Jesus Rocks the World
The Definitive History of Contemporary Christian Music
by Bob Gersztyn
September 2012, 509pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
2 volumes, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-0-313-37770-9
$110, £82, 95€, A149
eBook Available: 978-0-313-37771-6
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

“Contemporary Christian music”—commonly referred to by the acronym “CCM”—is a catchall term that describes a wide range of types of music, encompassing work produced in the late 1960s to the 21st century, and incorporating rock and folk music influences. Contemporary Christian music enjoys widespread popularity, despite being unfamiliar to many modern music listeners; in recent years, sales of CCM have exceeded other more mainstream categories like jazz, Latin, and classical.

This book tells the story of contemporary Christian music over the course of more than half a century—a parallel music universe that the average person knows little about, but whose worldwide impact cannot be overemphasized.

Christian theology has had a tremendous impact and influence on world civilization in the 20th and 21st centuries, and music has often acted as a catalyst in the evolution of the culture and religious thought of Western civilization. Similarly, contemporary Christian music has shaped other seemingly unrelated forums of modern music, and thereby influenced our society at large.

Jesus Rocks the World: The Definitive History of Contemporary Christian Music is organized chronologically, beginning in the 1960s and concluding with present-day developments in CCM. The core of the book is formed around the author’s 40 years of direct experience with CCM, condensed into cultural and musical histories that explore every aspect of the genre, including the key artists, CCM-specific record companies, epic concerts and unforgettable festivals, groundbreaking albums, and its underlying philosophy and theology. Special attention is also paid to the intersection of contemporary Christian music with general market pop music, making mention of top artists such as Bob Dylan, Amy Grant, and U2.

Bob Gersztyn has been a freelance photojournalist and writer since 1994. He was previously an ordained minister who became involved in the Jesus movement in Los Angeles, CA, in 1971. He was ordained and licensed as a minister after graduating from LIFE Bible College, Echo Park (now known as LIFE Pacific College, San Dimas, CA). He studied photography and ancient history at Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles, respectively. Gersztyn served at a Los Angeles inner city Foursquare church as an associate pastor where one of his responsibilities was booking and MC-ing concerts with Christian artists ranging from Keith Green to 2nd Chapter of Acts.


"Bob Gersztyn's history of Jesus Rocks the World is a welcome addition to the very slim canon of serious histories on contemporary Christian music. In addition to his thorough research, Bob's interviews and photography skills make this a special project, one that scholars and fans alike will find valuable in the years to come." —Robert Darden, Associate Professor, Journalism, Public Relations and New Media, Baylor University

"While I've dismissed Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) as Christian cheese, Robert Louis Gersztyn convinced me to give this musical genre another look-see. Through his photos and commentary, I found myself transported back to the sixties for a front row seat to witness the growth of this worldwide cultural phenomenon."—Becky Garrison, Author of Jesus Died for This?

"Bob Gersztyn has written the history of a counterculture to the 60s counterculture where the spirit of the time met the Holy Spirit and the rock of the age was transformed by the Rock of Ages." —Don Cusic, Professor of Music Business, Belmont University, Nashville, TN

“The history of contemporary Christian music has its roots in the earliest days of rock ’n’ roll, when pioneers such as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and many others funneled the euphoria of the black Pentecostal worship service into their music and performances. The ‘Jesus Music’ of the early 1970s and subsequent ‘contemporary Christian music’ of the 1980s and onward continues the lineage where rock music and Christian spirituality have combined. And Bob Gersztyn has done a masterful job of documenting this much neglected lines of the rock ’n’ roll ancestry in his work.”—David Di Sabatino is an Emmy-nominated documentarian whose film Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher played on PBS and received critical acclaim. He is also the compiler of The Jesus People Movement: An Annotated Bibliography and General Resource.

"It is wonderful to read such a thorough and insightful book on the subject. I am captivated by Bob Gersztyn's account of so many people whose stories wove together to change hearts forever. But I was truly impressed at the lengths to which he was willing to go to look into the face of God's work through Christian music and follow the story wherever it went—even to me."—Marsha Stevens-Pino, Founding Member of Pioneer Jesus group Children of the Day and BALM Ministries.

"Jesus Rocks and Gersztyn Rolls Out the True Jelly Donut of the Soul."—Hugh Romney a.k.a Wavy Gravy, Poet, Humanitarian, Peace & Personal Empowerment Activist, Woodstock MC and Author of Something Good For A Change.
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.