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The Rock & Roll Rebellion: Why People of Faith Abandoned Rock Music and Why They're Coming Back Paperback – September, 1999

4.6 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Is there such a thing as Christian music? Fans of what is now called Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) might think so, but not radio personality and writer Mark Joseph. In this well-researched work, Joseph argues that Christian music is not a separate genre, and that by creating a separate marketing category, Christian musicians removed themselves from pop culture--to their own detriment as well as the culture's.

Through profiles of leading Christian musicians and producers (including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Pat Boone, Run-D.M.C., and U2), Joseph explores Christianity's place in American popular music, concentrating in particular on the rise of CCM as a commercial power. For anyone interested in the tension between sacred and secular in modern American music, or for fans of popular artists who have struggled with these issues (such as Amy Grant, Sam Phillips, T-Bone Burnett, Mark Heard, and dozens of others), this book makes for fascinating reading. (And it might also introduce you to some great music!) --Doug Thorpe


" Joseph a journalist and talk-show host doesn't have utter contempt for the CCM industry...his tone is firm but loving." -- The Lakeland Ledger

" Joseph has created the strongest argument yet for the demolishing of the CCM demarcation." -- The Orange County Register

""A must-read for music fans. Lots of talk about Christians who stayed secular and those who went back." -- The Houston Chronicle

"Contemporary Christian music, that catch-all for any modern religious music, has finally gotten the scholarly history it has... deserved." -- The Arizona Republic

"In this fascinating book author Mark Joseph makes a strong case for integrating faith-based music into the broader American culture." -- Billboard Magazine

"Joseph compares CCM to the 1930s-era Negro baseball leagues." -- World Magazine

"Joseph, the founder of MJM Entertainment's book explains the failures of a trend to create a separate Christian culture." -- The Washington Times

"The author's real aim is to destroy the archaic notion that Christian music should be separate from mainstream pop." -- The Lima News

"The latest attempt to decipher Dylan's faith, that also discusses the conversions of Alice Cooper, Lenny Kravitz and other musicians." -- Los Angeles Times

Can you imagine artist-ministers receiving flat salaries instead of relying on album royalties? The term Christian artist being avoided like poison ivy? Joseph not only envisions such changes but he says they're necessary if Christian music is to reach the broader culture while still meeting believer's needs. To his credit, he's clearly not a controversy hound; he critiques artists and record-label executives but consistently tries to be fair. For example, he heaps praise on Phil Keaggy while lamenting the artist's decision to leave mainstream rock. A bonus benefit is the up-to-date history of contemporary Christian music. Customers will ask about this bold book. Cross-merchandise copies in your store's music section-with the confidence that you're giving space to a thoughtfully and courageously crafted work. -- CBA Marketplace

Contemporary Christian music has finally gotten the scholarly history it has deserved, only, with an irony attached: Its author's aim is to destroy the notion that Christian music should be separate from pop. What baffles Joseph, is why the proponents of CCM continue to bring segregation on themselves.

Joseph pays special attention to Lenny Kravitz, Johnny Cash and Run-D.M.C., who search their souls on record, yet also watches CCM deprive edgier, visionary talent of the chance to preach to anyone other than the converted, creating the strongest argument yet for the demolishing of the CCM demarcation.

But Joseph doesn't have utter contempt for the CCM industry. His tone is firm but loving, as if he were trying to stroke key egos to make them realize the potential that Christian music has. Joseph's book details their and their forebears' fight to be heard from within a tightly drawn circle. An important statement . . . -- Knight-Ridder News Service


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers; First Edition edition (September 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805420614
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805420616
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,304,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
If you're reading this review then you probably should read this book. Reading the review implies that you have an interest in the subject(s) of faith and/or rock and roll which means that this page-turner is for you. Mark Joseph has accomplished an astounding feat here by amassing this information. Welcome to Faith/Rock 101. Prepare to be educated. You should understand, though, that as Mark Joseph begins presenting two opposing viewpoints on a debate that may be new to some, his mind is firmly made up. When Joseph allows the artists to do the talking, the book shines. He does, however, engage in some editorial-izing at times from his own point of view. He has weighed Contemporary Christian Music in the balance and found it wanting. The book is about two points of view regarding the relevance of C(ontemporary) C(hristian) M(usic) to the world at large as opposed to the Christian sub-culture and its quality when judged as art. The basis for Mark Joseph's conclusion that CCM serves no useful function is that the artists perpetually "preach to the choir." It's a matter of Christians making music for Christians who already agree with them. Thus, CCM has none of the tension and angst-and presumably fun-that are associated with real life. CCM is safe and sanitized. It would be inappropriate for me to offer my observations, points of agreement or disagreement with the author. I'm reviewing the book, not the premise of the book. Do you want to discuss it? Email me. It's a fascinating and controversial topic. If you read Rebellion with an open-mind, you will find that it provides some answers even as it produces more questions. Consider the different responses of the members of Kansas.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Upon first glance this looked like the most complete tome on Christian rock that I knew existed. The interesting insights begin quickly, as the first chapter goes into how Christians were somehow sequestered from the mainstream. But at over 300 pages it was very unlikely that I would not raise an eyebrow at at least a few things. The red flag rises to full mast in the section describing DeGarmo and Key, which begins by describing the duo as "Among those who shared an 'us-vs.-them mentality' that pervaded the CCM world and ensured its continued irrelevance to the wider culture." Tell that to the countless young people who came to know the Lord through their no-compromise ministry. Joseph does acknowledge this but not after making them out to be aloof, largely because they refused an offer to open for ZZ Top. He then attempts to imply contempt for DC Talk on the part of DeGarmo for their being distributed by Virgin. "Over the years," says Joseph, Degarmo and Key "became the premier CCM rock ensemble, next to superstars Petra." Petra, at least as influential and for at least as long, garnered only a small handful of trivia-question mentions in the entire book.
The "Defectors" chapter continues with examples of artists who faced "the CCM dilemma," such as Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind, and Fire. The religious music establishment was leaning on him to write hot music with God lyrics, while CBS was "no doubt hoping that Bailey would write hot music without God lyrics." Why would this be? Later on, Peter King claims that for instance MTV, "they don't care," meaning that if Christians make good music and videos they'd have an opportunity to be played there.
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Format: Paperback
Excellent Book! A must read for all musicians, people in the music industry and Christians. Interesting, riveting and honest perspective about the integration of faith, religion, music ministry and entertainment. Our American culture needs to have a better understanding of how all of our spiritual roots play a part in our musical preferences. Contemporary Christian music is not a separate genre of music. It should never have been thought of as such and marketed as such. Mark Joseph gives clear history and reasoning behind what is and what should be contemporary Christian music. FULL of useful information and insight. Keeps the reader interested so they can't and don't want to put it down!
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Format: Paperback
In his groudbreaking book Joseph stakes out a controversial position challenging the very foundation of Christian music.
The guiding hand of the Christian Music has been to take musicians who happen to be Christian out of the mainstream and put them into the "Christian" category thereby shoving them into a safe corner away from the other musicians.
Although safe in their own corner the effect has been to prevent any influence of the mainstream something Joseph states should be the fundamental creed of Christians.
Joseph has forever put a fork in the road for future Christian musicians, managers, record company executives and most importantly the music buying public. DO YOU WANT TO HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE CULTURE OR DO YOU JUST WANT TO HIDE IT UNDER A BUSHEL.
Facinating reading with exhaustive specific documented quotes and situations that make this quite a page turner. You will love it.
Orvin James
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