Wednesday, June 22, 2016

The Legends of CCM: Petra

Sometimes it takes a while to recognize a legend. Such is the case with our next Legend of CCM. Not everybody gets to wow right out of the gate. Sometimes there are some missteps along the way.

Such was the case with Petra. Formed in the early 70's their pop sound was pretty rough. The first albums bordered on Country and had pretty bad production. I have the cassettes for both Petra and Come and Join Us. The progression is obvious. The debut is very hard on the ears if you are a rocker. The Petra Sound did not develop until album three, Washes Whiter Than and was solidified into Rock with Never Say Die. Of course it is also at that time that they finally found a lead vocalist in Greg Xavier Volz.

The Volz Era was short but extremely sweet. Washes Whiter Than, Never Say Die, More Power To Ya, Not of This world and Beat The System. And the Live album Captured In Time And Space. The one album a year pace took its toll on Volz and he departed to be replaced by John Schlitt. Despite that fact many fans regard Volz as "The Voice" of Petra.
How about our test for legend status? 
  • Longevity - Petra has this category all to itself. Run #1: 1972-2006. That's 34 years. Not many bands will come close these days. Even counting the four year hiatus we are now at 40 years. I've seen bands burn out after being in the public eye for 5 years.
  • Popularity - Locked up here as well. In their heyday they were THE BAND. Everyone loved Petra. And now it seems that all those people have children and their children discovered the band. It is one of the few bands that parents grew up with that their kids think are cool.
  • Influence - Three for Three. Because so many people grew up listening to Petra, the odds were favorable that the ones who followed in Christian Music would be inspired by the band in some way. CCM testimonies usually begin "I was x years old and somebody gave me or played for me a Petra Cassette or vinyl or CD. They have literally influenced the entire industry.
They are the Ultimate Legend. If not for the fact that we are attempting to go Chronologically they would be first. Next up is  a little bit of a backtrack, with Phil Keaggy. Until the next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.