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Group Members: Peter Furler
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One of the more media-exposed Christian rock bands of the '90s, Newsboys formed in the late '80s around a core of John James, Peter Furler, and Philip Urry. Though early in its career the band was panned for a perceived over-reliance on religious clichés in its lyrics, Newsboys later grasped secular music's alternative revolution in the early '90s for an image makeover, with good results. The group gained six number one singles on the Christian charts, and has been featured in more secular media outlets than the average Christian band. Step Up to the Microphone, their first album for major-label Virgin, arrived in 1998; Love Liberty Disco appeared a year later. In celebration of the new millennium, Newsboys also observed their own career with the greatest-hits package Shine...The Hits, issued in fall 2000. Their most elaborate work to date, Thrive, was issued in spring 2002 and led to one of their biggest CCM hits ever, "It Is You." Over ten years into their own career, Newsboys Remixed was released in the fall of that year, offering new takes on several of their biggest hits.
The band issued Adoration: The Worship Album in April 2003. The record included both originals and Newsboys versions of well-known worship songs. Guitarist Jody Davis left Newsboys in late 2003 in order to care for his daughter, Bethany, and Bryan Olesen took his place for a little over a year. He left in 2004 to work on his own band, Casting Pearls, just after Newsboys released their second worship album, Devotion. Paul Coleman, an Aussie singer/songwriter, came aboard as the band's new guitarist, and the next two years found the band touring the globe and working on the songs that would become its first pop album in four years, Go. That album, released in October 2006, was the first to be released on the band's own Inpop Records.
At the beginning of 2009, after a year of touring, Coleman left the band to go back to his solo career and Jody Davis returned. More shockingly perhaps, Furler announced soon afterwards that he going to scale back his involvement in Newsboys, no longer touring with them but instead staying behind the scenes as a songwriter/vocalist. His replacement came from one of the other titans of Christian rock, namely Michael Tait of dc Talk. Before Tait took over entirely, the band released one last album with Furler as lead singer, In the Hands of God, in May of 2009. By September of that year Furler was gone and Tait took over vocals for the band's next album, 2010's Born Again. The new-look Newsboys featuring vocalist Tait returned in 2011 with the studio album God's Not Dead.
Newsboys (sometimes stylized as newsboys) are a Christian pop rock band founded in 1985 in Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia, by Peter Furler and George Perdikis. They have released 16 studio albums, 6 of which have been certified gold. Currently, the band consists of lead vocalist Michael Tait formerly of DC Talk, keyboardist and bassist Jeff Frankenstein, guitarist Jody Davis, and drummer and percussionist Duncan Phillips."NbD: The Newsboys". Newsboysdeluxe.com. Retrieved 15 October 2011. "Music And Life | Christian Radio Online". Cross Rhythms. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2011. I Co-Founded One of the Most Popular Christian Rock Bands Ever… and I’m Now An Atheist, patheos.com, January 21, 2015
ContentsHistory1.1 1980s1.2 1990s1.3 2000s1.4 2010s
The band was formed in Mooloolaba, Queensland in 1985 by two young men: Peter Furler and his school mate George Perdikis. Two other teens were added soon after: Furler's best friend, John James, and bassist Sean Taylor. The band's original name was The News, but once in the US they changed it to The Newsboys to avoid conflict with the US-based band Huey Lewis and the News. The band came to the United States in late 1987 after getting signed with Refuge Communications and released the album Read All About It in 1988 in the United States.
After signing with Star Song Communications, they released two more albums in 1990 and 1991: Hell Is for Wimps and Boys Will Be Boyz, with its first self-titled video. None of the band's first three albums garnered much attention, and the band's line-up changed with every release.
It wasn't until their 1992 album, Not Ashamed (containing a cover of the DeGarmo & Key song "Boycott Hell"), that the band gained notice in the Christian music scene with its second self-titled video that followed a year later. Steve Taylor, a singer-songwriter and producer, began a partnership with the band, producing the band's record and writing most of the lyrics for their songs. Furler remained the band's primary songwriter and beginning with this album began sharing lead vocal duties with James and continued to do so until James' departure.
In 1994, amidst continued line-up changes (which included the addition of mainstays Jody Davis and Duncan Phillips), the band released Going Public, their fifth album and first real success. The record proved to be a watershed for the group, winning a 1995 Dove Award for "Rock Album of the Year". It also produced four No. 1 hits: "Spirit Thing", "Real Good Thing", "Truth and Consequences", and, most notably, "Shine". "Shine" won the 1995 Dove for "Rock Recorded Song of the Year". In 2006, CCM Magazine listed "Shine" in the top ten in its ranking of the 100 Greatest Songs in Christian music.
The 1996 follow-up album Take Me to Your Leader was recorded with an expanded line up with new additions Phil Joel and Jeff Frankenstein. The album produced three more pop No. 1 hits: "Reality", "Let It Go", and the title track, two rock No. 1 hits: "Cup O' Tea" and "Breathe", as well as fan favourite and concert staple "Breakfast". This album also won the group's third Dove, this time for "Recorded Music Packaging of the Year". This album spawned the Newsboys first movie Down Under the Big Top (1996), which was based on the song "Reality".
In late 1997, James announced he would be leaving the band, to start a preaching ministry. In 2007, he revealed the actual reason was due to a drug and alcohol addiction. With his departure, Furler moved from drums to vocals and auditions were held for the now-vacant drum position. Eventually, Duncan Phillips, who had previously played keyboards and percussion for the band moved over to the drum kit. From 1998 to 2003, the band's line-up of Furler, bassist Phil Joel, guitarist Jody Davis, keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein, and Phillips stayed constant.
The first post-James record, Step Up to the Microphone, sold well and produced four No. 1 hits: "Entertaining Angels", "WooHoo", "Believe", and the title track. It also spawned the Newsboys' live video, "Live One Night In Pennsylvania" a year later. "Entertaining Angels" won the 1999 Dove for "Short Form Music Video of the Year".
The band returned in 1999 with Love Liberty Disco, the band's only album to significantly deviate from their pop rock sound. Instead, this particular album featured more of a disco sound. Still, it produced several hits, including the No. 1 hits "Beautiful Sound" and "Good Stuff", as well as the title track. The LLD tour was significantly more popular than the album. This tour featured an inflatable arena, called the Air Dome.
In 1999 Furler co-founded Inpop Records with Wes Campbell, as an independent contemporary Christian music record label.
In 2000, Newsboys headlined the annual, travelling CCM concert, Festival Con Dios, with Audio Adrenaline and The O.C. Supertones. That same year, Newsboys released a greatest hits compilation, Shine: The Hits, which did not include any songs from the Love Liberty Disco album but included four new songs, two of which ("Joy" and "Who?") went to No. 1. After this album, the band did not release any new material until the 2002 release of Thrive, a record that produced two No. 1 singles: "Million Pieces (Kissin' Your Cares Goodbye)" and the praise and worship-driven "It Is You", which proved to be the biggest hit of their career up to that point also with its video, "Thrive: From The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.". Also in 2002, The Newsboys recorded the track "In the Belly of a Whale" for the end credits of the 2002 movie Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie.
After the success of "It Is You", the Newsboys then followed with two praise and worship albums: Adoration: The Worship Album in 2003 and Devotion in 2004. Late in 2003, Davis departed and was replaced by Bryan Olesen on guitar. In 2005, The Newsboys co-authored a book of devotions with Jim Laffoon entitled Our Daily Blog which was published by Inspiro and released on 1 November. They also recorded their Creation 2005 set for a live DVD to be released with their upcoming album. In 2006, Oleson left the band to focus on his own band Casting Pearls and was replaced by Paul Colman, formerly of Paul Colman Trio.
More radio hits came in 2006 with a live version of "I Am Free" (originally written by Jon Egan of the Desperation Band), and "Wherever We Go". On 31 October 2006, The Newsboys released a pop/rock record entitled GO. GO featured David Eri as a co-writer and the songs "Something Beautiful" and "In Wonder" were big hits on Christian Radio. That December, Joel announced that he would leave the band to pursue his own projects and albums. On 8 May 2007 the band released GO Remixed which was made up of new versions of the songs from GO and featured remixes by Tedd T., Jeff Frankenstein, Max Hsu of Superchick and Lee Bridges.Peter Furler spent 12 years as lead singer of the band
On 20 November 2007 the Newsboys released their second greatest hits compilation, The Greatest Hits. The eighteen-song CD also features two new songs "I Fought the La..." and "Stay Strong". This album was followed by Newsboys Live: Houston We Are GO, a CD/DVD combo recording package of a show from the GO Tour, which was released on 30 September 2008. Also in 2008, the band, with Steve Taylor providing vocals, recorded the song "Yo Ho Hero" for The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie.
On 5 January 2009, Colman announced he would be leaving The Newsboys to return to his solo projects. At the same time it was announced that Davis would return to the band, after a 5-year hiatus. “I am thrilled to be returning to the band and back with my bandmates, who are some of my best friends,” says Davis, “this is a big change in my life, and I’m looking forward to the tour and new record with excitement.”
In 2009, it was announced that Furler, having toured with The Newsboys since the band's inception, had decided to step back into a support role and would continue as the band's primary songwriter and producer. Because of this, a replacement lead vocalist was required so the band could continue touring. On 9 March 2009, it was announced that Michael Tait, formerly of dc Talk, would be the new lead singer. "Michael Tait will be touring with the band as lead singer with Peter making special appearances throughout the year. Peter will continue with the band and his trademark songwriting and production will remain as he focuses his professional career toward future Newsboys recordings." On 17 March, Tait performed his first full concert as lead singer in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
The Newsboys released the studio album In the Hands of God on 5 May (on Inpop Records) with Max Hsu (Superchick and tobyMac) producing the album. Long-time collaborator Steve Taylor co-wrote all the songs and sang on one song. During their concert of 11 September in Orlando, Furler announced that this would be his final guest appearance with the band.
The Newsboys' first studio album featuring lead singer Michael Tait, Born Again, was released on 13 July 2010 and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, their highest debut position, and sold over 45,000 copies in its first week. On 12 October 2010 they released the Christmas album, Christmas! A Newsboys Holiday featuring The Christmas Song by Tait. In 2011, the song "City to City" from GO Remixed was featured in the trailer for the Disney Pixar movie, Cars 2.
God's Not Dead was released 15 November 2011. Their newest live album, title Live in Concert: God's Not Dead, came out on 22 October 2012. In the same year they released their single "The League of Incredible Vegetables" for the VeggieTales video of the same name. The band released their 16th studio album Restart on 10 September 2013. The "Restart Tour" ran from 20 September to 27 October 2013. The band is also a part of the Winter Jam Tour 2013 from November 2013 through March 2014.
The band has filmed a sequence for the film God's Not Dead, released in 2014. The band then embarked on the "We Believe Tour". They performed at the BigChurchDayOut 2014.1995 Dove Awards 1997 Dove Awards "John James: The Newsboys Ex-lead Singer Speaks About His Fall And Restoration". Crossrhythms.co.uk. 26 January 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 1999 Dove Awards "Liberty University Digital Commons". Liberty University. Retrieved 27 November 2014. "Newsboys' Love Libery Disco Tour: The Stats". Today's Christian Music. Retrieved 27 November 2014. "Our Daily Blog: Devotions by Pastor Jim Laffoon: Books: Jim Laffoon, Newsboys". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 15 October 2011. 2007 Year End Charts/Top Christian CHR songs, R&R magazine, Retrieved 6 January 2008 "Jody Davis Returns To Newsboys!". Newsboys.com. Retrieved 15 October 2011. "Michael Tait To Join Newsboys". Newsboys.com. Retrieved 15 October 2011. "Special Preview EP available on WinterJam tour!". Newsboys.com. 9 January 2010. Retrieved 11 January 2010. "Newsboys Album & Song Chart History". billboard.com. Retrieved 21 August 2011. "Eninem Still Tops on Billboard 200, Korn And Newsboys Arrive High". billboard.biz. 21 July 2010. Retrieved May 2011. ""GOD’S NOT DEAD" SET FOR RELEASE ON NOVEMBER 15TH". Newsboys.com. Retrieved 15 October 2011. "Attention Friends! Our new album, 'Live in Concert: God's Not Dead' releases October 22!". Retrieved 23 August 2012. "Newsboys Restart Tour Dates Released". Christianpost.com. 9 August 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013. "Newsboys to Perform on the Winter Jam 2013 Tour". Christianpost.com. 14 August 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2013. "GOD'S NOT DEAD – Official Movie Website". Godsnotdeadthemovie.com. Retrieved 25 September 2013. "Newsboys We Believe Spring Tour - YouTube". YouTube. 19 February 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2014. http://www.bigchurchdayout.com/artist/newsboys
On 15 July 2002, the band released their first book, Shine: Make Them Wonder What You've Got. This book stresses the need for Christians to be unafraid to show their faith, and includes a glow in the dark cover and journalling space. In April 2003, this book was re-released in a Spanish version.
The band co-authored a book with Pastor Jim Lafoon, named Our Daily Blog: Devotions by Pastor Jim Lafoon. This book, released in 2005, contains daily devotions written by Lafoon, with reflections by the band.