As the pioneers of CCM, Petra (which means "rock" in Greek) paved the way for countless artists, helping to create a whole new genre of rock music along the way.
In the beginning, four Bible school students in the 1970s had a desire to share their faith in a language they knew best: rock and roll. Much to their surprise, not everyone in the church was as excited about the idea as they were. Initially signed to Myrrh Records, Petra fought to gain acceptance and recognition in a church culture that at the time believed rock music to be off-limits.
Christian radio avoided Petra like a plague until about seven years after their start, when "Why Should The Father Bother?" made the playlist of a few daring radio stations. This set the stage for what was about to come a year later, when "The Coloring Song" from Never Say Die broke every barrier known to radio and set the stage for Petra's rise in the 1980s. "Praise Ye The Lord" marked the beginning of rock praise that continued throughout Petra's career. The "Never Say Die" cover art spoke volumes to Petra's target audience, youth, and "For Annie" struck a chord that still rings in the ears of the troubled. After those successes, "More Power To Ya" was a shoe-in as a radio single and as an album. "Judas' Kiss" and "Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows" continued to prove that a song could be a pulpit for a hard-hitting message.
By the release of Not Of This World, radio had completely warmed to Petra, and the momentum they experienced surpassed their comprehension. The song "Grave Robber" has comforted the mourning for two decades. Beat The System marked a change in musical direction with it's techno flare in songs like the title cut, but continued the trend of serious messages with "Hollow Eyes," as well as the rock praise song "Adonai" and the ever controversial "God Gave Rock And Roll To You."
1986 marked the departure of lead singer Greg X. Volz, but it didn't take radio or fans long to warm up to new lead singer John Schlitt. Then came "This Means War!," which seemed to be just the right album at the right time. The message was perfectly aligned with youth and youth pastors and marked the beginning of a second rise for Petra. The title song and "He Came, He Saw, He Conquered" became instant concert classics and attracted new listeners to Petra's music.
By the release of Fired Up, Petra's style of rock was fully established with John's voice, and the band's ministry direction to church youth was in full swing. Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out came as a result of discussions with youth pastors, and the response was overwhelming. It became Petra's first gold album, and with its translation into a Spanish version, songs like "I Love The Lord" reached new audiences around the globe.
Everything came together with the release of Beyond Belief in 1990. All of Petra's foundational work with churches, some of the best songs they had ever recorded, and their linking with Josh McDowell and his "Why Wait?" message resulted in thousands of young people being deeply affected and committed to God. The title song, "Beyond Belief," and "Creed" remain all-time favorites, and "Prayer" and "Love" balanced the album with two of Petra's best ballads. Beyond Belief went on to become Petra's second gold album.
Unseen Power followed on the heels of Beyond Belief, producing such concert favorites as "Dance" and "Sight Unseen," but Petra's touring and recording schedule was beginning to wear down the band. Although slightly forced, Wake Up Call produced the radio favorite "Just Reach Out." The band was experimenting musically, which continued on the No Doubt album. The amazing testimonies about the song "No Doubt" have been a constant source of blessing to the band since its release, but the album received mixed reviews among Petra's fans. But with the release of Power Praise 2, the fans were appeased by songs like "Lord I Lift Your Name On High" and "We Need Jesus."
The band continued to struggle over the next three albums until it landed squarely where it belonged with Jekyll And Hyde, Petra's last album of all-new material. The title song answered the question "Can Petra still rock?" with emphasis.
The creators of Christian rock| Posted January 18, 2010
These guys are the founders of Christian rock, My dad tells me that all the time. I like some of their songs. Like the previous comment without these guys there wouldn't be Skillet, Red, TFK, and many more Christian rock bands.
PETRA STILL ROCKS| Posted July 29, 2009
Petra still rocks. That is what I tell my boys. If it wasn't for groups like Petra groups like Skillet wouldn't be around. Petra was the first Christian rock group that I was introduce to and I have been a huge fan for 30 yrs.