1980s Christian Music Awards

  1. Bullet Dance, particularly melodic vocal trance and other electronic styles, such as Eurobeat, techno, and synthpop

  2. Bullet Floating, fuzzed-out guitar alternative rock and shoegazer

  3. Bullet Pop punk

  4. Bullet Chill

  5. Bullet Industrial

  6. Bullet Gothic & darkwave

  7. Bullet World Beat, particularly with Middle Eastern and Indian sounds

  8. Bullet Rap

  9. Bullet Indie pop / Dream pop

  10. Bullet Reggaeton (not reggae)

  11. Bullet Modern rock if it’s interesting (too much of it is boring)

  12. BulletClassical, particularly baroque

  13. Bullet Classical crossover

  14. Bullet Experimental

  15. Bullet Psychedelia

  16. Bullet Funk / r&b

  17. Bullet Zydeco

  18. Bullet ...and more

  1. Bullet Bon Voyage

  2. Bullet Paradoxx

  3. Bullet Aleixa

  4. Bullet Broomtree

  5. Bullet Morella’s Forest

  6. Bullet Miss Angie

  7. Bullet Andy Hunter

  8. Bullet Michelle Tumes

  9. Bullet Viva Voce

  10. Bullet Cocteau Twins

  11. Bullet Regenerator

  12. Bullet Sarah Masen

  13. Bullet Shonen Knife

  1. Bullet Audile

  2. Bullet Bananarama

  3. Bullet Beckah Shae

  4. Bullet Capital Kings

  5. Bullet David Thulin

  6. Bullet DJ Jireh

  7. Bullet Andy Hunter

  8. Bullet Rengerator

  9. Bullet Miss Angie

  10. Bullet Joanna Beasley

  1. Bullet Rick Juler Systems, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1989 & 1991: Live DJing at various locations, including dance clubs, a roller skating rink, a waterpark, and special events.

  2. Bullet United Skates Of America, Springfield, Ohio, 1979 & 1989.

  3. Bullet Various college and school dances

  1. Bullet 2013

  2. Bullet 2012

  3. Bullet 2011

  4. Bullet 2010

  5. Bullet 2009

  6. Bullet 2008

  7. Bullet 2007

  8. Bullet 2006

  9. Bullet 2005

  10. Bullet 2004

  11. Bullet 2003

  12. Bullet 2002

  13. Bullet 2001

  14. Bullet 2000

  15. Bullet 1999

  16. Bullet 1998

  1. Bullet Greatest Rock & Modern Rock

  2. Bullet Greatest Pop & Pop Dance

  3. Bullet Greatest “Other” Styles

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This has been my major blogging community since October 2004.  Most of my online-only friends are here. 


List #1: My Favorite Modern Rock & Rock Christian Albums Of The 1980s

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  1.  Daniel Amos:  The Alarma Chronicles, Volumes 1-4 (1981-87)

  2.  Vector:  Please Stand By (1985)

  3.  Youth Choir:  Voices In Shadows (1985)

  4.  David Edwards:  Get The Picture (1983)

  5.  Steve Taylor:  Meltdown (1984)

  6.  David Edwards (1981)

  7.  Youth Choir:  Shades Of Grey (1986)

  8.  The Choir:  Diamonds And Rain (1986)

  9.  Tonio K.:  Romeo Unchained

10.  The Choir:  Wide-Eyed Wonder (1989)

11.  Andy McCarroll & Moral Support:  Zionic Bonds (1981)

12.  The Choir:  Chase The Kangaroo (1988)

13.  Mad At The World:  Flowers In The Rain (1988)

14.  The Seventy-Sevens:  All Fall Down (1986)

15.  Charlie Peacock (1986)

16.  Mad At The World (1987)

17.  Rez:  Between Heaven 'n' Hell (1986)

18.  Lifesavers:  Kiss Of Life (1986)

19.  U2:  October (1982)

20.  Sheila Walsh:  Future Eyes (1982)

21.  Steve Taylor:  I Want To Be A Clone (1983)

22.  Sheila Walsh:  Don't Hide Your Heart (1985)

23.  Resurrection Band:  Colours (1981)

24.  Resurrection Band:  Mommy Don't Love Daddy Anymore (1982)

25.  Sheila Walsh:  Triumph In The Air (1984)

26.  Steve Taylor:  On The Fritz (1985)

27.  Elim Hall:  Things Break (1986)

28.  In 3D:  No Glasses Needed (1985)

29.  Ideola:  Tribal Opera (1987)

30.  Altar Boys:  When You're A Rebel (1985)

31.  Da:  Darn Floor, Big Bite (1988)

32.  Charlie Peacock:  Lie Down In The Grass (1985)

33.  Altar Boys:  G.L.M. (1986)

34.  Tonio K.:  Notes From The Lost Civilization (1986)

35.  Mark Heard:  Victims Of The Age (1982)

     As you may have noticed from the list, for me, the greatest years for Christian rock were 1985-1987.  There were so many good albums those three years!!!

      Here are some various notes on artists, albums, etc. on the list......

NAME CHANGES:  Youth Choir and The Choir are the same group; they just changed their name.  Resurrection Band and Rez are the same group; they also did a name change, but have since changed their name back to the original name.  Daniel Amos has been known as Daniel Amos, DA, and Da.  I don't know what they're calling themselves these days.  I am absolutely positive that Ideola and Mark Heard are the same person.  The Ideola album does not identify Ideola in any way, but I have enough Mark Heard albums to know his music and voice, and I say it's GOT to be him.  Lifesavers later changed their name to Lifesavers Underground, and finally LSU.

FOR CCM HISTORIANS:  When I was in college, someone pointed out that David Edwards, whose solo albums were top-notch New Wave, was in the early Jesus Music rock band, the JC Power Outlet.  I checked my old JC Power Outlet's album cover, and sure enough, it was him!  But of course, he looked quite different with a '70s shaggy haircut.

ONE HIT WONDERS:  To my knowledge, Andy McCarroll & Moral Support, Elim Hall, and In 3D never made another album.  The albums they did make, found on this list, are so good I wonder why they never made another.  Ideola also only made one album, but as I said above, I'm sure it was Mark Heard, and he made many more albums.

FOR THOSE WHO DON'T KNOW, I'll list the general styles of some of these groups.

      RESURRECTION BAND:  hard rock.  You may even say heavy metal, but their music is generally too fast and energetic to fit in that category.  They made the fastest, heaviest music I knew of in the 1980s.  They are still making albums, but I lost interest after 1986.  They are the core leaders of Jesus People USA, a ministry to the inner city poor in Chicago.

      TONIO K.:  I first learned about Tonio K. through Steve Simels, a record reviewer in Stereo Review magazine.   Simels says, "Every time Tonio K. comes out with a new album, I say it's the greatest album ever made by anyone...but each new one is!" (Not an exact quote) Tonio K.'s albums are concept albums with brilliant lyrics and music that was New Wave in the 1980s.  He started in the secular marketplace and did some Christian label albums in the mid-80s--the two listed on my above list--although these were also released in the secular marketplace on a different label.

       CHARLIE PEACOCK is still making records, although he's also been producing a lot of others' albums and has his own record label, re:Think, which Sarah Masen is on.  [2004 note: That label is now defunct.]  Charlie Peacock has a very different kind of voice--a high, light voice, not a power voice, and his music is quite light, but not "adult contemporary" light--it's much more creative and original. 

       STEVE TAYLOR was a popular Christian New Wave artist in the 1980s.  I saw him in concert with Sheila Walsh--great show!  Steve Taylor's shining talent, though, is his lyrics.  He loves satire and does it very well.  He abandoned the New Wave sound with his 1988 album, "I Predict 1990," but he has not lost his musical ability or lyrical wit.  Today, he produces and writes songs for the Newsboys, an Australian CCM rock group that is one of the most popular CCM groups today.  As far as I know, Steve Taylor's last studio album was "Squint," released in 1993.

        I first became a SHEILA WALSH fan because her first album was European technopop--the ONLY album of that kind of music in CCM in the early 80s.  I saw her in concert on her 1982 tour, her first time to America, and I loved it.  Her second through fourth albums were the mid-80s rubbery electronic sound that was really popular at the time, so I liked those albums too, but never as much as the European technopop of her first album.  Another thing I liked about Sheila Walsh was that she wore the coolest clothes--very 80s bright colors and shiny fabrics!  From her fifth album, she abandoned electronics and became adult contemporary, and I lost interest in her.  I think this is when she started being a host on 700 Club and she got more conservative.  Bummer.

         ALTAR BOYS: Punk music.

         LIFESAVERS and ELIM HALL:  Modern rock--electric guitars, but not heavy.

         MAD AT THE WORLD caught my attention with their first album because of their European technopop dance sound, but on their second album they started using more guitars, and after that became completely guitars, so I lost interest in them after that.  I liked their lyrics, too, though--they could be very dark, as you might guess from the name of the group!

         VECTOR had the coolest mid-80s European technopop sound.  Their first album was not very good, but their second album, "Please Stand By," was perfection!  I didn't even know they had made more albums after that until I joined Sound & Spirit CD club and saw more albums by them being offered.

And now for a little longer description of two of the artists.


Written December 28, 1997

Daniel Amos

      Daniel Amos wins my award as the most creative musicians of all time, any style of music anywhere.  I have never heard a group that could do so many different styles of music and also have such incredibly creative lyrics.

       Daniel Amos released their first album in 1976.  It was all country music.  Their second album, "Shotgun Angel," was a mixture of country, rock, and pop.  Thier third album, on Larry Norman's Solid Rock label, was rock and pop with a sound quite different from their previous album.  Then in 1981, the brilliant genius of this group became even more apparent in the release of the first volume of "The Alarma Chronicles."  Musically, it was definitely New Wave, a sound unlike anything they had done before, yet it was flawless.  But just to say it was New Wave limits the incredible creativity of the music on the album.

        And the music is only the beginning.  The four volumes of The Alarma Chronicles are part of a story.  The accompanying written story in Volume One sets the stage and is quite lengthy.  It is written in first person and tells of a surrealistic experience of the writer.  In this amazingly creative way, the group tackled first the shallowness of the Church (volume one), then observed the double lives we as Christians tend to lead, in professing one way of life but too often straying from it (volume two).  In the last two volumes, the writer digests the scenes from the first two.  It's very deep and interesting.  Some songs took me two years of listening before I understood them, and once I did....WOW!  It's so amazing.  This series is the most incredible thing I've ever seen from any band.  The Who made a couple rock operas, The Beatles had some concept albums, but I don't know of any band that made a four-album set of a continuing story with a hard-hitting yet creatively, poetically done message.  I just can't express enough praise for The Alarma Chronicles.

        Musically, each of the first three volumes have very different sounds.  The first is heavily turn-of-the-decade New Wave.  The second is more of a bluesy New Wave.  The third takes on the rubbery electronic sound of its time (1984).  The fourth is not too different from the third musically, but hey, this band managed to make six albums in a row of completely different sounds, so I can forgive them for that.

        Many people have requested The Alarma Chronicles to be released in a boxed CD set, but the band says it's impossible because each of the four albums was released on a different record label. (2004 note: I believe they eventually did release a box set but apparently it's also out of print.  Maybe you can find it or the individual albums on eBay for a hefty price....)

        Daniel Amos continued to make albums after The Alarma Chronicles.  "Darn Floor, Big Bite" was the first post-Chronicles album, and you will see this in my list too.  After that, I went to Japan, and when I came back, I was out of the Christian music scene, and I missed their albums.  They're all out of print now except for the most recent, which is an "audio film" about a couple named....was it Bud and Erma?  Can't remember.  (2004 note: There are a few Daniel Amos CDs available, but not the ones listed here.  Go to DanielAmos.com to find what's available.)

        The members of Daniel Amos also participated in other groups.  One group is The Swirling Eddies.  They made some great satirical albums (and still are).  The first two are out of print, and I never got a chance to get them.  What a great loss!!!  I heard some of the tracks from those albums, and they were really funny!  (2004 note:  There is a greatest hits CD available, and they have a new CD coming out this year!  Go to DanielAmos.com for more information.)

        Daniel Amos is an astounding group.  If you like creative lyrics and topics, get a Daniel Amos or Swirling Eddies album when you see them, because they usually go out of print pretty fast!  I guess they're just too artsy for the masses.

The Choir

        As you can see from my "Best of the 80s" list for CCM rock & modern rock, The Choir was one of my favorite groups of the 1980s, certainly THE favorite group of mine in the last half of the eighties.  Their first album, "Voices In Shadows" had a kind of early U2 sound, but after that, the group developed their own sound.  It is a hauntingly beautiful, mellow electric guitar sound that is very smooth.  Their lyrics are another reason why I like them so much.  There is nothing trite about their lyrics at all--they are very poetic with deep meaning and thoughtfulness.  The tone of the albums is very sober, perhaps even depressing, which fits my mood a lot.  This is an amazing group that is still making albums.  I have seven of their eight original studio albums.  They also have a greatest hits album and a live album (which I don't have either of).  This group is so cool.

        So, I've liked this group ever since their first album came out in 1985.  Imagine my surprise when I learned just a few days ago through an article in my Columbia House catalog that The Choir is from AZUSA PACIFIC UNIVERSITY!!!  (That's where I went to graduate school in the early 1990s.)  At least three of the four members are.  I've always known they are from Los Angeles, but I didn't know that they were students at APU!   That's where they met and began playing!  Wow, this is so cool!!!!  Sound & Spirit's catalog mentions another band, Pushstart Wagon, as coming from "Azusa Pacific University's hot music scene," and I know some other bands have come from APU (Prayer Chain is another one, I believe), but I was so busy with working and my master's program that I missed out on seeing all those great bands.  What a bummer!   But anyway, it's so cool to discover that The Choir is from APU!!!!

So there you have it...the greatest Christian rock albums and artists of the 1980s, as far as I'm concerned.

The list & description on this page originally appeared on my blog, J Lee’s Soapbox, on January 4, 1998.  The blog’s software was eventually abandoned by its maker, Lifli, such that it wouldn’t work on current OS X platforms, and it was hosted on Apple’s MobileMe, which they discontinued on June 30, 2012.  So, Lifli & Apple killed my blog.  Selected postings from my blog will re-appear here and there on my website, as has been done on this page.

This listing & description was posted on this website on July 8, 2012.

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