2. All Fall Down – The Seventy Sevens

ALL FALL DOWN

The Seventy Sevens (The 77’s)

When I was 16 years old and got my first job at the wonderful little Christian Bookstore with the funny little name (the Pink Lady) I worked in the music department – obviously. Once a month a company would send out demo tapes for our listening center that would contain one minute segments of each song from the albums that were coming out so customers could hear new music and make buying decisions.

One such tape was “Ping Pong Over the Abyss” by the Seventy Sevens (The 77’s). Even though each excerpt lasted less than a minute my friends and I would listen to those one minute clips over and over and over. In fact, due to a delay in the release of the album the “demo” tape actually ended up wearing out before the album hit the stores.

“Ping Pong” was easily the most anticipated release for me in 1983. I was a going to become a huge fan of Exit Records and what they were doing with releases from the 77’s, Vector, Steve Scott (who missed this countdown by one slot) and even Thomas Goodlunas and Panacea. One of my favorite memories was the famed first Exit Festival (at Citrus College I believe) on an absolutely hot and muggy day. But I, and the thousands like me, was there for the 77’s.

They rocked!

I also recall going to a Calvary Chapel Saturday Night Concert with The 77’s and someone else that I don’t remember though I think it was Undercover. What I do remember was seeing Michael Roe in concert for the first time, spitting, flaying, falling and crawling and thinking, “they’re never gonna let him back in here again!”

I was right.

I also remember while working for KYMS that none of the other DJ’s ever wanted to introduce the metal, rock or alternative bands so I always got to, and on one particular night the stage I was given to do the introductions for had the Resurrection Band and The 77’s. How cool was that?

This was around the time of “All Fall Down” and Mike had this huge main of hair that required cans and cans of aerosol hair spray. While back stage I remember Wendi Kaiser (Resurrection Band) – also known for quite a head of hair – and Mike borrowing hair spray from each other.

But the most memorable part of the evening was during the very extended version of “It’s Sad” in which Roe would wrap himself in a black blanket of sorts and writhe on the ground as the song slowly built to a crescendo. Mike would then begin ripping himself out of his self-made cocoon. Finally after rolling and falling around the stage for the final minutes of the song Roe collapsed in heap at the front of the stage replicating the “All fall Down” album cover.

I can’t say as a kid in my late teens at the time that I totally understand the symbolic gesture the spastic performance was imagining, but I can tell you the performance kicked butt!

My favorite show was at the Roxy in LA sometime around “All Fall Down” serving as a showcase for The 77’s, Charlie Peacock and Robert Vaughan and the Shadows (who missed this countdown by 4 slots). At the end of the show, I remember Mark dropping his guitar and pounding it lightly on the ground to increase feedback and bassist Jan Volz and Mike yelling something to him. Mark picked up his guitar and went all Pete Townsend on it just pounding and pounding it until it broke into pieces.

I spoke to Jan after the show and asked him why he and Mike told Mark to break his guitar. Jan laughed that he kept yelling at Mark to not break his guitar. “I kept yelling ‘don’t smash it, don’t smash it’ and Mark thought I was yelling ‘smash it! smash it!'”

The 77’s simply rocked!

Plain and simple, they were not a punk band, alternative band, new wave band or any other kind of band except ROCK band. No other band could rip through a Talking Heads type world music driven rhythm and follow with a Led Zeppelin cover. I am still amazed when I read reviews that call The 77’s an alternative band or that the debut album was a punk record.

Even when they formed in the late 70’s as the Scratch Band with Roe on guitar and vocals, Volz on bass, Mark Proctor on drums and Mark Tootle on keyboard and guitar, they were a band that rocked. The line-up stayed in tact for several years and with a name change in the early 80’s they became The 77’s and recorded their debut on Exit Records, a label based out of the Warehouse Church in Sacramento, a Church the band members attended.

The 77’s debut, “Pink Pong Over the Abyss” was also the debut record for Exit Records and would remain the cornerstone of the label during its short but impressive tenure. A wonderful collection of songs written primarily by Michael Roe with a little help from Steve Scott, there is more depth to simple themes than on most albums, let alone a debut project.

“Different Kind of Light” sounds more like Tom Petty than the punk label the band was saddled with early on and looks at the influences of “worldly” lights in relation to the Biblical one. Roe yearns, “Don’t want the usual merchandise recycled in a new disguise.” Futile worldly love is the topic in “How Can You Love.”

It would be the odd, keyboard and bass driven “It’s Sad” that would become a long time live classic. Borrowing from everywhere from Quickflight to the Talking Heads, the song builds and builds over it’s 5 minute run. The vain philosophies of the world are confronted by the truth of the Gospel but with a real touch of Lamentations. Roe laments here, “You drink good whiskey, you smoke good pot…20 more years what in hell have you got?”

Much of the album deals with the philosophies of man and their failings. Songs like “Renaissance Man” and “Falling Down a Hole.” In the entire career of a band you will seldom find discussions on Buddhism, Islam, Fatalism, Solipsism, Evolution, Spiritualism, Humanism and more, but with the latter song they are all included in under 4 minutes.

The title track, though, is the highlight. Relentless, pounding, aggressive and passionate from the first to the last. It is set apart from much of music for combining the ferocity of punk rock with the precision of progressive rock, with changes and progressions.

The was a live radio special that I received from Mary Neely of Exit Records that had some live cuts of what was then the Scratch Band performing “Ping Pong” but referring to it as “Reverse Your Lever” but that has either been forgotten or denied. The title itself comes from Allen Ginsburg’s poem, “The Howl.” The album was produced by Steve Soles who, along with being connected to T-Bone Burnett and Bob Dylan, also recorded two strong Christian albums, the best being “Walk By Love.”

One last note is that the album contains a great cover of “Denomination Blues (That’s All),” a great classic folk/blues tune that has also been recorded previously by Mark Knopfler, Ry Cooder and a host of others.

The 77’s self-titles debut for Island Records was supposed to make the band rock stars. Over the previous years drummer Mark Proctor left the group and was replaced by the hardest hitting drummer I have ever seen, the former Romeo Void drummer Aaron Smith. Smith also recorded with Charlie Peacock and eventually became a member of Rich Mullin’s Ragamuffin Band.

After  different showcases in LA garnered interest from several mainstream labels the Exit Records brand struck a deal with Island Records and The 77’s album was to kick off the whole long term deal. The buzz going in seemed really strong including some very impressive performances in front of the likes of Neil Young and receiving strong reviews everywhere from CCM Magazine to Rolling Stone. The album deserved to be huge but the label seemed preoccupied with this new “up and coming band” on their label with a new album called “Joshua Tree.”

The album would contain some of the bands longest lasting hits including Do It For Love, I Can’t Get Over It, What Was In That Letter as well as two possibly self-indulgent 8 minute epics “Pearls before Swine” and “I Laugh.” The first is a live blues song that features song of Roes finer guitar work. The latter is an acoustic “stream of consciousness” tune that features some of finer lyrics despite the inclusion of the “rocket in my pocket” line. The irony of “I Laugh” is that the song itself deals with self-indulgence.

But the undeniable highlight of the album is the song that would define the band for many years and still remains their biggest hit and only entree into pop radio, even on the Christian Music side, “The Lust, The Flesh, The Eye and the Pride of Life.” With a melody and guitar styling influenced by The Byrds, the song remains a testament to Roe’s great vocal ability and songwriting acumen.

Keeping with the bands theme of “self” the song points straight to the the Biblical themes that doom the lot of man. But here Roe comes across as more introspective  and realizes his own failings and frailties. He also acknowledges the limited pleasure of the lifestyle being lived.

And if a person, place or thing can deliver
I will quiver with delight
But will it last me for all my life
Or just one more lonely night

The band 311 would actually borrow a line from above in one of their songs. It’s one of the great shames that this album did not become the great launching pad for the band that it should have been. It is a wonderful work that deserves its own special placement amongst these great albums and I am sure there are plenty of readers shocked that it is no the album chose to be spotlighted here at Number 2.

Volz and Tootle would leave soon after and be replaced by members of the band, The Strawmen, guitarist David Leonhardt and bassist Mark Harmon. This also pointed a shift to a significantly heavier, guitar driven sound. Smith remained on drums. One last collection of unreleased and different versions of songs called “Sticks and Stones” would be released with the original band members.

Unlike similar “cast off” type albums, Sticks and Stones, is still quite a quality work despite a few of the songs having somewhat of a “demo” sound to them. “MT” is a great song that made its way onto some popular television programs of the day. It’s also a crime that “Nowhere Else” did not receive heavy Christian radio support as it could and should have been  radio hit. “This Is the Way Love Is” did receive some strong Christian Rock radio support and was a live favorite for quite some time.

The song that remains most fans favorite is “Perfect Blues” which the band performed live a long time before it was released on this album. Same with “Don’t This Way.” The reason being that it was three years between releases with only the Live album, 88, having been recorded and released. “88” would mark the official departure for Volz and Tootle and introduce their replacements. the album would also contain some extended jams of concert favorites with the final three songs lasting over 35 minutes.

It would be another two years before The 77’s would release 1992’s “Pray Naked,” the first full album of new material in five years. The wait was worth it as the album became a favorite of fans and relatively successful given the controversy behind the album. Word Records altered the title of the album with consent from the band and “whited out” the title of the song “Pray Naked” from the album listing. This would make two consecutive albums of new material to be listed as “self-titled.”

This did not stop fans or the band from calling it “pray naked” and several Christian Rock outlets went out of their way to play the song even when it was not released as a single and referred to the album as “Pray Naked.” My copy of the CD, which was signed by the band, had the name “Pray Naked” written across the top by one of the band members when he signed it. I dug that!

If there follow up album, this time on Myrrh (really?), “Drowning With Land In Sight” would be worth the price of admission if the only good song was the cover of Led Zeppelin’s, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” The album remains The 77’s heaviest and hardest rocking album. This may also be the band’s darkest album lyrically. Roe was struggling through personal and family problem while guitarist Dave Leonhardt would discover he had cancer and the song, “Dave’s Blues” would deal with that time.

One other album I would like to point out is “A Golden Field of Radioactive Crows.” The main reason I wonted to note the album was that it was the only one I had a privilege of selling while working for Diamante Music. It also marks the first full length release on the bands own label.

But forever etched in my musical psyche is 1984’s “All Fall Down.” Produced by Charlie Peacock and the first to have drummer Aaron Smith this album is filled with 10 no-miss songs. There is never a time where I push “next” on the CD player when this album is one.

It is difficult to talk about this album in order when the album and CD are in different orders. The album was originally released with the song “Ba Ba Ba Ba” kicking off what “side one” when the band originally wanted that side to be “side two.” So, when the CD came out several years later the band returned to the original placement of the songs. I recently asked Roe about that decision and he confirmed the story, but now wonders if Word’s orginal decision was the better one.What is important to note is the the album contains two distinctly different sides, so the order is not as important as keeping the sides of the record in tact.

I have often conjectured that the reason behind Word’s decision was that the “Ba Ba Ba Ba” side was decidedly more “Christian” in subject matter where the “Caught In a Unguarded Moment” side was more secular and controversial, with songs dealing with pre-marital sex in very plain terms and a song about abortion that more than implies the sexual activity as well.

This theme was not knew for Roe as songs on several albums including the debut addressed the issue, but none quite as graphically as the songs on “All Fall Down.” I will stick with the CD version only because it is the bands original concept despite the current misgivings about the change. But when taken as a whole the album does make good sense to start with “Caught In an Ungraded Moments.”

I was shocked when then Program Director of KYMS Greg Fast agreed to add “Caught” to the station but was more than pleasantly surprised at the response of listeners as the song became a huge hit. All drums and acoustic guitar to start the song tells the story of several young people who though they had their whole lives ahead of them but were prematurely cut down. No one knows at what hour their lives will be require of them and song proclaims that warning.

I saw a young girl fly
Over a rocky mountain brink
She had had too much to drink
She did not have time to think
But it was far more than just her car
That flew out of control
She had gone over the edge
Long before she'd lost her soul
And she was

Caught in an unguarded moment
Her fate was inappropos
But she was
Caught in an unguarded moment
She's been a pleasure to know
But she was
Caught in an unguarded moment
She made a brief cameo
But she was
Caught in an unguarded moment
Something she could not foreknow
And she was
Caught in an unguarded moment
All fall down like dominoes
And now she's
Caught in an unguarded moment
Eternal sorrow and woe

Not the normal lyrical setting for a CCM hit, but the song connected and became a hit. So did the reworked version of “Someone New.” The same song appears on the debut but with a decidedly different approach. More dance driven drums on this version one must note the influence of Charlie Peacock here. There would also be an extended version available for all this kids down at the dance club. I actually own the 12 inch version.

The song itself is a rather simple expression of faith with an evangelist call. Couched perfectly behind “Caught” the song calls out to those same people before it’s too late.

Someone new got ahold of me
Someone new took control for me
And what I blew
It won't be held against me
Someone new is looking out for me
Someone who's got real love for me
But what's it to you
Are you gonna be the last to know

The controversy would begin with the song that follows, “Something’s Holding On.” The song tells the story of a self-absorbed boyfriend whose selfish, sexual desires are all that drives his relationship. This shows itself not only in the sexual act but also the physical demands he places on the girl to remain beautiful and visually appealling.

You really whet my appetites
Ohhhhh and stimulate my glands
As long as what you wear looks right
Ummmmm and you keep to the shape I choose

The sexual content is not hidden or alluded to but bluntly stated for the sheer power of shocking reality. But here the song does not wrap up with a nice bow that boy gets saved and starts holding a Bible Study with his girlfriend. Rather the selfish and self-seeking sexual love is proven to be the only point of contact and intimacy and losing it would doom the relationship in a sad or horrible end. Here the confusion between sex and love are made obvious. Set to a 60’s, almost Beach Boys type melody, the song expresses the dangers of this kind of living.

Something's holding on
Something's holding on
Must be love that's holding on
But if you cut off all my fun
I'll be telling you 'so long'

The song segues perfectly into the song regarding abortion, “Your Pretty Baby.” With even more of a 60’s or early 70’s musical influence nne imagines the woman in the song above is now caught in a moment she never dreamed of and is left with an agonizing decision. The many “excuses” and rationalizations are personalized in the song.

And when your time comes 'round
And he's nowhere to be found
You wait for colour red

And when the ring you get
Is not the one you want
Then you begin to plot somebody's death
Thinking

Oh, your pretty baby won't know
Oh, Your pretty babe

Roe shows his keen songwriting skills here using creative phrases to get to the point even finding a way to express the point of intercourse found in the first verse. But like the rest of the album thus far the selfish lifestyles and decisions are made as the impact on another life is not considered.

You couldn't bear this thing
To save your life
Suppose you start to show

So you call the doctor
But who's gonna nurse away
The little voice inside when it cries
You'll curse this day

The first side ends with the ultimate results of the selfish lifestyles of the characters introduced previously but then adds those who spoke of faith and grace but turn their backs on Christ to pursue their own self-filled lives. Here in “Another Nail”  Roe alludes to the Biblical parable of the sower and the seeds.

Waiting for a message
I know it will never come
Even with the ninety nine
I feel the loss of even one

No need to keep us in suspense
The seed has died through indifference
And now we'll reap what you sowed
I'll take my tears and let you go

Everyday another nail is hammered

The song also contains “picking” style of guitar work that Roe would employ with great success over the years. The style would be a mainstay and separate Roe as an accomplished musician with varying styles mastered quite well.

The other side starts off with “Ba Ba Ba Ba,” a not so subtle poke at popular cults, most notably Mormonism. The popular apologetic of the Mormons at the door with the “burning in the bosom” is addressed here.

Ba-ba-ba-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba
We believe, we believe
Cuz we felt it burning in our hearts
Ba-ba-ba-ba
Ba-ba-ba-ba
And it's true, yes it's true
If it gets us all thru the night
For the rest of our lives

The song is much more keyboard and pop driven than most songs in The 77’s catalog, which again one must assume is as the result of the influence of Charlie Peacock. But here it works both musically and lyrically and Peacock should be commended for adding the more artificial and techno sound to a lyric that is about false religions and ideologies. There are also great beach Boy type harmony vocals as the song closes with a recording of a man speaking in a “backward masking” format. His words when deciphered are “like lambs led to the slaughter” or something to that effect.

The two most aggressive songs on the album follow immediately and return The 77’s to the style they originated on the debut. “Under the Heat” tells the story of the bombing of a building housing military personnel. The story relates to the individual in how one responds under the most difficult situations and how those situations reveal the truth as to who we really are.

Reaching through this
Curtain of fear
My arms are stretched
Beyond the limit
I take the heat from
Streaming tears
To bear the cold and
Walk out in it
Walk out in it

My plans for the future
Are a frozen picture
That has fallen and
Shattered and melted
Under the heat

All our lives changing
Under the heat

“Mercy, Marcy” follows with the same aggressive and frenetic pace as the previous song. The song would remain a live favorite for many years with extended version lasting 10 to 15 minutes in concert. This plaintive call for mercy also serves a warning of those idols that can replace God as our only true God, but all with the understanding that God’s mercy is complete and not contingent on our works.

Love to go far
On my guitar
Love when she sings
Love when she stings
But if I bow
Down to her notes
When death comes 'round
That's all she wrote

Then I say Lord
Have mercy on me
I say Lord
Have mercy
Complete
Forgiving
Chastening
Embracing
Unearned
Undeserved
A total work

“You Don’t Scare Me” is a Psalm of sorts that deals with how the man of God does not fear the Devil, his plans or even death. To live is Christ to die is gain. This 6 minute blues song would also show Roe’s subtle vocal performance and the trademark 77’s style of building songs slowly ending in great crescendos. God’s providence and protection are duly noted.

Why should I go the wrong way
Down a one way street
Against the Heat
When in one moment you could
Turn my up-to-date to obsolete
And your indiscreet
And you don't repeat
And you're beat beat beat
You're so beat

Yea though I walk
Through the valley
Of your shadow so near
I will fear no man
I will fear no woman
I will fear no pain
I will fear no thing
Cuz you don't
No you don't scare me

I'm gonna show you a mystery
You'll be swallowed in victory
Where's your stinger
Where's your sting

The slow build as the song continues is just simply intense. Finally the final two lines are literally screamed in a defiant tone worthy of the content. The song then speeds up, faster and faster until a wild and flourishing finish of drums, bass, guitar and harmonica.

The album closes with “Make a Difference Tonight” a song about the struggles of daily routines and trials that keep us from the important things like God.

Bells buzzers sirens and horns
Ringing in my head
Bills budgets savings and loans
Always in the red

Times schedules deadlines and forms
I think I'll go crazy
Wish I could remember what it was
Like to be lazy

I'm always running out of time
I'm always standing in a line
I'm always spending every dime

Again Roe here is actually pointing to the story of the sower and the seeds as he is the seed whose faith was planted amongst the thorns and weeds. All the while he is crying out to someone to make a difference in his life and in turn teach him how to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Thorns thistles thatches and tares
Tangled up in me
Gonna take much more than a man
To set me free

Why won't somebody tell my how to
Make a difference tonight

By personalizing the song Roe makes a stronger impact then simply pointing out the fault in others. This would be a common strain found throughout all of The 77’s works as each song comes across as more personal and autobiographical. This is probably why many 77’s fans feel a deep connection to the band. When Roe personalizes universal struggled he puts himself into the seat of the listener, making his point more applicable.

Row would go on to also record a few solo projects and perform, write and tour with the supergroup, The Lost Dogs.

http://greatestchristianalbums.wordpress.com/2010/02/12/32-scenic-routes-lost-dogs/

Few “rock” bands have run the gamut of diverse style with such aplomb and success as The 77’s. Few bands have also ever been able to merge deep, thoughtful and intense lyrical theme with a musical quality of the depth and stature of The 77’s. This was never more true than on “All Fall Down.”

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31 responses to this post.

  1. This countdown has highlighted writers, artists, musicians, poets, singers and the like, but in Mike Roe we finally get “rock star”. Sure, 70% of the world doesn’t know him, but here’s a performer not afraid to give in to his excesses on and off-stage and then come back to tell the story. As a rock ‘n roll lovin’ teen, I’ll admit there were CCM albums I liked but was afraid to blast for fear of scaring away the girls (Come on, guys – just because you were Christian didn’t mean you were no longer interested…) The 77s? TURN… THAT… UP!

    And if you look into the songs, you’ll find a message both of redemption and the need for it, as well as the old truth of our humanness, our desire for right and our proclivities for otherwise. Few bands or artists could hit one out of the park every time they took the plate, but I’m always ready for a new Roe-related project because no matter how far afield he may go (His incredible recent solo “We All Gonna Face The Rising Sun” is not rock but is totally worth your time) it is full of quality, honesty and a true desire to give his best to the listener.

    Roe is also one of the best guitar players out there – period. On one record, he is channeling Jimmy Page, Jerry Garcia, Chet Atkins and Frank Zappa and never, ever, burying his performance. Now, I know this all might come across as incredibly scary to someone who was taught all music with passion and backbeat was of the devil (I actually attended a church like that once) but I submit this challenge to anyone who would call The 77s anything less than true believers: would you rather the choir raise the roof or phone it in?

    This band NEVER phoned it in.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Shawn McLaughlin on March 4, 2010 at 12:06 am

    Love these guys……..am surprised at your #2 choice. I have your #1 pegged (assuming your mind hasn’t changed since ’96) so I figured, maybe, Keaggy at two unless the Live 2nd Chapter album counted as his entry. That said, All Fall Down makes perfect sense and is completely consistent with the characteristics you’ve been espousing throughout the list. It was groundbreaking when it came out AND constituted a huge artistic leap forward for the band. Like Heard, DA, The Choir, Adam Again, etc. the band’s work acknowledges that God exists in our tribulation just as He is present in our triumph.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Shawn McLaughlin on March 4, 2010 at 12:37 am

    Dw, good point re: Roe’s guitar playing. He falls more to the side of a “feel” player, but doesn’t skimp on chops. On “Holy Ghost Building” you can hear the influences of Peter Green, James Burton, Keith Richards and Roger McGuinn/Mike Campbell. He is awesome to watch live, even in the less explosive vehicle of The Lost Dogs. He might be the most under-appreciated player working today.

    Dave, if you are as fond of “Denomination Blues” as I am, you need to seek out God Don’t Never Change by Ashley Cleveland. It contains an incredible version of the song.

    Reply

    • I caught him last year – he did a home concert and it was mostly with the acoustic guitar. Now, I am a guitar nut and I love to see what an expert player can do, especially if they do it clean, no pedals or distortion. Roe was as humble as can be, but I’m here to tell you when a race car company makes a vehicle, they want an expert behind the wheel. Who ever made his guitars would beam at how those things were played that night.

      Reply

  4. Denomination Blues was also covered by Tennessee Ernie Ford. I thought the revamped, poppier version of “Someone New” was radio-ripe.

    Mercy Mercy. Your Pretty Baby. Great stuff.

    For those of us who came to faith not out of heritage but because we thought something was screwy in the world we were inheriting…the 77s were one of the only bands out there talking about it.

    Reply

  5. Now please, please, please don’t surprise us with Amy Grant as the # 1. That’s all I ask. I think I know what’s coming, but whatever it is, as long as it’s not Amy Grant in a leopard jacket, I’ll be okay.

    Reply

    • Posted by low5point on March 4, 2010 at 3:17 am

      As much as i really love “Lead Me On” it is simply not enough to overcome the fact she recorded that horrific “Fat Baby” song

      Reply

      • No, I’m never going to buy the alibi that was actually about a baby either. If she wanted to sing a love song to someone other than God, then at least be honest about it!

      • Posted by goozer on March 5, 2010 at 6:37 am

        Wrong ‘Baby’ song, DW! And thanks for the earworm low5point – just for that, I give you “Bullfrogs and Butterflies”…well, not actually, since I’m not providing a link. But let this be a warning to you all! ; )

  6. Posted by Shawn McLaughlin on March 4, 2010 at 3:33 am

    Amen! Weirdly, as much as I like Lead Me On, I actually prefer the darkness of Behind the Eyes. Unbelievable, confessional album.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Donomanman on March 4, 2010 at 4:13 am

    The end of Ba Ba Ba Ba contains old German propaganda passed around during the 30’s, it’s not backwards masking….translated it states:
    if it works then it must be good if its good then it must be true

    Reply

    • FYI – While my German is limited, my ear hears the repeated German phrase as “wie Schafe zur Schlachtbank geführt”, which translates “like sheep led to the slaughter”. This makes perfect sense in the context of “Ba Ba Ba Ba”.

      Reply

  8. Posted by Shawn McLaughlin on March 4, 2010 at 4:24 am

    Oh…Dw, must tell you how much I like your work on Popdose. love, love, LOVED the Mark Heard article.

    Reply

  9. Posted by low5point on March 4, 2010 at 10:56 pm

    The following came from Chris Hauser…may be the funniest Mike Roe story…EVER!

    I interviewed the band in the press “trailer” at the first Cornerstone Fest (’84). They (Mike and Jan Eric) said a Word exec, upon hearing “All Fall Down” for the first time, said it’s central themes were sex and death. A goofy radio guy then asked “so, are your lyrics inspired by the Holy Spirit?” Everyone tensed up, and Mike Roe says “well they BETTER be if they’re only about sex and death!” The whole place erupted in laughter. Great choice for #2 Dave.

    Reply

  10. Great 77s discussion…. Myself, as much as I loved ‘All Fall Down,’ that 3rd album The 77s in ‘stereophonic’ sound just steals the show for me…. I saw them 2-3 times in support of that album.

    One of my friends, who was in Veil of Ashes, he and I saw the 77s in a Berkeley Ca club….. unbelievable…. great rock n roll….

    Blessings

    Reply

  11. Funny. I spent plenty of time in the Pink Lady as a kid, only I was too little to be interested in the rock. I thought this post was a huge coincidence, then I figured out who you are. Long ago memories of Sunkist…
    Isaac Martin (son of Fred).

    Reply

    • Posted by low5point on March 6, 2010 at 7:45 pm

      Good thing I never told the story about a particular Family VBS class taught by your dad where he and I argued endlessly about rock music. If the band Servant would have made the list the details of that story would have come out :)

      The book I’m writing which is based on my other blog deals A LOT with growing up at Sunkist

      Reply

  12. Posted by Shawn McLaughlin on March 7, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Incidentally, Mike Roe apparently just got married. Congratulations are posted all over his Facebook page.

    Reply

  13. Posted by historyguy on March 9, 2010 at 6:52 am

    Love this choice, but am surprised you had this one so high! This is the album that got me into the 77s, but I thought maybe Pray Naked or the EP (if you count EP’s) might be higher.

    Can’t quibble, though. This one just rocks.

    Reply

  14. Posted by Scott Hoel on March 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I stumbled upon your blog via flipsidemn curious to see what kind of list this will end up being. I scanned through the list….this guy’s got it down.. Then I started reading through this post for 77’s…. The Pink Lady (944 Tustin Ave!)…Sunkist (Baptist Church)…Dave?? DAVE!!! Of course, who else would have this down cold, great taste et al.
    Dude! Don’t know if you remember me by name. We worked together with Woody @ Sunkist back in 1993. You also gave me the lead for my gig working at The Pink Lady too. (Is Phyliss still around?) That was before it was castrated & became Das Beeble Haus!
    Email me man! Would love to catch up with you. I’m in MI now. I heard you went into ad sales in XN radio at one time.
    Take care
    (REALLY looking forward to reading more here now..)

    Reply

  15. Posted by Jan Eric on July 14, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    I gotta tell ya. Playing along side of Mike and the guys through those years was one of the highlights of my life. We had a great time, we actually were sincere about the Truths which were buried in the songs, and I still am humbled and overjoyed ever time I meet someone who tells me it was the music of the 77’s that got them through the tough years of of their youth and early years of faith.

    Creating music, traveling, and living the “real deal” along side Mike, Aaron, and Mark was simply the best. I have been blessed to have shared those times and help create that music. May the music live on…

    All my best to you, the faithful listeners,
    Jan Eric

    Reply

  16. Posted by paul on October 22, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    This is a great Blog and of course no one will ever agree to the order. I am very happy that the 77’s are way up there since they one of my all time favorite bands. (Second only to DA of course) I saw the 77’s for the first time I think at Knotts close to the time I saw U2 and I remember thinking that even though I really liked the U2 show, nothing could touch the 77’s live. I was talking to one of the workers at a music store once, (It might have Maranatha village), and we both agreed that bands like the 77’s and DA were far too good to be stuck in CCM and for that reason were underrated and unheard. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

  17. Posted by paul on October 22, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    It could have been, I was there every week looking for and listening to new music. I really like the fact that you could listen to the misic on the 8 tracks. (Whats that) The person I talked to there was responsible for the store carrying U2, The Alarm and Simple Minds, which none of the other bookstores had. It probable was you. Thanks.

    Reply

    • Posted by low5point on October 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      Depending on the date it was either me or Brian Tong who started Frontline

      Reply

      • Posted by paul on October 25, 2010 at 3:40 pm

        It would have been from 1982 – 1988, and then for some reason, I don’t remember if Maranatha Village closed down or just changed things around, I stopped going. It was an hour away and the Cristian Light Bookstore by me started having the listening posts. But like I said I bought “October” there and Simple Minds – “New Gold Dream” so it would have been around that time. Thanks again for the great Blog. It brings back some great memories.

  18. For those us hungry for christian music that actually made sense, The 77s were our band. The sound and the lyric were something we could relate to, easily. I had a hunger for a way to face the realities of a fallen world while still being a Christian, and The 77s made for a great feast of music. A lot of songs by Christian artists today all sound alike because they’re all saying the same thing from the same place: country-club, “feel good” church. Decades later, The 77s are still ahead of their time.

    Reply

  19. Posted by Martin on August 16, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    If you like Denomination Blues, check out the original … it’s from the mysterious 1920s blues preacher Washington Phillips.

    Reply

  20. Posted by Paul on January 28, 2012 at 11:07 pm

    I have a radio show and I always play the 77`s, Steve Taylor and Degarmo And key, (Sadly Dana Key Died in 2010) Yet there is so much more Great Christian Rock,Pop, New Wave, Alternative –there are so many excellent bands still out there!!

    Reply

  21. […] has a darn good discography that boasts some of the greatest Christian albums ever recorded. Heck, All Fall Down was ranked #2 on just such a list, while the 77′s self-titled record was #1 on another. Such […]

    Reply

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