Contemporary Christian Rock Hits
Whether you call them Christian Rock or simply Christian Music, these bands haven’t been afraid to push the boundaries. From piano-rocker Larry Norman to Phil Keaggy, who brought corkscrewing electric guitar solos to the genre, these musicians haven’t been content with spouting prepackaged doctrine.
And it should be pointed out that a musician’s religious affiliation has nothing to do with the genre of music they make.
Unlike most modern-day musicians, Casting Crowns’ members kept their day jobs while developing one of the biggest Christian rock bands in history. Mark Hall was a youth pastor, Hector worked as a graphic designer, Andy delivered office supplies, and Megan taught violin lessons. But the band’s dedication to God and their desire to inspire others has made them a success in the music industry.
The band’s first album, Lifesong, topped the charts and sold more than 2 million copies. Their most recent album, Thrive, was number 1 for two weeks and has sold more than 779,000 units.
The band is known for its heartfelt lyrics and inspirational songs that speak to people of all ages and walks of life. Their single “Does Anybody Hear Her?” addresses the feeling of loneliness and isolation in a world where it seems like no one is listening or cares. It’s a powerful song that inspires listeners to share their faith with those around them.
With more than six million albums sold, the contemporary Christian band MercyMe has been honored with many accolades. Their first national release, 2001’s Almost There, launched the band to mainstream success thanks to its Dove Award-winning single, “I Can Only Imagine.”
The song reflects on God’s presence and guidance, and encourages us to lean into His Word and allow Him to speak to our hearts. MercyMe has since recorded more albums, including 2002’s Spoken For and 2006’s Coming Up to Breathe.
The band consists of lead singer Bart Millard, drummer Robby Shaffer, bassist Nathan Cochran, and guitarists Michael Scheuchzer and Barry Graul. The group’s latest album, 2017’s LIFER, strikes a balance between their signature rock-edged style and polished worship music. Their current radio hits include “Flawless,” “Greater,” and “Even If.” With 13 consecutive top five singles on Billboard’s Christian Songs chart, MercyMe is one of the most successful Christian artists in history. Their music inspires hope and healing in communities across the country and around the world, even during times of hardship like the COVID-19 pandemic and fiery political divisions.
After building a dedicated following with three albums of Christian hip-hop, dc Talk made a play for mainstream success with 1995’s Jesus Freak. While they retained a hip-hop base, the band expanded their musical palette to include elements of soul, funk and even grunge rock. The result was a bold album that showcases the group’s talent to communicate their faith through their music without sounding preachy or moralizing.
Founded at Liberty University in 1987 by rapper Toby McKeehan, gospel singer Michael Tait and a former lead singer from a rock band named Kevin Max Smith, dc Talk were among the most successful Christian acts of their time. They released five major studio albums including DC Talk, Nu Thang, Free at Last, Jesus Freak and Supernatural before splitting up. But Jesus Freak is the one that cemented their legacy as kings of Christian music. The band’s ability to leverage their rap and rock influences into a genre that appealed to both secular and religious audiences was groundbreaking.
Founded in 1992 as The Cutting Edge Band as part of a youth outreach program at the Arun Community Church in Littlehampton, England, Delirious? has produced some of the most innovative Contemporary Christian music. Unlike most faith-oriented artists, which stick with gospel, country, or easy listening, the band infused their music with sparkling Britpop arrangements inspired by Oasis and Travis.
Despite a slightly awkward name (the final s before the question mark was rendered as a 5 due to drummer/bandmember Stewart Smith using a keyboard that only had five keys), the band has become one of the most famous and influential in modern Christian rock. Its anthemic songs inspire listeners to make a difference in the world with their bold lyrics and electrifying music.
“Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble?” is one of their most famous songs, and with good reason. With its rousing chorus, the song calls on Christians to take action to address global issues like poverty and war while reminding them that God is the ultimate power and majesty.