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Revival in the Land?
Carman, Peretti, and The Greatest Star
This issue is not a very long one. It covers a christian musician who used to be in the band Kansas, Jesus People USA, the new artist Kim Hill, and an interview with one of the most famous CCM artists, Carman. (Kim Hill is actually still in the music business, as one half of the singer/songwriter group Wooten Hill. They sound great!)
Carman is not the only person spreading the idea of spiritual warfare in this issue - Frank Peretti appearing with Michael W. Smith signals that multiple influential people within the industry supported this ideology.
In February 1990, Nelson Mandela was freed from prison after 27 years, secular artists such as Sting and Bruce Springsteen hosted a ‘Rock for the Rainforest’ benefit concert, and Bette Midler’s version of "Wind Beneath My Wings" won a Grammy for Song of the Year.
from a letter to the editor...
“Great article on Michael W. Smith! (Dec, 1989) I have been a ‘Smitty’ fan ever since his emergence into contemporary Christian music. He is, without a doubt, the single most talented artist in his field. Nothing displays his tremendous all-around skills more than his Christmas album. Side two of the cassette is the best 15-20 minutes of music to come along in many years!”
Fun fact, when CCM Magazine publisher John Styll interviewed Carman for the first time in March 1988, he admitted he didn’t like the artist and didn’t want to interview him. “I thought he was a judgmental, holier-than-thou type who manipulated audiences and looked ridiculous on album covers.” But because Carman was so Carman, Styll was won over.
This interview (done by another staff writer) tries to explain who Carman is, gives his bio, and how extensively he tours. But what it also does is highlight how the idea of spiritual warfare is becoming a bigger cultural issue that evangelicals were involved with in the 90s.
“With the type of music we're doing now, we're taking another step. We've gotten into the realm of identifying and uncovering evil. So we're going to listen to the tape together, and experience it. Then we'll go into prayer, and I'll tell you something, after you listen to someone cast out demons, and then you pray, you pray a lot harder. Occasionally we'll do something like this, because I want everyone to know what we're dealing with and how to identify kids that might be involved in Satanism, the occult, groups like Slayer, Megadeth, etc... These kids have been exposed to a lot.”
The album he’s promoting with this interview is Revival in the Land. Not only does he have songs such as “God’s Got An Army,” but he also started calling his concert performances “Concert Crusades.” The creation of an evangelical teenage culture warrior was something that was manufactured, and one of the ways it was done was through Christian music. Carman is the most obvious example because he was so blatant about it, but he was also *immensely* successful because of it, and it's worth pondering why.
The Greatest Star
The Greatest Star of All was a musical theater production that was performed at various churches across the U.S., but also in places such as Russia and Ukraine. Here's a newspaper article from 1989 describing it, and what's really interesting is that one of the writers, Greg Gulley, is still active in orphan care in Ukraine.
a look at the top charts...
Honestly I couldn't even finish watching this video, but if you're really looking for a trip down memory lane, here you go....