30, 1997 in Ocala, Florida, subsequently its additional members were from Tampa, Florida...

, Kutless
Kutless
Kutless is a Christian rock band from Portland, Oregon formed in 1999. Since their formation, they have released six studio albums including their latest, It Is Well. The band has also released a live album, Live from Portland. Currently, they have sold almost 2 million records.-Biography:Formed in...

, Disciple
Disciple (band)
Disciple is a Christian metal / rock band from Knoxville, Tennessee, formed in 1992.-History:Disciple was formed in 1992 by high school friends Kevin Young, Brad Noah, and Tim Barrett. The band released their first CD, What Was I Thinking in 1995...

 and Relient K
Relient K
Relient K is an American rock band formed in 1998 in Canton, Ohio by Matt Thiessen, Brian Pittman, and Matt Hoopes during the band's junior year in high school and their time at Malone University...

 saw a shift toward mainstream exposure in the Christian rock scene.

Among popular Christian rock bands of the first decade of the 21st century that exemplified this trend was RED
Red (band)
Red is an American rock band from Nashville, Tennessee, formed in 2004. The band's lineup consists of singer Michael Barnes, guitarist Anthony Armstrong, bassist Randy Armstrong and drummer Joe Rickard. They are known for their Christian rock music which incorporates other sounds such as...

.

Christian rock has primarily been a Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 phenomenon, but there are also some Roman Catholic bands such as Critical Mass
Critical Mass (Catholic rock)
Critical Mass is a Christian rock band from the Waterloo Region of Ontario, Canada. The band is heavily influenced by its Catholic roots. They have produced and released five albums over their decade-long existence...

. Some Eastern Orthodox Christian rock groups, mostly from Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, started performing in the late 1980s and 1990s. Alisa
Alisa
Alisa is a Russian hard rock band, who are credited as one of the most influential bands in the Russian rock movement.-Biography:Alisa was formed in November 1983 by bassist Svyatoslav Zadery. The band's name originated from Zadery nickname...

 and Black Coffee are credited as the most prominent examples. The Orthodox Christian lyrics of these bands often overlap with historical and patriotic songs about ancient Rus
Rus' (region)
Rus' is an ethno-cultural region in Eastern Europe inhabited by Eastern Slavs. Historically, it comprises the northern part of Ukraine, the north-western part of Russia, Belarus and some eastern parts of Poland and Slovakia.The name comes from Old East Slavic , and remains the same in modern...

. Christian rock is on the rise in the Russian music underground in 2000s, and Orgia Pravednikov
Orgia Pravednikov
Orgia Pravednikov is a Russian rock group, which formed in 1999 by uniting the art-rock band «ARTEL» and rock-bard Sergey Kalugin. The peculiar sound of the band arises from the combination of acoustic and electric sessions.-Studio Albums:* 2001 — Oglaschennie, isydite! * 2005 — Dveri! Dveri! *...

 is one of the most notable happenings.

The musical genre that was once rejected by mainstream Christian churches is now the most-important recruitment tool of their successor congregations. According to Terri McLean, author of New Harmonies, old-guard churches (United Methodist is given as an example) of the late 1990s were experiencing a rapid decline in membership and were under threat of disbandment within the next decade, a trend that has been going on since the 1980s. McLean, using numerous quotes from theologians, Christian apologists and professors, goes on to offer contemporary Christian music as the reason for the falling popularity of more traditionalist churches. The definition of contemporary Christian, as offered by New Harmonies, is of a genre not far removed from traditional hymns; it is simply more accessible. The reality is that while a form of modernized hymns do exist in today's churches and do have an impact on church recruitment, there also exists both within and outside these churches a form of music (Christian rock) that has only one element in common with previous religious genres: its worship of God.

This element, the worship of God, is what was originally removed from or hidden within the lyrics of early, secular rock n' roll. Santino described one method of changing Christian lyrics as a process that transformed “lyrics that sang of the mystical love of God into lyrics that celebrated the earthly love of woman”. Howard & Streck offer examples of this, comparing Ray Charles' “This Little Girl of Mine” to “This Little Light of Mine” and “Talking about You” to “Talking about Jesus”. They claim that because of actions such as this, despite the liberal editing of the original hymns, “gospel 'showed rock how to sing'”. Howard & Streck go on to describe how the conflict between music and religion, spearheaded by southern fundamentalists, was originally racially-based, but how in the sixties this moved on to a clash over the perceived lifestyle of rock musicians.

Definitions


There are multiple definitions of what qualifies as a "Christian rock" band. Christian rock bands that explicitly state their belief
Belief
Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.-Belief, knowledge and epistemology:The terms belief and knowledge are used differently in philosophy....

s and use religious imagery in their lyrics, like Servant
Servant (band)
Servant was a Christian rock group that grew out of the counter-culture Jesus Movement of the sixties and seventies. The band was founded in Victoria, British Columbia in 1976 by Jim Palosaari and performed to audiences throughout North America, Europe and Australia for over 12 years. Originally...

, Third Day
Third Day
Third Day is a Grammy award-winning Christian rock band formed in Marietta, Georgia during the 1990s. The band was founded by lead singer Mac Powell, guitarist Mark Lee and former member Billy Wilkins. The other band members are bassist Tai Anderson and drummer David Carr...

, and Petra
Petra (band)
Petra is a music group regarded as a pioneer of the Christian rock and contemporary Christian music genres. Formed in 1972, the band took its name from the Greek word for "rock"...

, tend to be considered a part of the contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music
Contemporary Christian music is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith...

 (CCM) industry and play for a predominantly Christian market.

Other bands perform music influenced by their faith or containing Christian imagery, but see their audience as the general public.
They may avoid specific mention of God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

 or Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, or they may write more personal, cryptic, or humorous lyrics concerning their faith rather than direct praise songs.

Such bands are sometimes rejected by the CCM rock scene and may specifically reject the CCM label, however many have been accepted as Christian bands.
Other bands may experiment with more abrasive musical styles, which until recently met with resistance from the CCM scene.
However, beginning in the 1990s and 2000s there was much wider acceptance even by religious purists of Christian metal
Christian metal
Christian metal, also known as white metal, is a form of heavy metal music usually defined by its message in a song's lyrics as well as the band's dedication to Christianity...

, Christian industrial and Christian punk
Christian punk
Christian punk is a form of Christian music and a subgenre of punk rock with some degree of Christian lyrical content. Much disagreement persists about the boundaries of the subgenre, and the extent that their lyrics are explicitly Christian varies among bands...

. Many of these bands are on predominantly Christian record labels, such as Tooth and Nail Records and Facedown Records
Facedown Records
Facedown Records is a Christian record label based in Fallbrook, California, devoted mostly to hardcore punk and metalcore bands . Founded by No Innocent Victim drummer Jason Dunn, the label started off small with a number of 7" record releases by bands such as Overcome, Dodgin Bullets, and Born...

.

Rock artists such as Switchfoot
Switchfoot
Switchfoot is an American rock band from San Diego, California. The band's members are Jon Foreman , Tim Foreman , Chad Butler , Jerome Fontamillas , and Drew Shirley .After early successes in the Christian rock scene, Switchfoot first gained mainstream...

, do not claim to be "Christian bands", but include members who openly profess to be Christians or at times may feature Christian thought, imagery, scripture or other influences in their music.
Some of these bands, like Creed and R3D played up the spiritual content of their music and were widely considered a "Christian band" by the popular media, despite their later disavowals of the label. Some bands reject the label because they do not wish to exclusively attract Christian fans, or because they have been identified with another particular music genre, such as heavy metal
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

 or indie rock
Indie rock
Indie rock is a genre of alternative rock that originated in the United Kingdom and the United States in the 1980s. Indie rock is extremely diverse, with sub-genres that include lo-fi, post-rock, math rock, indie pop, dream pop, noise rock, space rock, sadcore, riot grrrl and emo, among others...

, and feel more creative kinship with members of that scene.

Evangelistic goals



The aims for making Christian music vary among different artists and bands. Often, the music makes evangelist calls for Christian forms of praise and worship.

Accompanying such music, street outreach, local festivities, church functions, and many alternative forms of internal or (soulful) expression may occur. Since 2001 such Christian artists as Third Day
Third Day
Third Day is a Grammy award-winning Christian rock band formed in Marietta, Georgia during the 1990s. The band was founded by lead singer Mac Powell, guitarist Mark Lee and former member Billy Wilkins. The other band members are bassist Tai Anderson and drummer David Carr...

, Kutless
Kutless
Kutless is a Christian rock band from Portland, Oregon formed in 1999. Since their formation, they have released six studio albums including their latest, It Is Well. The band has also released a live album, Live from Portland. Currently, they have sold almost 2 million records.-Biography:Formed in...

, Thousand Foot Krutch
Thousand Foot Krutch
Thousand Foot Krutch is a Canadian Christian rock band formed in 1995. They have released five major studio albums: Set It Off , Phenomenon , The Art of Breaking , The Flame In All of Us , and Welcome to the Masquerade . They also have one live album, Live at the Masquerade...

, and Disciple
Disciple (band)
Disciple is a Christian metal / rock band from Knoxville, Tennessee, formed in 1992.-History:Disciple was formed in 1992 by high school friends Kevin Young, Brad Noah, and Tim Barrett. The band released their first CD, What Was I Thinking in 1995...

 have sung songs that carry overtly Christian messages, incorporating lyrics that directly focus on Jesus. Many bands of this type give time for conversion messages during concerts.

Other bands, such as Underoath
Underoath
Underoath is an American Christian metalcore band from Tampa, Florida. Founded by Dallas Taylor and Luke Morton on November 30, 1997 in Ocala, Florida, subsequently its additional members were from Tampa, Florida...

, Blessthefall
Blessthefall
Blessthefall is an American metalcore band from Phoenix, Arizona, currently signed to Fearless Records. The band was founded in 2003 by guitarist Mike Frisby, drummer Matt Traynor, and bassist Jared Warth. Their debut album, His Last Walk, with original vocalist Craig Mabbitt, was released April...

, and Haste the Day
Haste the Day
Haste the Day was an American Christian metalcore band signed with Solid State Records that was formed in Carmel, Indiana 2001. Their band is named after a lyric in the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul." The band released their debut release, an extended play titled That They May Know You, in 2002,...

 incorporate symbolism and Christian messages in a less direct way to draw in non-Christian and Christian listeners to their music.

Other bands do not necessarily call themselves Christian bands, although the members are usually all professing Christians. They have spiritual or at least "positive" lyrics. The members say that their Christian faith affects their music. Bands such as Switchfoot
Switchfoot
Switchfoot is an American rock band from San Diego, California. The band's members are Jon Foreman , Tim Foreman , Chad Butler , Jerome Fontamillas , and Drew Shirley .After early successes in the Christian rock scene, Switchfoot first gained mainstream...

 have said they try to write music for both Christians and non-Christians alike. However, they do not attempt to evangelize or proselytize.

Festivals


Festivals range from single day events to multiple-day festivals that provide camping and other activities.

One of the first in the USA was the six day Explo '72
Explo '72
Explo '72 was an evangelistic conference sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ, planned and directed by Paul Eshleman. Explo '72 has been called the most visible event of the 1970s Jesus movement, and came to be associated with the same, even though its primary attendees were not directly involved...

 held in Dallas, Texas in June 1972 that was attended by around 80,000 people with around 100,000 - 150,000 at the final concert and which featured acts such as Larry Norman
Larry Norman
Larry David Norman was an American Christian musician, singer, songwriter, record label owner, and record producer, who worked with Christian rock music...

, The Archers
The Archers
The Archers is a long-running British soap opera broadcast on the BBC's main spoken-word channel, Radio 4. It was originally billed as "an everyday story of country folk", but is now described on its Radio 4 web site as "contemporary drama in a rural setting"...

, Love Song
Love Song (band)
Love Song was one of the main Jesus music bands, one of the first Christian rock bands. It was founded in 1970 by Chuck Girard, Tommy Coomes, Jay Truax, and Fred Field. Additionally, the earliest members included David Ingram on keyboards, Ernie Earnshaw on drums and Jack Schaeffer on bass. It was...

, Randy Matthews
Randy Matthews
Randy Matthews is a Christian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and pioneer of Jesus music. He was born into a family with at least five ordained ministers, including his father, Monty, a founding member of the Jordanaires. When Randy was in high school in Lamar, Mo., he sang in a quartet called The...

, Children of the Day
Children of the Day
Children of the Day was a Contemporary Christian music group that recorded and toured from 1971 to 1979. It is considered by many to be the world's first contemporary Christian music group.-Beginnings:...

, Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash
John R. "Johnny" Cash was an American singer-songwriter, actor, and author, who has been called one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century...

 and Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson
Kristoffer "Kris" Kristofferson is an American musician, actor, and writer. He is known for hits such as "Me and Bobby McGee", "For the Good Times", "Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down", and "Help Me Make It Through the Night"...

.

Significant festivals in the USA are Creation Festival
Creation Festival
Creation Festival consists of two annual, four-day Christian music festivals held in the United States. According to www.Creationfest.com, the festivals have become the "Nation's Largest Christian Music Festivals." This is in reflection to Creation Northeast being known to attract 100,000...

, Ichthus Festival, and Cornerstone Festival
Cornerstone Festival
Cornerstone Festival is a Christian music festival put on by Jesus People USA and held annually around the 4th of July near Bushnell, Illinois. In a given year, many artists that play at Cornerstone also play at other events such as Creation Festival and mainstream festivals and tours such as the...

. There is also a festival in Orlando, Florida
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

 called Rock the Universe
Rock the Universe
Rock the Universe is an annual Christian rock festival that takes place at Universal Studios Florida. It started in 1998, and it normally takes place in the first or second week of September.The festival has had three main stages over the years...

, a two-day festival at Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort is a theme park resort in Orlando, Florida. It is wholly owned by NBCUniversal and its affiliates. The resort consists of two theme parks , Universal CityWalk , and three Loews Hotels...

 that overlaps with the Night of Joy
Night of Joy (festival)
Night of Joy is an annual contemporary Christian music festival that takes place at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It started in 1983 and normally takes place in the first or second week of September. The event was held at the Magic Kingdom until 2008, when it was moved to Disney's Hollywood...

 event at Walt Disney World. Ichthus, currently held in Kentucky, is a three-day festival that involves over 65 bands. In Buffalo, New York, the annual four-day Kingdom Bound festival at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort attracts more than 55,000 Christians annually.

There are also many in the UK, including Greenbelt Festival
Greenbelt festival
Greenbelt Festival is a festival of arts, faith and justice held annually in England since 1974. Greenbelt has grown from a Christian music festival with an audience of 1,500 young Christians to its current more secular festival attended by around 20,000 - Christians and non-Christians.The festival...

 (the largest of UK Christian festivals) , Soul Survivor, 'Ultimate Events' at Alton Towers
Alton Towers
Alton Towers is a theme park and resort located in Staffordshire, England. It attracts around 2.7 million visitors per year making it the most visited theme park in the United Kingdom. Alton Towers is also the 9th most visited theme park in Europe...

, Frenzy in Edinburgh and Creation Fest, Woolacombe, Devon, which is not related to Creationfest
Creation Festival
Creation Festival consists of two annual, four-day Christian music festivals held in the United States. According to www.Creationfest.com, the festivals have become the "Nation's Largest Christian Music Festivals." This is in reflection to Creation Northeast being known to attract 100,000...

 in the United States.
The Flevo Festival
Flevo Festival
The Flevo Festival is an open air Christian music festival held each August in The Netherlands. The festival was first organized as the Kamperland Festival in 1978 by the Dutch arm of Youth for Christ and became a private foundation in 2002....

 of The Netherlands, which offers seminars, theater, stand-up comedy, sports and movies as well as Christian music from a wide variety of genres, is considered to be one of the biggest Christian festivals in Europe. Another large festival in the northern Europe is Skjærgårdsfestivalen in Norway.

In the southern Hemisphere, the largest is Parachute music festival
Parachute music festival
The Parachute Music Festival is a Christian music festival held annually at Mystery Creek Events Centre, Hamilton, New Zealand.The festival is run by Parachute Music and lasts for four days and three nights. 'Parachute' is the Southern Hemisphere's largest Christian music festival, primarily...

 in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. Every year it headlines Christian rock bands. Many events are held in Australia called, Easterfest (in Toowoomba) Encounterfest, Jam United, Black Stump and Big Exo Day. Bogotá, Colombia
Bogotá
Bogotá, Distrito Capital , from 1991 to 2000 called Santa Fé de Bogotá, is the capital, and largest city, of Colombia. It is also designated by the national constitution as the capital of the department of Cundinamarca, even though the city of Bogotá now comprises an independent Capital district...

 hosts the summer festival Gospel al Parque.

The most "underground" expression of Christian rock is the annual Cornerstone Festival
Cornerstone Festival
Cornerstone Festival is a Christian music festival put on by Jesus People USA and held annually around the 4th of July near Bushnell, Illinois. In a given year, many artists that play at Cornerstone also play at other events such as Creation Festival and mainstream festivals and tours such as the...

, sponsored by the Jesus People USA
Jesus People USA
Jesus People USA is a Christian intentional community in Uptown, on the North Side of Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in 1972, coming out of Jesus People Milwaukee in the Jesus Movement, and is the largest of the few remaining communes from that movement...

, a community which formed during the Jesus Movement
Jesus movement
The Jesus movement was a movement in Christianity beginning on the West Coast of the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s and spreading primarily through North America and Europe, before dying out by the early 1980s. It was the major Christian element within the hippie counterculture,...

 of the 1970s.

In popular culture


Christian rock has been a subject of parody in popular culture, particularly in television sitcom series. For example in the South Park
South Park
South Park is an American animated television series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone for the Comedy Central television network. Intended for mature audiences, the show has become famous for its crude language, surreal, satirical, and dark humor that lampoons a wide range of topics...

episode "Christian Rock Hard
Christian Rock Hard
"Christian Rock Hard" is the ninth episode of the seventh season of the American animated series South Park. It originally aired on Comedy Central in the United States on October 23, 2003. In the episode, the kids start a rock band, but concerned with the fact that people will potentially download...

", Eric Cartman
Eric Cartman
Eric Theodore Cartman is a fictional character in the American animated television series South Park. One of four main characters, along with Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovski, and Kenny McCormick, he is generally referred to within the series by his last name...

 forms a Christian rock band simply to make financial profit off this kind of music by taking secular lyrics and replacing certain words with "Jesus", saying "It's the easiest crappiest music in the world, right? If we just play songs about how much we love Jesus, all the Christians will buy our crap!" In the King of the Hill
King of the Hill
King of the Hill is an American animated dramedy series created by Mike Judge and Greg Daniels, that ran from January 12, 1997, to May 6, 2010, on Fox network. It centers on the Hills, a working-class Methodist family in the fictional small town of Arlen, Texas...

episode "Reborn to Be Wild", Bobby Hill gets into Christian rock when he goes to a church group that consists of punks who worship God through skateboarding and rock. Hank Hill approves of Bobby's newfound interest in religion, but disapproves of the way the group treats Christianity as a fad, commenting to someone at a Christian rock festival that "You people are not making Christianity any better, you're just making rock 'n' roll worse." In the Seinfeld
Seinfeld
Seinfeld is an American television sitcom that originally aired on NBC from July 5, 1989, to May 14, 1998, lasting nine seasons, and is now in syndication. It was created by Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the latter starring as a fictionalized version of himself...

episode 172, The Burning, when Elaine Benes
Elaine Benes
Elaine Marie Benes is a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Elaine's best friend is her ex-boyfriend Jerry Seinfeld; she is also good friends with George Costanza and Cosmo Kramer...

 has found out that her on-and-off boyfriend David Puddy's car radio's memory is filled with Christian rock stations, George Costanza
George Costanza
George Louis Costanza is a character in the American television sitcom Seinfeld , played by Jason Alexander. He has variously been described as a "short, stocky, slow-witted, bald man" , "Lord of the Idiots" , and as "the greatest sitcom character of all time"...

 comments "I like Christian rock. It's very positive. It's not like those real musicians who think they're so cool and hip." In the The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

episode "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily
Alone Again, Natura-Diddily
"Alone Again, Natura-Diddily" is the fourteenth episode of the eleventh season of The Simpsons, and marks the final regular appearance of the character Maude Flanders. In the episode, she is killed in an accident while watching a speedway race, devastating Ned Flanders and prompting Homer to find a...

", Ned Flanders
Ned Flanders
Nedward "Ned" Flanders, Jr. is a recurring fictional character in the animated television series The Simpsons. He is voiced by Harry Shearer, and first appeared in the series premiere episode "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire". He is the next door neighbor to the Simpson family and is generally...

's date named Rachel Jordon fronts a Christian rock band called "Kovenant."

A documentary film about Christian rock titled Bleed into One has been filmed and it planned for release in 2010. Another documentary about Christian rock titled, Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music? was released on DVD in 2006. The title is a reference to a quote by William Booth
William Booth
William Booth was a British Methodist preacher who founded The Salvation Army and became its first General...

 and the song of the same name by Larry Norman
Larry Norman
Larry David Norman was an American Christian musician, singer, songwriter, record label owner, and record producer, who worked with Christian rock music...

.

Certain critics argue that Christian rock music and its subjects seldom appeal to non-believers: Allmusic wrote that "unless a Christian rocker plans to perform for Christian audiences exclusively, he or she needs to provide music that secular audiences will find relevant -- music that listeners can relate to on some level even if they aren't practicing Christians."

Acceptance amongst Christian denominations


Christian rock has been called an oxymoron
Oxymoron
An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory terms...

, mainly because rock music is often associated with themes that are antithetical to the teachings of Christianity, a reason why "many fundamentalist religious groups and denominations decry rock music in general." Such groups "may consider established contemporary Christian artists such as Amy Grant
Amy Grant
Amy Lee Grant is an American singer-songwriter, musician, author, media personality and actress, best known for her Christian music. She has been referred to as "The Queen of Christian Pop"...

, Petra
Petra (band)
Petra is a music group regarded as a pioneer of the Christian rock and contemporary Christian music genres. Formed in 1972, the band took its name from the Greek word for "rock"...

, Steve Green and Twila Paris
Twila Paris
Twila Paris Wright is a Contemporary Christian Music songwriter, author, vocalist and pianist.-Musical career:Since 1980, Twila Paris has released 22 albums, amassed 33 number one Christian Radio singles, and was named the Gospel Music Association Female Vocalist of the Year three years in a row...

 as reprehensible as secular bands like White Zombie
White Zombie
White Zombie was a Grammy Award-nominated American heavy metal band. Based in New York City, White Zombie was originally a noise rock band. White Zombie are better-known for their later heavy metal-oriented sound...

 and Marilyn Manson
Marilyn Manson (band)
Marilyn Manson is an American metal band from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Formed in 1989 by Brian Warner and Scott Putesky, the group was originally named Marilyn Manson & the Spooky Kids with their uniquely theatrical performances gathering a local cult following in the early '90s. This attention...

". According to Richard D. Barnet, Christian rock bands "too have come under criticism for supposedly promoting satanism.".

Barnet states that Christian rock acts are controversial because they do not meet the Fundamental Evangelistic Association's criteria for a truly "Christian" song: must be doctrinally correct (according to FEA's interpretation of the Bible), it should not contain syncopation
Syncopation
In music, syncopation includes a variety of rhythms which are in some way unexpected in that they deviate from the strict succession of regularly spaced strong and weak but also powerful beats in a meter . These include a stress on a normally unstressed beat or a rest where one would normally be...

 ("Does it stir the flesh to 'boogie,' or the spirit to praise the Lord?"), and it must be politically correct ("The character of much what is called "Christian" music may best be characterized as charismatic... universalist, socialist, utopian, idealistic."). Organizations such as Dial-the-Truth Ministries
Dial-the-Truth Ministries
Dial-the-Truth Ministries is a Biblical Christian website. The organization began in 1990 as a telephone ministry with "inspirational" recorded messages for the caller...

 believe Christian rock bands fail to adhere to the prohibitions of II Corinthians 6:14, which instructs Christians against uniting the righteous with the unrighteous.

Despite such criticism, Barnet concludes: "It should be noted that Christian rock also has millions of supporters, even among the ministry." Frank Breeden, president of the Gospel Music Association
Gospel Music Association
The Gospel Music Association was founded in 1964 for the purpose of supporting and promoting the development of all forms of Gospel music. There are currently about 4,000 members worldwide...

, the organization that sponsors the Dove Awards, the Christian music equivalent of the Grammys, states that "There really is no such things as a Christian B-flat. Music in itself is an amoral
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

vehicle."

Further reading

  • . Young, Shawn David. Hippies, Jesus Freaks, and Music (Ann Arbor: Xanedu/Copley Original Works, 2005). ISBN 1-59399-201-7