It was early 1970 when three of my buddies and I walked into a church called Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa to play some songs for the pastor at the suggestion of a young hippie preacher named Lonnie Frisbee. We were hippies who had turned our lives over to the Lord only days before, yet we had a few songs that we had written before we met the Lord that were about God and Jesus. The pastor thought the songs were of God, invited us to play at one of the weekly Bible studies and we accepted the invitation. The services were running maybe 150 to 200 people at that time, but within 6 months the church attendance ballooned to over 2000, the media got involved, and the Jesus Movement was off and running. We didn't know much about what people called "gospel music", we were just writing the same kind of songs we would write if we weren't Christians but now we had Jesus to sing about. We called ourselves "Love Song", as we didn't want a religious sounding name. A few others were already doing similar music...we were amazed to see and hear the album "Upon This Rock" by Larry Norman, and we were ministered to by an early band at Calvary called the "Joy Band" who had wonderful music, but no place in the history, because they never made a record. Andrae Crouch was already exploring contemporary sounds in black gospel music. These and maybe a handful not mentioned were about the only artists there were in those really early days.
The music was called "Jesus Music" then. It was simple, direct, and anything but subtle in it's message of the love of Jesus. There were no charts in those days, no stations playing the music to any great degree, very little chance of any significant fame, and certainly no real money. Motives were tested early on...you were in it for God or you weren't in it. Bands got in their vans and hit the road, staying in private homes, eating whatever food was available, and receiving whatever came in the offering as an honorarium. Sometimes the offerings barely covered the expenses to the next town. Who could predict in those days that we would ever see a time when we would have a few contemporary Christian musicians who would wind up becoming millionaires, others who would share the charts with the likes of U2 and Madonna. Is the change all good? Not by a long shot, but it is what it is and I'm not going there right now. Where I am going is back to the '70s with Dave Hollandsworth, who has done such an excellent job on this site. This site is a celebration of what is arguably the finest decade in the history of CCM. A celebration of purity and innocence, genuine love for Jesus, commitment to ideals like the evangelization of the world and the unashamed proclamation of the message of Jesus. You will not have heard of many of these artists, especially if you are under 35 or so, but all these artists played a pivotal role in many ways in the bringing about of a music for our generation. Regrettably, Christians honor their musical roots less by far than the world does, and many of these artists, even the more well known ones will not be that familiar to many of you, but their contribution is important whether acknowledged or not.
In a small way, this site will serve to give honor where it's due. Not glory, that belongs to God, but honor for their achievement. We trust that you will enjoy surfing through the '70s with us...may God bless you deeply as you explore your musical roots and history. Chuck Girard -- June 1997
Chuck Girard was involved with pop music from a young age and became a "household word" when his group, The Castells, had several hits in the early '60s. He later went on to sing on many "surf and hotrod" records including the lead vocal on the top ten hit "Little Honda" by The Hondells in 1964. After becoming a Christian on 1970, Chuck and his good friends formed Love Song, one of the most popular groups during the Jesus Movement, and later went on to have a successful solo career which continues to this day. Visit Chuck's Home Page.