Newsboys' original core members, bassist Sean Taylor, vocalist John James, and drummer Peter Furler, formed the band in Mooloolaba, Queensland in 1985 along with Furler's guitarist school mate, George Perdikis. The band's original name was The News, but once in the U.S. they changed it to The Newsboys to avoid conflict with the U.S.-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 from 1990 to 1991: Hell Is For Wimps and Boys Will Be Boyz. None of the three albums garnered much attention, and the band's lineup changed with every release.
It wasn't until their 1992 album, Not Ashamed (containing a re-make of the DeGarmo & Key hit "Boycott Hell"), that the band gained notice in the Christian music scene. The title track of the album became a huge hit on Christian radio and elevated the band's profile considerably. Notably, Steve Taylor, a quirky singer-songwriter and producer well-known within the Christian music community, 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, which he would continue until James' departure.
In 1994, amidst continued lineup changes (which included mainstays Jody Davis and Duncan Phillips), the band released Going Public, their fifth album and first smash success. The record proved to be a watershed for the group, winning a Dove Award for "Rock album of the Year" in 1995 . It also produced #1 hits such as "Spirit Thing", "Let It Rain", and, most notably, "Shine". "Shine" quickly became an enormous hit and one of the most recognizable songs in Christian music, also taking 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. Going Public turned Newsboys into one of the top acts in Christian music.
The eagerly-anticipated follow-up, Take Me To Your Leader (1996), did not disappoint fans, either. The additions of Philip Joel Urry and Jeff Frankenstein finalized a regular roster of musicians for the band and generally showcased a bigger rock sound than in past projects. Because of the large size of the band, their concerts were full of energy with various members trading instruments as well as introducing Peter's rotating drum set. The album produced more #1 hits: "God Is Not A Secret", "Reality", "Breakfast", and the title track. This album also snagged the group's third Dove, this time for "Recorded Music Packaging of the Year" . The album solidified the band's place in the Christian music industry.
In late 1997, John James announced he would be leaving the band to become a pastor and author, however in truth he had found himself addicted to alcohol and cocaine, and had had several extramarital affairs.Despite the loss of the longtime frontman, the band pressed on. Furler easily switched from drums to vocals as he had co-led vocals on past albums and tours. Duncan Phillips, who had previously played keyboards and percussion for the band decided to try the drums even though the position had already verbally been granted to Jesse Sprinkle of Poor Old Lu fame. From 1998 to 2003, the band's lineup of Furler, bassist Phil Joel, guitarist Jody Davis, keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein, and Phillips stayed constant. Often, at concerts and festivals the band played "Breakfast" as the final song. It was customary for fans to purchase boxes of Cap'n Crunch and throw the cereal onto the stage, cued by "And Captain Crunch is waving farewell". A Cap'n Crunch fight between band members would ensue.
When Newsboys released its first post-James record, Step Up to the Microphone (1998), it quickly became clear that the band's popularity was still intact; the album sold well and produced, among other hits, the ubiquitous hit "Entertaining Angels", whose video won the 1999 Dove for "Short Form Music Video of the Year" . During the resulting "Step Up To The Microphone" tour, the band featured the drums on a rotating platform that would tilt downward up to 90 degrees. There were two sets of drums and Peter Furler (the original drummer) and Duncan Phillips would wear seat belts and have a rotating drum-off. This feature is still used on their tours and has grown to be quite popular.
The band returned in 1999 with the oddly-titled Love Liberty Disco, the band's only album to significantly deviate from their pop rock sound. Featuring 60's era-inspired pop and disco, the album delivered radio single hits such as "Beautiful Sound", "Good Stuff", and "Love Liberty Disco".
In 1999 Peter Furler co-founded Inpop Records with Wes Campbell, as an independent contemporary Christian music record label. The label is also affiliated with Every Nation, a group the Newsboys have significant links to (Furler is a member of Bethel World Outreach Center, an Every Nation church).
In 2000, Newsboys helped start and headlined the annual, traveling CCM festival Festival Con Dios with Audio Adrenaline and The O.C. Supertones. The festival was known for featuring popular Christian bands and for its motocross stunts.
Also in 2000, 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 #1. The band did not release any all new material until the spring of 2002 when they released Thrive. Featuring a return to pop-rock, the album also showcased one of the band's biggest hits: "It Is You".
The success of the worshipful "It Is You" perhaps paved the way for Newsboys' first praise and worship album in 2003: Adoration: The Worship Album. The album soon became the band's best-selling to date, based on the strength of singles "He Reigns" and "You Are My King (Amazing Love)". "He Reigns" is currently the most played Newsboys song to date. Late in 2003, guitarist Jody Davis left the band to care for his sick daughter, Bethany; he was replaced by Bryan Oleson, who agreed to be a temporary replacement until the band found a replacement for Davis.
The band returned in 2004 with another worship album: Devotion, led by the single, "Presence (My Heart's Desire)". The album was not nearly as successful as its predecessor, one reason arguably being the modest impact the singles had on Christian radio. In 2006, Bryan Oleson left the band to focus on his own band, Casting Pearls (presently VOTA). Paul Colman, a respected Australian Christian singer-songwriter and long-time personal friend of Peter Furler, replaced him as guitarist.
The Newsboys also co-authored a book with Jim Laffoon of Every Nation, published by Inspiro and released 1 November 2005 . A daily teaching by Laffoon, was also given prominent space on the Newsboys' webpage.
The band's latest 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, Newsboys released their newest pop/rock record entitled GO, as well as an iTunes GO EP, including the songs "Wherever We Go", "GO", and "I Am Free". The album was the band's first under their new Inpop Records label, and received strong reviews, praising the group's return to its original rock sound. "GO" featured David Eri as a co-writer. Their songs "Something Beautiful" and "In Wonder" were big hits on Christian Radio.
In December 2006, Phil Joel announced that he would leave the band to pursue his own projects and albums, bringing his time with the band to a close.
On 8 May 2007 the band released GO Remixed, a remix version of the "GO" album, composed of new versions of almost all of the songs on the original album. It featured remixes by Tedd T., Jeff Frankenstein, Max Hsu of Superchick and Lee Bridges.
On 20 November 2007 the Newsboys released The Greatest Hits featuring newer songs like "Wherever We Go," "Something Beautiful," "It Is You," "Million Pieces," and "You Are My King," in addition to older songs "Reality," "Shine," and "Not Ashamed.". The eighteen-song CD also features two new songs "I Fought the La..." (which features the singing of "La's" by the crowd from the Six Flags St. Louis Newsboys Concert of the GO Tour), and "Stay Strong."
On 30 September 2008, Newsboys released Newsboys Live: Houston We Are GO a CD/DVD combo recording package of the Newsboys Go Tour.
On 5 January 2009, Paul Colman announced he would be leaving the Newsboys to work on his own solo projects. At the same time it was announced that Jody 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.” Davis had been working in Yuma, Arizona, as a pipe maker.
Peter Furler, having toured with the Newsboys since the band began in 1985, decided to step back into a support role continuing as the band's primary songwriter and producer, focusing his professional career toward future Newsboys recordings. A replacement lead vocalist was required so the band could continue touring. On 9 March 2009, it was announced on the band's web site that Michael Tait, formerly of dc Talk, is 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." Tait was described as an ideal candidate because of the fact that during the Newsboys first wave of popularity brought on by the Going Public album, dc Talk was at the height of their popularity as well with their Jesus Freak album. On 17 March 2009, Michael Tait performed his first full concert as the lead singer of the Newsboys in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. During their 11 September 2009 concert, in Orlando, Furler announced that this would be his final guest appearance with the band.
Newsboys released the studio album In the Hands of God on 5 May 2009 on Inpop Records, which signified the end of an era with the return of Jody Davis on guitar and the last recorded appearance of Peter Furler. Max Hsu (Superchick and tobyMac) produced the album. Steve Taylor co-wrote all the songs for the album, and sang on one song. While Michael Tait contributes background vocals on the album, Peter Furler handles lead vocals.
The newsboys announced that their latest studio album, appropriately titled Born Again will be released on June 8, 2010. This album will officially usher in the Michael Tait era of the newsboys. On January 19, 2010, 5 new songs (Born Again, Light Up, I'll Be, One Shot and On Your Knees) were posted on the newsboys Facebook page.
Newsboys. (2010, February 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 19:26, February 8, 2010, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Newsboys&oldid=342658106
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