1#1 Darrell Mansfield

Darrell Mansfield’s soulful voice and harmonica have amazed and inspired audiences worldwide for over 30 years. A renown musician and songwriter, he has released more than 30 albums and is recognized as one of the world’s greatest harmonica players. Over the years Darrell has recorded and toured heavily in the US and Europe as well as the Middle East, Asia and Australia.

Mansfield’s live performance is a must see and hear for blues, rock and harmonica players worldwide. Darrell excels in every genre from delta blues to hard rock and southern rock, and has been a forerunner in gospel blues and rock for more than three decades.

Some of the most inspiring people that Darrell Mansfield has met in his career are Paul McCartney, Les Paul, B.B. King, Big Joe Turner, Richie Sambora, Paul Dean and Jon Bon Jovi. Mansfield was a close friend of Seth Lover, inventor of the Humbucking Pickup, who taught him about electronics, amplifiers and microphones. Darrell Mansfield has toured and performed on multiple occasions with Arthur Blessit, Andre Crouch and Larry Norman.

Mansfield’s powerful music was forged in him through personal ordeal, prevailing FAITH in God and a deep desire to communicate HOPE and LOVE to people around the world through the impact of his music.

Darrell Mansfield is one of the major pioneers of the Jesus Movement of the ‘70’s that birthed contemporary Christian music, Calvary Chapel, and many similar evangelistic ministries and movements.

He was ordained April 8, 1988 by Pastor Chuck Smith and the board of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Mansfield was brought on staff to run Asaph records and launch Calvary Chapel’s record label, Calvary Chapel Music. He also performed at several Harvest Crusades and many TBN and EO (European) television specials.

He continues to evangelize the world through Christian music festivals, crusades, missions trips, outreaches, CD distribution, television and radio. He has special empathy for those suffering with mental illness, and has fought his own personal battles to overcome depression. He has been a spokesperson for Christians with mental illness, urging them and churches to treat mental illness as a medical problem.

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  1. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. Ill make sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.

  2. I can think of more, including, Lamb, Randy Stonehill, The Resurrection Band, Chris Rice, Phil Keaggy, just to name a few. Keith Green had such a huge part in my Christian growth, I cannot wait to see him one day in glory.

  3. To the article author, in the interest of accuracy, “Upon This Rock” was not the first Christian rock album. John Fischer was a folk artist and while that falls into the categuory of rock, Wikipedia has credited him and his album as the first. “John Fischer was born in Pasadena, California in 1947. He graduated from Wheaton College in 1969. He studied for the Christian ministry at the Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California under Ray Stedman. He released his first Christian album The Cold Cathedral in 1969 (a few months before Larry Norman’s Upon This Rock). This is considered the first American contemporary Christian album.”

  4. Thank you so much for putting this list together!!! I remember once seeing a poster in a pastors office that said “If you like ‘Secular Artist’ then give ‘Christian Artist’ a try!” All of these artists were on that list. As a teen in the 80’s I grew up listening to these artists and enjoying the advent of the “New” CCM movement. It’s great to hear their music again since none of the current stations play their music any more. We need and “oldies” station for Christian Rock!!! It would all be new for these kids!!

  5. Is this all supposed to be a good thing? the formal introduction of worldly, sensual music into the churches, and along with it, the faddish music cultures that now dominate most of American Christianity? This is not being transformed, it is being conformed to this world, and it was a grand step in Satan’s work to seek to destroy the body of Christ and drive deeper wedges between us.

  6. As others have noted, this is a wonderful list. The one omission I would note is Daniel Amos, another band taken under Larry Norman’s wing (for better or worse). The songwriting of Terry Taylor led the band into new sonic and lyrical territory during and after the “New Wave” era and remains an inspiration through his work with Lost Dogs and the occasional DA release.

  7. Although maybe not as well known, the group The All Saved Freak Band was also one of the early Christian rock/folk groups. They had a unique sound and borrowed from Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” for some of their lyrical images.

  8. Petra rocks! I like your history of the band. However, I believe that you didn’t feature John Schlitt, lead vocalist in the video, enough in the text. His presence led to a second surge of popularity for the band. Schlitt’s vocals have been influential in Christian music (e.g., Down Here). He’s one of the greatest rock (Christian or secular) vocalists of all time. Thanks. God bless.

  9. Thank you. Many of these had a big influence on my life. I had the pleasure of seeing Petra in one of their first concerts (1974) and I still listen to the first album which is one of my favorites. Larry Norman, what can I say…changed my life. Can’t wait to see him again.

  10. Discovered Larry Norman & 2nd Chapter in the late 70s as a 19 year old. Also found Mark Heard (RIP) who was one of either Norman’s or Stonehill’s discoveries/projects. Grateful for that musical history.

  11. Seen most of these artists in concert at one time or another…great inspiration to my writing style…l put a twist on much of my lyrical message; leaving the listener thinking: Jesus did THAT for ME?

  12. Thanks for the time you took to inform people of their Christian musical heritage. If it weren’t for these groups, I would not be who I am today in Christ. In heaven, I’ll have a chance to thank them personally. Larry Norman did an assembly in my high school around 1974. He was the first and made me want more…

  13. Thanks for this list! Thanks for including Styper. Not sure what the original date of publication for this was but it should be said that Stryper is still rrleasing studio albums and still touring. Their sound has grown up with them, and they are rocking for the rock harder than ever!

    One question: why was Petra not on this list?

  14. Thank you for the wonderful history of some of the people who Pioneered Christian Contemporary Music; and I especially thank you for introducing me to: “Sweet Comfort Band”, and “Servant”, I had not heard of them before. My fav’s of the other 13 are numerically different from yours, slightly.
    I would start where you left off with the onslaught of great bands in the eighty’s: Whiteheart (My All-time #1 Band, especially from “Powerhouse” forward when Ric Florian joined!); Iona; Whitecross; Newsboys (much different from the current lineup, which is great as well with Michael Tait as front-man); The Choir (they used studio recording techniques similar to “Pink Floyd”); Daniel Band; Sincerely Paul; The 77’s (especially “Pray Naked”); Idle Cure; Novella; Mad At The World; The Call; Jon Gibson; Michael Card; Deliverance; Mark Farner (formerly of Grand Funk Railroad); Crumbächer; Shout; David Zaffiro; Veil of Ashes; Sacred Warrior; Crystal Lewis; Jet Circus; One Bad Pig; D-Boy; 12th Tribe; The Altar Boys; P.I.D.; Jacob’s Trouble; and many, many more.
    And of course, even though he has already been mentioned in the comments, he deserves mentioning again; Rich Mullins! I saw him in concert a couple of years before his car accident that took him home to be with Jesus. And it was the most worshipful concert I have ever been too! Fernando Ortega is second, in that category.

  15. Sooo many of these folks impacted my life, were a part of the Holy Spirit’s plan to permanently seal the gospel in my heart. Saved Jan. 7, 1983.
    Keith Green, Phil Keaggy, 2nd Chapter, Talbot, Michael Card, Barry McGuire – but yes, Amy Grant (“Mountain Top”) & Michael W. Smith (“You Need A Savior”, “Rocket Town”), Rich Mullins(“Awesome God”)…even Dogwood.
    But still, nice to see.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing this list. Thank You Jesus for the blessings and memories that were once again visited with the songs and videos shared here. Tears of Joy for the price that was paid that can never be repaid.


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