Contemporary Christian Music
Where It Came From, What It Is, Where It's Going

© 1985  Paul Baker

Crossway Books, Westchester, Illinois — All Rights Reserved


1. Contemporary Christian music — History and criticism 
ML3187.5 .B25 ~~ 783.6/09 19 ~~ LCCN: 8472002 ~~ OCLC: 12075389 ~~ 279p.

Contemporary Christian Music is presently held by 223 libraries including the Yale University Music Library and The Library of Congress.

Table of Contents

Prelude — 1979 by Pat Boone          ix

Foreword — 1979 by Larry Norman           xi

Introduction — 1979-1985          xv

Part I: 1955-1978

1/ Eve of Destruction          3

2/ He's Everything to Me           10

3/ Jesus Is Just Alright          18

4/ Jesus Christ, S. R. O. (Standing Room Only)          25

5/ Little Country Church           31

6/ Turn Your Radio On           42

7/ Day by Day          49

8/ Pass It On          53

9/ Fat City          60

10/ It's Only Right          65

11/ The Rock That Doesn't Roll          74

12/ All Day Dinner          82

13/ Let Us Be One          89

14/ Superstar          96

15/ We Need a Whole Lot More of Jesus
and a Lot Less Rock and Roll

16/ Gospel Light          109

17/ Time We Returned           114

Part II: 1979-1984

18/ Hits and Singles          123

19/ Music and Mammon: Entertainment or Ministry?           132

20/ Reaching the Young          137

21/ Crossing Over from the Other Side           141

22/ Penetrating the Secular Market           151

23/ Aerobimania and Fallen Warriors           157

24/ Coping with Burnout           161

25/ Praise and Worship           168

26/ Common Ground, New Controversy           174

27/ New Frontiers          182

28/ International Ripples           190

29/ Muscle Shoals           203

30/ Gospel Music: Christian Witness          211

Appendix A: ''Religious'' Songs Which Reached the
Billboard Top 100 Pop charts 1955-1984

Appendix B: The Contemporary Christian Music
Family Tree—1963-1978

Appendix C: Music Comparison Chart     239

Notes         258

Bibliography        262

Index         266

This book is dedicated to the girl at the New Year's Eve concert in Denver whom I didn't hug, and to Charles McPheeters, who would have.

What People Are Saying

Anyone remotely interested in music will have to read this book

Larry Black, Radio Personality

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This book excels as a history of Contemporary Christian Music. . . A thoughtful, well-written account.

Moody Monthly

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Paul Baker's firsthand experience has given him a unique insight into the strengths and foibles of the Christian music scene. A well-balanced and comprehensive overview. The definitive work. . .

Cornerstone Magazine

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Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) is expanding at a faster rate than any other type of music. Already it outsells classical and jazz. Yet twenty years ago, it didn't even exist. What accounts for such amazing success?

Here is the full story behind the rise and rapid growth of CCM. Paul Baker takes us back to its beginnings in traditional Christian music; through its struggle for acceptance as it began to sound more and more like pop and rock; through its ''Jesus Music'' phase; and right up to the present as Christian punk, heavy metal, new wave, and techno-pop bands arrive on the scene, and as its biggest star, Amy Grant, becomes the first CCM solo artist to have an album certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. Along the way, Baker examines some key issues facing CCM:

— Is the music becoming ''too commercial''?

— Can Christian artists stay in the secular industry and retain an authentic witness?

— Will the distinctive Christian character of the music be diluted as it gains wider acceptance?

— Can aggressive secular styles such as punk and heavy metal be successfully adapted by Christian artists?

Paul Baker has authored over four hundred articles on music for Saturday Evening Post, Billboard, Cashbox, Bookstore Journal, Group and other magazines. He was awarded Billboard Magazine's Air Personality Award for 1971 in Top 40 medium market radio. He has been a DJ on radio stations in Tampa, West Palm Beach, Denver, Wichita, Dallas, and Birmingham, Alabama. His one hour radio show, A Joyful Noise, was the longest continuously broadcast show of its kind in radio, airing for eleven years from 1970 to 1981.

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All rights reserved. Used by permission of the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by USA copyright law.

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