Petra at 50: An introduction


I grew up memorizing Billy Joel’s “An Innocent Man” album in my mom’s car on trips to the beach. I used to pretend I was Joe Elliott and put on Def Leppard “concerts” in our living room. David Foster era Chicago was the soundtrack of the months following the big breakup of my life, and later I discovered the incomparable Terry Kath, Robert Lamm, Danny Seraphine, and those horns.

I love music, and Billy Joel, Def Leppard, and Chicago are all among my very favorites. But none of them are number one.

That spot is forever reserved for Petra.

For those too young to know or just not in the know, Petra was and sometimes still is the greatest and most influential Christian rock band of all time. They practically created the genre, and for a young teenager who believed in Jesus and was eager to find good music that proclaimed the same message he believed, Petra was, quite literally, a God-send. 

Petra ranks very highly on the soundtrack of my life, and this year they turn 50. Formed in 1972 in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Petra, officially retired but still getting together from time to time, is entering its sixth decade of music and ministry.

To celebrate, and just because I want to, in 2022 I’m going to go through their discography –– album by album. I will review each album, track by track, and share some personal reflections along the way, along with a few clips. And, as is my way, I’ll rank the albums and create a list of my top 50 (for 50 years) Petra tracks.

I did something along these lines, to a lesser extent, ten years ago on my old blog, but for a number of reasons I want to do it again, and better.

If you are a Petra fan, I hope you’ll keep up and enjoy it, and feel free to share your thoughts as I plod along. If you are new to Petra, perhaps what I share will provoke you to leap down into the glorious rabbit hole.

The series will start in a day or two, as I review the 1974 self-titled debut album, Petra.

P.S. This series was inspired in part by a podcast I recently discovered, On Rock: A Retrospective, by Lindsay Hall and Dave Hall. I encourage you to check it out as they are doing much what I plan to do. Just a different medium.


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