Christian rock is a form of rock music played by individuals and bands whose members are Christians and who often focus the lyrics on matters concerned with the Christian faith. 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 labels, media outlets, and festivals, while other bands are independent.
Rock and roll 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 was often influenced by country and gospel 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. Rock and roll differed from the norm, and thus it was seen as a threat. Often the music was overtly sexual in nature, as in the case of Elvis Presley, who became controversial and massively popular partly for his suggestive stage antics and dancing. However, Elvis was a religious person who even released a gospel album: Peace in the Valley. Individual Christians may have listened to or even performed rock music in many cases, but it was seen as anathema to conservative church establishments, particularly in the American South.
He Touched Me 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.
Among the nation's first bands that played Christian rock was The Crusaders, a Southern Californian garage rock band, whose November 1966 Tower Records 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, "arguably the first band of its kind", whose 1967 Electric Liturgy was recorded in 1969 at RCA's "Nashville Sound" studio.
Larry Norman, 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.
Many of the popular 1990s Christian bands were initially identified as "Christian alternative rock", including Jars of Clay, Audio Adrenaline and the later albums of dc Talk. Outside Anglophone countries, bands like Oficina G3 (Brazil) and The Kry (Quebec, Canada) have achieved moderate success. To date Delirious? has been one of the most successful bands from the UK.
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