Last modified on August 8, 2016, at 18:54

Petra (band)

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Petra was a Christian Rock band. The band has enjoyed one of the most prolific careers in all of music, creating new albums for over 30 years.

The first Petra album, self-titled, was released in 1974. This was followed by Come and Join Us in 1977, and Washes Whiter Than in 1979. Those three albums were not big successes. However, with their fourth album in 1981, More Power To Ya, they streamlined their sound to a more commercial rock sound, similar to what was being played by secular bands like REO Speedwagon and Kansas. More Power To Ya was a commercial success and made Petra one of the most popular Christian bands. Their followup albums, Never Say Die (1982) and Not Of This World (1983), were also very successful.

In 1986 their singer Greg X. Volz (who had first appeared on their second album as a drummer before assuming vocal duties on their third album) left for a solo career, and was replaced by John Schlitt. John Schlitt had been a founding member of the secular rock band Head East (1974-1980; their best known hit: "Never Been Any Reason") before turning to Christ to overcome a drug and alcohol problem, and leaving rock & roll for blue collar factory and mining engineering work. His invitation to join Petra in 1986 led to Petra updating their sound again to a harder rock sound to match his vocals, debuted on their 1986 album Back to the Street.

The albums that followed, including This Means War! (1987), On Fire (1988), Petra Praise (1989), and Beyond Belief (1990), were their most successful commercially, even outdoing their previous peak period of commercial success in 1981-1983. They were also marked by a shift toward the use of the imagery and language of spiritual warfare in their lyrics and album cover art.

During the rest of the 1990s they underwent personnel and stylistic instability, with founding member Bob Hartman and longtime member John Lawry leaving. Their musical style changed with current trends in popular music, such as grunge. They remained one of the most popular Christian bands through the 1990s, finally retiring the band in 2005. They performed their last concert on December 31, 2005.