No Sequins here by Alan Scott
It’s funny how the lives of so many rock icons can form a false mental picture. It’s no wonder, of course. Interviews of people like Mick Jagger, Elton John or Lady Gaga reveal their wealth, some up to hundreds of millions of dollars. There’s an old rumor, dating back to an Elton John concert in Dallas, TX in 1974, concerning a stagehand who found a dsiamond on stage that allegedly came loose from one of Elton’s elaborate costumes. After the death of Prince, his multi-million dollar estate, complete with multiple recording studios, was plastered all over the news networks. Iconic rock history can be found by following the sequin trail. Not so much our CCM artists.
I knew Rich Mullins. We weren’t close friends, but rather acquaintances through the record/radio circles. I well remember being at a live broadcast remote, for KLTY/Dallas, where he pulled up in a cab decked out in a t-shirt and dirty jeans with holes in the knees. (Although, that was the way he dressed most of the time.) It was the first time I ever met him. What an impression. After he died, it was reported that when the family entered his trailer, out in the desert, they found a table, a coat, a chair and that’s about it. On stage one night, I recall him mentioning the false idea that all artists are wealthy, followed by laughter from his band mates. With his sharp dry wit, he went on to talk about dinner at Exxon.
There are facts many CCM listeners don’t realize concerning the infant years of Contemporary Christian Music. Back at the delivery room of CCM, during the late 60s and early 70s, there were basically zero funds supporting it. The Christian record labels of that time were small and meager with very little production and marketing budgets. In fact, most rejected the idea that CCM would appeal to the Christian demographics, or the secular mainstream. So when “Jesus Music” artists began to be noticed like Chuck Girard, Nancy Honeytree, Larry Norman, Phil Keaggy, Second Chapter Of Acts, Randy Stonehill, and others, they were attracting ears in local coffee shops, the beach and small youth gatherings. The founding fathers/mothers of what would be known as CCM often recorded their first cuts out of a garage. If you have one of those vinyl’s, hang onto it. Indeed, they are precious.
Classic CCM truly stepped out in faith, without a solid audience awaiting them. These vintage artists had to work with what they had. They were friendly to zero budgets, but wealthy in faith’s passion.
In His Grip,
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