Saturday Top 5: Christian Rock Bands

I grew up in church listening to Christian music. I’ve come to an understanding in life that music cannot become a Christian so a better description would be “music for Christians”. We had some great radio stations in central Florida in the Sarasota, Bradenton/Palmetto, and Tampa area where I lived from the age of birth until I was 11. Specifically, WCIE and Joy FM were great Christian music radio stations with excellent programming and hosts who were well ahead of their time for Christian radio. Even WMCU here in Miami had nothing as far as hosts, programming, and music selection. The music on WMCU was just way too boring and the hosts for many years were not on par with Joy or CIE.

Listening to the great musical selections on the radio, especially the Saturday Top 40 on 91.1 (WCIE) and 88.1 (Joy FM) led me to really love certain Christian rock groups. After our family moved to Homestead in 1986, I carried my interest in Christian rock without an outlet to listen. WMCU was pumping out some seriously boring tunes back then, especially for a young teenager. So I followed some of the big routines in concert and through cassette sales. Even to this day, I enjoy some of that great old Christian rock. These are my favorite 5 Christian Rock bands of my life. If you are wondering why some of the biggest and best Christian routines did not make my list it’s either because I didn’t prefer them, or they were solo routines.

Honorable Mention

Third Day – I love their gritty solid rock and roll sound. The best part is what I have heard about their purpose and lifestyle. They love Jesus.

The Top 5…

#5. White Heart – Their best sound to me was their early to mid 80’s albums which are best compared with Toto.

#4. Mylon (Le Fevre) and Broken Heart – Mylon had the absolute biggest stage and road show in Christian music. This group was greatly responsible for my interest in drums. I can still listen to them today and enjoy it.

#3. Stryper – Dude, people made fun of them because of their big hair, make up, and spandex, but their music did rock! They had one commercially successful crossover tune that was one of the cheesiest rock ballads ever. Honestly. But their first few albums were awesome!

#2. DC Talk – They started out as a corn ball rap group, but developed a sound that actually was way ahead of it’s time. Before Linkin Park was doing the industrial metal rap tunes, DC Talk was. Their concerts were just great. When they split, thousands of fans were heartbroken. But Toby Mac is still around doing his thing which is similar to the later DC Talk stuff.

#1. Petra – This band belongs at the top of anyone’s all time Christian rock list. Through 30 years and two lead singers, they are one incredible band. They’ve gone from folksy rock in their beginnings, to a more credible straight rock sound of the late 70’s to early 80’s, to a synth rock sound of the mid 80’s, into a hair band style of the late 80’s, and then into their hard rock and metal sound that they rocked through the 90’s. I wish I could get my hands on a complete collection of all their tunes over the years on CD or digital media. They are one of a very small handful of Christian rock legends!


Filed under church, deep thought, music, time, top 5

12 responses to “Saturday Top 5: Christian Rock Bands

  1. I like your list, especially Petra and Whiteheart. They are iconic within Christian ministry

    I’m not sure if Mylon and Brokenheart were as popular outside of COG circles. Growing up, my non-COG had never heard of them.

    I think the 77’s and The Choir might need mentioning as well.

  2. Actually, it wasn’t just COG circles that Mylon and Broken Heart was big. In the early 80’s, Mylon got major airtime on 88.1 and 91.1 (it was operated by The Carpenter’s Home church which was AOG, one of the biggest churches in the state of FL at the time). Their Train’s Up in the Sky tune was pretty big and they were the headline group in their concert tour. Yea, they were not as big as White Heart, Petra, or Rez Band, but they were pretty big. They even got a lot of play here on our Baptist radio station for one of his songs from about 88.

    Rez Band could have replaced Mylon, but this is my top 5! :). It’s also mostly 80’s or early 90’s stuff. I could have mentioned Switchfoot, Audio Adrenaline, Newsboys, or Skillet.

  3. theinsurrectionist

    I used to rock out to “Get on your knees and fight like a man.”…long live Petra!!!

    I agree with McMullin….add The Choir and 77s to this list….word up.



  4. Dude, that was a good song. But I was actually a fan of the Back to the Street album which it seems everyone hated. My favorite song was Dance from Unseen Power. I really couldn’t pick a favorite album because I loved all their albums after Beat the System so much.

    Long live Bob Hartman!

  5. I would personally have to add:

    Deliverance–their song J.I.G. (Jesus is God) was iconic (btw, they were a Christian thrash metal band from the late 80’s & early 90’s–you can listen to their music on youtube…) and their metal version of Jehovah Jireh…well, let just say if praise and worship in church sounded like that, I would have gone to church sooner!


    Disciple–I still smile when I think of their debut album “My Daddy can whip your daddy”. Their albums “This might sting a little” and “God of Elijah” are still very rock worthy, even to this day and imho are better than their new mainstream albums–but I’m still happy for them that they made it to the big time, after all those years of touring and putting on free concerts. They put on one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen and the lead singer is so anointed that I saw a whole roomful of teenagers answer the altar call he gave. It was beautiful!!!

    Loved DC Talk, and my husband was a HUGE fan of Whiteheart and old Petra. Good Call!

  6. shawn

    woo! go petra, im from a completely different generation from the people following them from the beginning but i have always had a passion for classic rock and Petra is great for filling that spot for me when i became christian and started to realize that some of the stuff i was listening to had horrible messages

  7. I would certainly nominate an artist by the name of Derek Webb for the Top 5 Christian Rock Bands. He’s been around for 6 or 7 years now and just released this album called “Stockholm Syndrome.”

    Some critics think it’s controversial but it still has received good reviews from Christian rock entities.

    Here’s a video of “What Matters More.” It’s the lead single off of his new album…

  8. Rob Haskell

    This list takes me back. For intensity of performance, no one touched Rez band back in the 80s.

  9. OK, way to go on your list! I probably would have eliminated Stryper but still a good list. I’m a true Pethead. I was at Petra’s first stop of their Farewell tour. I’ve also talked to John several times on the phone. Awesome stuff from Petra for over 30 years.
    I remember seeing Mylon and Broken Heart many times and I was never in the COG. Just a note, Mylon’s son-in-law is Peter from the Newsboys, so the anointing has passed on to another generation. Mylon is actually preaching now and doing more worship stuff, which we play at my radio station. Mylon will be preaching at my church this coming Sunday. I’m sure it will be a fantastic!
    Thanks for reminding me of some great music.

  10. Hey! Did you hear Classic Petra is coming back? Greg X. Volz, Mark Kelly, Louie Weaver and Bob Hartman. They are working on a new project and doing some touring.

  11. Tara

    Hi! I’m looking for anything on Advocate. They were a christian rock band in the late 80s and early 90s, but I don’t know what ever happened to them. I sort of knew the lead singer, because he occasionally went to a church that I went to on Friday nights for a Bible study. I found a christian rock band with the same name, but I don’t think it’s the same one. I think they were specifically in Texas and the one I found was out of Indiana. If you know anything, please help me!

    Thank you

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