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Idol Chatter

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100 Greatest Christian Songs

Is your idea of a good time sitting around with your friends, debating your all-time favorite Christian Contemporary songs? Me neither. However, when I came across the new book, “100 Greatest Songs In Christian Music: The Stories Behind the Music That Changed Our Lives Forever,” by CCM Magazine, I must admit, I was intrigued.

The book, which includes interesting profiles and short facts about the songs (chosen by Christian music executives and 2,500 Christian music fans) and the artists who popularized them, as well as cool sidebar lists such as “Songs About the End,” “Quiet Little Songs That Pack a Punch,” and “15 Incredible Songs You May Never Have Heard Of,” was both entertaining and informative and would make a great primer for someone just getting into Christian music–or for someone like me, who knows about the new stuff, but not so much about the old.

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Some predictable, yet deeply deserved, picks made it to the list, most likely due to the songs’ success in the mainstream market, ie: “Alive,” by POD (#76), “Flood,” by Jars of Clay (#7), “I Can Only Imagine,” by MercyMe (#4), and “Dare You to Move,” by Switchfoot (#50). And, of course, CCM greats, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patti, and Steven Curtis Chapman had a number of their hit songs in the book, as did big names from all facets of Christian music, ranging from pop, rock, hip-hop, inspirational, and more.

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One of the more surprising picks I came across was the single “To Hell With the Devil,” (off the album of the same name) by the band Stryper, whose name is an acronym which stands for Salvation Through Redemption Yielding Peace, Encouragement, and Righteousnes. Stryper was the first group to popularize the Christian metal genre and looked like most of the typical 80s metal bands–high hairsprayed hair, tight spandex stage outfits (theirs was yellow and black), makeup, and a high-pitched, screaming lead singer (Michael Sweet).

Although “To Hell With the Devil” is still revered by fans of Christian (and secular) metal as a classic, I didn’t think CCM Magazine would be so cool as to give such high recognition to not only Stryper, but to Christian metal in general. It seems the harder the music–no matter what its message–the higher the likelihood that religious conservatives are going to label the music as Satanic, which is, of course, what happened with Stryper. It’s good to know CCM Magazine turned a deaf ear to such nonsense.

Besides, you’ve really got to love a band that, along with drumsticks and guitar picks, tosses Bibles into the hands of their head-banging audience.

So what Christian songs would be at the top of your “100 Greatest” list?

  • Vivan

    I wish I would have heard of Stryper in the 80’s. My heart was searching for somethng in those crazy teenage days. Maybe I would have surrendered to God’s calling years earlier and saved myself alot of anguish, frustration and burden. May God continue to bless such bands. Like the ones today that keep my children grounded with their words of praise to our Father.>

  • anonymous

    Superchick’s, HERO, should definately be on that list.>

  • Ana Mendibles

    oh Stryper was the best band out of all the others. Well i think it is wrong to judge a band by it’s cover. Music is for everyone. God does not mind he wants to be happy & to praise him through song of any nature. Ana Menibles, Tucson, AZ>

  • timks

    How can these be the greatest 100 songs in christian music? there’s no songs by isaac watts, js bach, handel, charles wesley, etc. i think this book is misnamed. christian music has been around for nearly 2000 years – not 25. wise up!>

  • Tim

    God inhabits the praises of His people. I have experienced this. I CAN never be the same again. The Christian music scene is a good example of what “the whole thing” is all about. I missed Spirit West Coast for the first time in nine-years. I am almost distraught. I love worshipping the Lord, like I love life. They are connected. Now.>

  • MDP

    Stryper by far is the best. All of their albums rock, and do so with a message. From To Hell with the Devil to First Love, there is no better Christian metal band and I doubt there ever will be.>

  • SKI

    Newsboys should have been on here>

  • BillCheshireJr

    The band, Petra, has to be in the mix, with their albums ‘back to the street’, in 1986, and their ‘beyond belief’ CD, in 1992 :o)

  • guitar picks

    I think it’s great that music has managed to inspire so many people in different ways. As a guitar player, music has been personally rewarding for many years. I have also gained a fascination for guitar accessories such as guitar picks and this is a great resource for these items — http://v-picks.com.

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