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70s Christian Music
Contemporary Christian Music Pioneers of the 70's
Christian music has been a HUGE part of my life from the time I was little. My dad was a pastor and led the worship, and my mom played the piano in every church we were ever a part of. I continued in this tradition, becoming the Minster of Music, worship leader and choir director in the churches that have been a part of my life since adulthood.
This lens is a tribute to the contemporary Christian music and artists that inspired me to study music in college, and spend my life making music to glorify God.
The Shocking Christian Music of the 1970s
Hippies in the Church? Scandalous!
When I was growing up the only "contemporary" Christian music was hymn arrangements and gospel music from the country music tradition. Popular groups included the Blackwood Brothers and Bill Gather Trio. My parents loved this music...still do...but it didn't speak to me. There was nothing, absolutely nothing with Christian lyrics, in the music styles of the times. My friends were listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash, Simone & Garfunkel, The Beatles and others. I felt so left out.
Then, something amazing happened. A little church named Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California began to welcome hippies into their church. Long haired, bell-bottomed hippies. Shockingly, the church did NOT require them to cut their hair before entering the church. Even more amazing was that the church allowed these hippies to get up on stage every Friday night and sing...their OWN music...in CHURCH! It was simply scandalous! Rock and Roll was considered by most mainline Christian sects to be "of the devil". How could they be letting these hippies sing Rock and Roll in a church...even if there were Christian lyrics to it? Why, nobody had done anything this scandalous since Jesus had dinner with the tax collector, or partied with sinners! SHOCKING!
The wonderful "hippies" getting saved in that church began a revolution in Christian music. Finally, Christian music could also follow popular music styles of the day, but with a higher purpose of leading people to God.
Christian Music Pioneer - Love Song - Chuck Girard and the Love Song Band
"Love Song" was the first contemporary Christian music album I ever owned. The amazing thing is...my parents bought it for me. They were among the nay-sayers who where rankled by the idea of hippies and hippie-music being allowed in church. Thankfully, they were smart enough to see my love of music, and how I connected with this new form of Christian music...so they bought the album for my birthday. I will be FOREVER thankful for this. It literally changed my life.
I practically wore this album out I listened to it so much. The music of this band inspired me. It lifted me up to heights I had never before felt in my musical, worship experience. I picked up a guitar, taught myself to play and started writing and singing my own songs.
The song in this clip is "Little Country Church", by Love Song. It is a great description of the changes happening at that time..
Another Favorite From my Love Song Album - "Let Us Be One"
Another great song with the same theme. Hey folks, we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We gotta put aside our differences and be one in Christ.
Christian Music Pioneer - Karen Lafferty
Girls can play guitar???
Well, I was a girl, and I played guitar, but I had never seen a girl play guitar like Karen Lafferty played guitar...and she was a Christian to boot! This woman became a role model to me. I felt that if she could do it, I could do it, since the same God that had called her into ministry was calling me too.
I never attained the virtuosity of the guitar that Karen displayed, but she inspired me and I wanted to be like her. It pushed me to learn and grow as a musician and a performer in ways that I never would have without her inspiration.
Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
Karen Lafferty Tells All - Interview with a Christian Music Pioneer
Karen Lafferty was interviewed and asked about how she came to write her best known song, "Seek Ye First". She tells of her background as a barroom performer and how she found faith in God, and began channeling her musical talents to work for Him.
Christian Music Pioneer - 2nd Chapter of Acts - Radical harmonies, producer of decades of wonderful Christian music.
The 2nd Chapter of Acts is one of my favorite groups. The brother and sister team of Matthew Ward, Annie Herring and Nelly Greisen began their musical journey n the early 70's with the tragic death of their parents. Matthew and Nelly went to live with their older sister Annie, and her husband Buck Herring, a recording engineer and music producer. Annie wrote songs and played the piano, and soon the house was filled with the incredible tight harmonies and glorious, homogeneous sound that only family members singing together can produce.
I love this group and their story of triumph over tragedy. Their music simply bristles with faith and confidence in God's ability to lift us up and set us in a place of warmth and love. Since I lived in near Los Angeles, where they were based, I was able to attend many of their concerts over the years. Each one was a thrilling, worshipful experience. There really is nothing like the sound of this group. The three sing with one voice, richly textured and harmonious. Their music spans the decades, from their first album "Footnotes", which featured the runaway hit "Easter Song" in 1974, to their final release "Far Away Places" in 1988.
Both Annie Herring and Matthew had also produced their own solo albums.
Here is their most loved song "Easter Song".
The Easter Song 2nd Chapter of Acts
Easter Song and MORE
Who's Your Favorite?
Whether you favor the music of today or the music of the past. Who is your favorite artist? What was your favorite song?