You could say that contemporary Christian music is as old as rock and roll itself, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Rock and roll is generally considered to have started in the 1950’s, which is about the same time Christian music was becoming more mainstream.
Most folks of a certain age can recall how impactful the hit single “God Only Knows” the Beach Boys released in 1966 was. It’s a song about love, the unfathomable impact of losing love, and the reliance on faith to help cope with uncertain futures.
It’s interesting though, because it was the first Beach Boys song that directly addressed God, something that was totally unexpected of a rock band in the 60’s. In fact, while the 60’s and 70’s was a time of revival and angst, there was also a parallel spiritual movement called The Jesus Movement growing right alongside it.
The Jesus Movement
This evangelical Christian movement originated on the West Coast of the United States starting in the late 60’s and early 70’s. It left a legacy of future denominations of the Christian church but also a uniquely strong impact on worship music during this time.
Music during this time became an acute form of self expression, as we know with the plethora of rock bands that quickly rose to fame during this time, and the church was no different! It allowed for people of faith to express their devotion and open the doors to anyone else willing to listen for a moment. Christians quickly felt their faith renew with a sense of energy and spirit previously unheard of.
This paved the way for iconic Christian music singers like Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant to share their music with a majority Christian audience. More recently, there seems to be a divide between “acceptable” Christian music and “unacceptable”. Some critics believe that there should be more gospel in the music, while others are okay with more lyrics about what it means to have faith.
Mainstream CMM duo For KING & COUNTRY have caught the attention of music lovers everywhere for their insightful lyrics and duty to spread the good word. They’ve received Artist of The Year at the Dove Awards (like the Grammys but for Christian music) and have even collaborated with idols like Dolly Parton.
Christian music may seem monolithic at face value, but if you really listen to it, you’ll find the messages shared are timeless reminders of the importance of cherishing faith.