Don't Stop the Music

My first introduction to "Contemporary Christian Music" came in 1982 by way of two duos, "Farrell and Farrell" and "DeGarmo and Key." I liked the Farrells, and I liked D&K too, but I didn't love them. D&K did have some cutting edge, blatantly Jesus-centered music. It wasn't until 1988 at Heritage USA that I saw what all the fuss was about. When DeGarmo and Key took the stage, they rocked, and I mean the totally rocked. Then Dana Key showed that he was clearly the brains and balls of this duo. He spoke and I hung on every word. I was hooked on D&K after that.

That summer, my pal Jay and I followed D&K like a couple of groupies. We followed them from SC to Atlanta Fest 88, where they rocked the house big time. Then to Augusta, GA, and even though it was a smaller crowd, they held nothing back.

What I really loved about DeGarmo and Key wasn't just their Memphis style blues and rock & roll sound. They were genuine ambassadors of Christ. Not like the CCM artists of today. They offered Bible studies and free tapes and they interacted with the audience after each show. That is, AFTER they took time to counsel those who came forward during the invitation. Going to a D&K concert was like going to a church with the coolest pastor and the best music.

When I ventured out in 1988-89 with my own music evangelism ministry, I so totally tried to model myself after Dana Key. If I were going to be a rocker/preacher type, he embodied how it would look in my mind. I actually got to meet him once, only for a few seconds. I hugged him and thanked him for showing me the rock of the Rock. He laughed. That was cool.

I found out early this morning that Dana Key died from a ruptured blood clot at the age of 56. The article on the CCM Website didn't do him justice. I probably haven't either.

One thing I know for sure, Dana Key loved Jesus, and he loved to rock hard. There will never be another like him.

It is strange that while I was working yesterday I was humming an old D&K song, "Competition," and thinking how cool it would be for a D&K reunion tour to take place. I guess we will have to wait for that until Heaven.

But be warned, it will rock the cosmos and shake the stars right out of the sky!


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