Christian Contemp

Christian Contemp

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Contemporary Christian music (or CCM—and occasionally "inspirational music") is a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith. Today, the term is typically used to refer to the Nashville, Tennessee-based pop, rock, and worship Christian music industry[citation needed], currently represented by artists such as MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, Third Day, Matthew West, tobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Brandon Heath and Aaron Shust and historically by artists such as Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, dc Talk, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys and Michael W. Smith. The industry is represented by the Billboard Christian Albums, Hot Christian Songs Hot Christian AC, Christian CHR, Soft AC/Inspirational, and Christian Digital Songs charts. On the iTunes Store, the genre is represented as part of the Christian & Gospel genre.[1]
However, not all modern music which lyrically identifies with Christianity is part of the Nashville Contemporary Christian Music industry.[2] Alternative genres such as punk, hardcore, heavy metal, and hip hop groups deal explicitly with issues of faith but are normally not considered CCM. Also, several mainstream artists such as The Byrds, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Elvis Presley, Kanye West, Creed, The Fray, Evanescence, Lifehouse, U2, and rapper DMX have dealt with Christian themes in their work but are not part of the CCM industry

The genre that would eventually be known as Contemporary Christian music came from the Jesus movement revival of the latter 1960s and early 1970s, and was originally called "Jesus music". "About that time, many young people from the sixties' counterculture professed to believe in Jesus. Convinced of the bareness of a lifestyle based on drugs, free sex, and radical politics, 'hippies' became 'Jesus people'".[3] Of course there were people who felt like Jesus was another "trip".[4] "The 'Jesus Movement' of the 1970s was when things really started changing and Christian music began to become an industry within itself."[5] "Jesus Music" started by playing instruments and singing songs about love and peace, which then translated into love of God. Paul Wohlegemuth, who wrote the book Rethinking the Church said, "[the] 1970s will see a marked acceptance of rock-influenced music in all levels of church music. The rock style will become more familiar to all people, its rhythmic excesses will become refined, and its earlier secular associations will be less remembered."[6]
Though there were Christian albums in the 1960s that contained contemporary-sounding songs, there were two albums recorded in 1969 that are considered[by whom?] to be the first complete albums of "Jesus rock": Upon This Rock (1969) by Larry Norman initially released on Capitol Records,[7] and Mylon - We Believe by Mylon LeFevre, released by Cotillion, which was LeFevre's attempt at blending gospel music with southern rock.[8] Unlike traditional or southern gospel music, this new Jesus music was birthed out of rock and folk music.[9]
Pioneers of this movement also included 2nd Chapter of Acts, Andraé Crouch and the Disciples, Evie, Nancy Honeytree, The Imperials, Love Song, Barry McGuire, and Petra. The small Jesus music culture had expanded into a multi-million-dollar industry by the 1980s. Many CCM artists such as Amy Grant, DC Talk, Michael W. Smith, Stryper, and Jars of Clay found crossover success with Top 40 mainstream radio play. As of 2005, sales of Christian music exceeded those for classical, jazz, Latin, New Age, and soundtrack music.

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