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The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ’n’ Roll

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  26 ratings  ·  9 reviews
When rock ’n’ roll emerged in the 1950s, ministers denounced it from their pulpits and Sunday school teachers warned of the music’s demonic origins. The big beat, said Billy Graham, was “ever working in the world for evil.” Yet by the early 2000s Christian rock had become a billion-dollar industry. The Devil’s Music tells the story of this transformation.

Rock’s origins lie
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Hardcover, 330 pages
Published March 19th 2018 by Harvard University Press
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Start your review of The Devil’s Music: How Christians Inspired, Condemned, and Embraced Rock ’n’ Roll
Alex Stroshine
A personal rating of 3.5/5, but overall 4/5.

Christian rock is ubiquitous with conservative Protestantism and even has fans among Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox believers (one of my favourite alternative Christian rock bands, Luxury, is currently comprised of three-fifths Eastern Orthodox priests). But Christians did not always embrace rock music and Randall J. Stephens' new book traces how Christians went from virulently rejecting rock to making contemporary Christian music a billion dolla
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Lisa
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: academic-history
Extremely through and entertaining. I loved all the screenshot photos by the author that were included. As someone who came of age at the tail end of the great fears about rock among Christians, so much in this book explained my youth and childhood. Stephens is a historian of American Christianity but the detail about popular music is incredible.
Daniel
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
This is not the book I thought it was - I was expecting a book about Christian Rock (mostly because I found out about the from a separate article on the history of Christian Rock) - it's really a book about the Christian reaction to Rock. Christian Rock comprises a fraction of the book.

For what it is, the book was OK. The research is impressive, and informative. It notes how rock and roll really had its roots in Southern Pentecostalism, with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, J
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Gregory Jones
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book did a really nice job of showing some of the extreme reactions of the church to rock music. The focus on fundamentalists really shapes this narrative. That said, I didn't find that particularly revelatory. It documents what you might call a known story. However, there are plenty of snippets of research that give the 20th century some intriguing character. It's not the typical "progressive rise" narrative and shows how contested things like the popularity of Elvis or the Beatles really ...more
Jacob
Apr 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Although fairly dry, a good read showing the pentecostal roots of rock, the secularization, the overall christian rejection and fear of rock (rooted in racist, classist, and elitist ways of thinking), and then the eventual surrender to rock which birthed christian rock and its plethora of subgenres.
Ends with a review of current christian music record sales in an attempt to show that Christians in America are anything but persecuted.
Recommended to anyone interested in music history of the past c
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Donovan Potts
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at how American Christianity, in all of its many flavors, and a specific part of American culture intertwined. Well researched and written, this book keeps a clear focus on the premise but still gives a broad picture of varying denominational reactions to rock music. I would recommend it to anyone interested in studying how Christians interact and engage with popular culture, and how that interaction does, or sometimes does not, change with the passage of time.
Denise Huff
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Interesting, well-researched history of American music and its interaction with the American church. Having grown up in the 70's and 80's, I saw the shift with my own eyes, and it was eye-opening to learn the full story. I sat in many of those fundamentalist lectures referenced in the book, so it was intriguing to read about them now from the other side.
Catherine Martin
May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nice history of Christianity's fraught relationship with rock 'n' roll.
Greg Soden
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Deep and incredible archival research. This is some hard work for the field of music and religious history. Well done. Highly recommended.
Check out my interview with the author:
https://www.stitcher.com/s?eid=561826...
...more
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