There are certain milestones every band hopes to hit in their career, like a chart-topping song, a sold-out show at a historic venue, winning awards or even scoring a Gold-certified record. But hitting more than 20 years together? That's nearly unheard of these days.
However rare, it's a feat Southern rock/worship/contemporary/always-evolving group Third Day has now tackled seemingly effortlessly, continuing their success with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Marking their 21st year as a group, Third Day just celebrated the release of their new album Revival, an 18-track collection of songs (on the deluxe version, anyway) that showcase the talent and creativity that has kept Mac Powell and company coming back to their still-growing fan-base year after year.
In honor of the new music, we're going all the way back to the group's beginning and walking you through a timeline of the biggest events that have shaped their 21-year career thus far.
Though there is, of course, Third Day history we could dig into before 1996, this is the year things really began for the group. After a few independent records, the band signed a multi-album deal with Reunion Records and released their self-titled label debut album, Third Day. The year 1996 also saw Third Day nominated for New Artist of the Year at the Dove Awards and winning a Billboard Music Award for Best Christian Video for "Consuming Fire."
Following the success of their debut, Third Day kicked off the new year with their Alien EP before releasing their sophomore project Conspiracy No. 5 later that year. The album was nominated for a GRAMMY and landed the band two Dove Awards (for Rock Album of the Year and Rock Song of the Year).
Coming off yet another successful album, the band spent much of 1998 touring the U.S. on solo dates and opening for the Peter Furler-led Newsboys as they wrote and prepped for the release of their next album.
1999 Time--an album longtime Third Day fans say is their best all-time project--released, and saw the band being nominated for a second GRAMMY while they added another Dove Award to their fast-growing collection. A B-sides EP, Southern Tracks, also released.
Inspired by the worship portion of their live show, Third Day released Offerings, a worship album (recorded in only a week's time!) composed of a few new tracks and live versions of fan-favorite songs.
Third Day released their first DVD, The Offerings Experience, recorded live from a show in Atlanta with 15,000 attendees. They ended 2001, a year that ended with not just another GRAMMY nomination--but their first win!--and several more Doves, with the release of their fifth studio album Come Together.
2002 Come Together and Time were certified Gold. The band also appeared in the movie Joshua--an adaptation of the bestselling novel--with their song "My Hope Is You" included on the film's soundtrack.
A follow-up worship album, Offerings II: All I Have To Give released, which NRT's Kevin Davis rated 4.5 out of 5 stars, calling it "a great worship album" that features two of his favorite Third Day songs of all time, "Offering," and "Nothing Compares." It was also nominated for a GRAMMY.
It was a big year for the group as they toured with TobyMac and Warren Barfield, played shows in Europe, had a song included on The Passion of the Christ soundtrack and were featured on 60 Minutes. That year they also released their seventh album (the GRAMMY-winning Wire) and a live concert recording of the album, aptly titled Live Wire.
Continuing to crank out hit albums at a frenetic pace, Wherever You Are released in 2005 and debuted at No. 8 on the Billboard 200, earning the band their third GRAMMY. This album brought us the timeless track, "Cry Out to Jesus."
Third Day released their first Christmas album, Christmas Offerings, the third in their Offerings series. It hit No. 2 on Billboard's Holiday Albums Chart, and won Best Christmas Album at the Doves a year later.
Now with quite the impressive catalog behind them, 2007 called for the band's first "best of" CD/DVD, Chronology: Volume One, which took fans through the hits of 1996-2000 and Chronology: Volume Two later that year that filled in the blanks through 2007.
Never a group to slow down, 2008 brought the release of highly-successful Revelation, which led to a performance of their No. 1 song "Call My Name" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and a performance of the album's title track on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Longtime guitarist Brad Avery parted ways with the band on good terms.
Following up with a live CD/DVD combination, Live Revelations won the group their fourth GRAMMY for Best Rock/Rap Gospel Album, and achieved Gold status the month it released. Revelation won Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year at the Dove Awards.
Another big release, Move took the band back to their soulful roots as they toured with Winter Jam alongside CCM giants Newsboys and Tenth Avenue North.
One of the few years in their career that Third Day didn't release any new music, 2011 saw the band continue to spend time on the road (again with Tenth Avenue North) on their Make Your Move Tour, while prepping for their next album. They did win Recorded Music Packaging of the Year at the Dove Awards that Year for Move.
Drifting back to their Southern rock sound to shake things up, Miracle released in 2012 and featured radio hits "I Need A Miracle" and "Your Love Is Like A River." In his perfect five-star review of the record, NRT's Kevin Davis said Miracle was "the Third Day album I've been waiting for since Time" and "the best overall album of Third Day's distinguished career. In other news, Mac Powell released his first self-titled solo album.
While things were quiet with regard to new music and awards, it wasn't quiet for Third Day, who was touring the new album to fans across the country, the Miracle Tour kicked off with guests Colton Dixon and Josh Wilson.
The Miracle Tour wrapped up, ending more than a year for Third Day on the road. Meanwhile, Mac Powell released his second solo album, Southpaw.
Their first worship album since the Offerings series, Lead Us Back: Songs of Worship, released and climbed to the No. 1 spot on the Christian Albums chart. "Soul On Fire," the album's well-received lead single, spent an incredible 19 weeks on the Billboard charts. Sadly, another longtime core member of the group, Tai Anderson, said goodbye to the band.