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Contemporary Christian Music Watch
I remember when I was younger I would hear my parents and other adults say that the days and years ﬂy by faster the older you get. I think I'm beginning to realize what they were talking about. I can remember when it was our nation's bicentennial ... it's been almost 20 years since then. It's 1995 and I can't help but think 1980 wasn't that long ago! I tell myself to wake up, it's almost the year 2000! Wait a minute, we've still got ﬁve years left, so let's enjoy them; but first let's take a look back at 1994 in Christian music before we get too far into this year.
Nineteen ninety-four was the 25th anniversary of the Dove Awards and the first year of the American Christian Music Awards. It was also a very sad time as the Male Vocalist of the Year turned the Doves he had just won over to the Gospel Music Association because of some improprieties with a female artist. Michael English announced he will enter the pop music ﬁeld very soon.
Some big deals were made this past year as EM] agreed to purchase Star Song Communications. This deal comes down the pike just two years after EMI purchased Sparrow. Meanwhile Liberty/EMI entered into an agreement with Benson Music Group that would allow Benson's contemporary artists to be distributed to the general marketplace. Other happenings during '94 include Intersound Entertainment restructuring its contemporary Christian label and concentrating on black Gospel. Word and Maranatha! entered into a deal, forming a new praise-and-worship label.
Artists who inked deals with record companies this year included Russ Taff to Warner Brothers Nashville with rumors of a country project. Sparrow signed Phil Keaggy, Cherri Keaggy (not Phil's wife ... but related through marriage) and Chris Eaton ... who hasn't had a solo project in a long time. John Elefante signed with Word. Benson will introduce us to Linda Elias and Leslie Glassford, Gary Oliver, Three Crosses and Nouveaux. Brent Bourgeois, Ian, Oslo Gospel Choir and Church of Rhythm signed with Reunion.
Just a couple of months ago Carman broke an attendance record when "The Standard Tour" landed in Dallas. Over 71,000 people crammed into Dallas stadium for the October 22 concert. Carman's previous attendance record was 50,000 in Africa.
Meanwhile, this summer about 25,000 went to DC '94 in Washington, D.C., hearing from Steven Curtis Chapman, Petra, DeGarmo & Key, Al Denson, DC Talk and Geoff Moore & the Distance during the three-day event. There were also surprise appearances by Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant. One of the great things about DC '94 was the 200,000 pledge cards of young people showing their commitment to stay pure until marriage. It was part of the Southern Baptist Convention's True Love Waits Campaign.
On the adult contemporary Christian Music charts,"Because of You" by Two Hearts was the first number one of 1994. Wrapping up the year was Kim Boyce with "By Faith." According to Christian Research Report, a Christian radio trade magazine, the top five adult contemporary songs for 1994 were "God is in Control" by Twila Paris, 4Him's "For Future Generations," "The Concert of the Age" from Phillips, Craig & Dean, Susan Ashton's "Remember Not," and "I Surrender All" by Clay Crosse.
Late in 1994, Sandi Patty announced that she will not be touring in February as scheduled. Sandi was to begin a tour at that time co-headlining with 4Him. A short time ago Sandi said that it seemed like the right time to go back on the road, but recently she felt God's leading on her heart that this is not the time. Sandi said that she needed to do some more healing before she can take a place of spiritual leadership in ministry. Patty made the comments in an open letter to The CCM Update while wrapping up the ﬁnal weeks of the 1994 Young Messiah Tour. Sandi is struggling with several things in her life, including her 1992 divorce from her husband, John Helvering.
Some great concerts came through our own city during 1994, including Joy Jam '94, billed as the biggest one-day Christian Music Festival. The concert at Cardinal Stadium featured Michael W. Smith, Carman,4Him, White Heart, Rich Mullins, Al Denson, Mark Lowry, Michael Sweet and Straight Company. By the way, Joy Jam '95 is in the works already with what I understand will be another great lineup of artists. Louisville also enjoyed the Steven Curtis Chapman and DC Talk tours during 1994.
Coming in concert in early 1995 is Ricky Skaggs to Southeast Christian Church on January 13. Southeast will also host 4Him in concert. Regionally Amy Grant with hubby Gary Chapman will be at Lexington's Rupp Arena Sunday, March 26, at 7 p. m. Tickets are $22.50 and $35 for Gold Circle. Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster locally.
Another year has come and gone, so let's look to a great 1995. I want to thank you for your interest in this column and Louisville MusicNews forallowing me and WJIE to do this every month. God Bless You!
Count It All Joy BeBe & CeCe Winans
One Step Closer to a Broken Heart Bob Carlisle
Love Has a Hold On Me Amy Grant
The Boy in Me Glen Campbell
Things Are Gonna Change Bryan Duncan
Hungry for You East to West
Second Chances Maia Amada
The Poem of Your Life Michael Card
Seventy Years Ago Twila Paris