“Raised By Wolves: The Story Of Christian Rock & Roll”
by John J Thompson
I’ve been listening to “Jesus music” for about 35 years, and this book has brought back many memories. It’s also brought to light many new (to me) stories. This is the most complete coverage of “Christian” music and its history I can imagine.
Everybody is here: From Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Andre Crouch, and Barry McGuire (who was very encouraging during my participation in the “2009 Aids Walk”), to Petra and Rez, to Amy Grant and M.W. Smith, to DC Talk, Daniel Amos, and Steve Taylor (who loved making “hamburger out of sacred cows” and guided the music and careers of The Newsboys, Sixpence, and others), to Keith Green and Rich Mullins, to Alice Cooper, Sixpence None the Richer, and Creed, to Delirious? and Sonic Flood, and Lauren Hill.
Lots of stories, behind the scenes insights, and inside information. But more than just the artists and music, this book comments on the “Christian music industry,” various attitudes and expectations, and the age-old story of religion always fighting what God is doing. It also comments on the down side of the “Christian” marketplace:
“The Christian community had nearly completed its total retreat from mainstream society. It even had its own television networks. Many Christians were able to live in a world within a world, one that would protect them from ever brushing up against non-Christians. And the ghetto was large enough that many people made millions of dollars selling Christian CDS to Christians, Christian books to Christians, and even Christian toys, paintings, videos, and clothes to Christians. A handful of artists, however, wanted nothing to do with that ghetto.”
In many ways, the “CCM Industry” serves to further the illusion of the separation and compartmentalization of the Christian life into secular and sacred. But, wheat and weeds have always grown together, and will continue to do so. There’s a lot of great music out there by people of faith. This book, at many points, shows how the industry tried to ignore it (or lambast it), while the “church” tried, first, to destroy it, and then to control it.
There are a lot of true “success” stories chronicled here as well; Petra, Lost Dogs, and Sixpence None The Richer being among them.
This book is already about 10 years old, so the last decade is, of course, not covered. But, I can’t think of an abundance of landmark happenings in CCM during that period anyway. Except maybe for Stryper getting back together. Oh, and the release of Re-Union’s “Inside Out.” 😉
If you’re a long-time devotee, this book will provide a nostalgic trip down memory lane. If you’re relatively new to the scene, you will be brought “up to speed.” In either case, you’ll find a fun, informative, and challenging time with “Raised By Wolves.”