Petra Meant Rock
Petra Meant Rock

The Christian music community is notoriously bad about honoring its past, so when two Petra albums get the "classic" treatment, it's worth noticing. This year marks the 30th anniversary of that band's watershed 1982 album More Power to Ya, and the 25th anniversary of their hit album This Means War. Both sets, re-releasing today, have been remastered and repackaged for physical and digital release as one of the earliest line-ups of the band rides again.

A massive light show, sleeveless "muscle T's" and parachute pants. It was 1983 and Petra was one of the biggest and best "Christian rock" bands in the world. That meant that they sold more records and tickets than about ten other groups, but it was impressive enough for this 13-year-old. Along with DeGarmo and Key, Resurrection Band, Servant, and Sweet Comfort Band, Petra was truly one of the inventors of what would later become known as Christian rock.

By the time I discovered them, they had been around for over a decade and their earliest work was already getting hard to find. With roots planted in the heady times of the late '60s Jesus Movement, Petra were contemporaries of other pioneering artists such as Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Keith Green, and Phil Keaggy. Their debut self-titled album in 1974 boasted the impressive guitar work and almost comically bad vocals of founding member Bob Hartman. Elements of Yes, Allman Brothers, and even Cream could be found in the tracks, but the band needed a singer badly. Thus from the very beginning Petra was a rotating cast of characters supporting Hartman's vision of legitimate, arena-quality, mainstream rock.

There was the progressive-folk-rock Petra of the early to mid 1970s (Petra, Come and Join Us), the organ-and synth-heavy ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

June
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Tags:
Read These Next
Current IssueHow Christians See Muslims
How Christians See Muslims Subscriber Access Only
Missions experts urge concern for both souls and security.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickSasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
Ben Sasse: Adolescence Is a Gift, but Extended Adolescence Is a Trap
The Nebraska senator wants parents to get serious about shepherding kids into responsible adulthood.
Christianity Today
Petra Meant Rock
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

June 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.