Gospel beat

Jesus music

Jesus music, known as gospel beat music in the United Kingdom, is a style of Christian music which originated on the West Coast of the United States in the late 1960s and early 1970s. This musical genre developed within the Jesus movement before the Christian music industry had developed.


Jesus music primarily began in southern California when hippie street musicians converted to Christianity. These musicians continued playing the same styles of music, though they infused their lyrics with a Christian message. Many bands developed out of this, and some became leaders within the Jesus movement, most notably Barry McGuire, Love Song, Second Chapter of Acts, Larry Norman, Randy Matthews, Andraé Crouch (and the Disciples), The Archers and, later, Keith Green.

Contemporaneous with the Jesus movement, from 1967 to 1970, on the East Coast of the United States, the first documented Christian Rock band, Mind Garage, was taking rock music with Christian lyrics into church. In the UK, Malcolm and Alwyn were the most notable agents of the gospel beat.

Much of the music was a blend of folk music and folk rock (Children of the Day, Paul Clark, John Fischer, Nancy Honeytree, Mark Heard). However, Jesus music also encompassed soft rock (Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill, Pat Terry), R&B (Andraé Crouch (and the Disciples)), Soul music, Jazz fusion (Sweet Comfort Band), country rock or California rock (The Way, Daniel Amos, Mustard Seed Faith, The Talbot Brothers), hard rock (Resurrection Band, Agape, Servant, Petra, The All Saved Freak Band).

American churches largely rejected these artists at the time. By 1973, Jesus music was receiving enough attention inside the mainstream media that an industry began to emerge. By the mid 1970s, the phrase "contemporary Christian music" had been coined.

JPUSA is a ministry and commune on the North Side of Chicago. One of the first influences was Cornerstone magazine. In the early 1980s, they spawned the Cornerstone, the USA's largest Christian alternative music festival with about 25,000 attendees annually. They also founded Grrr Records as an outlet for the community's alternative music acts.

Jim Palosaari was one of Britain's influential Jesus people and the founder of the group JPUSA and Servant's Highway Ministries, Greenbelt festival in England, the largest Christian rock festival in the world.

Notable artists

As of 2007, most of these artists are either retired, are completely independent from the larger industry, or have entered the ministry as pastors or music ministers. Only a handful remain active within the Contemporary Christian music market. Some are still recording but releasing their music independently.

A few, notable "Jesus music" performers included:

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