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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

Beat the System (1985)

Updated: Jan 3

Beat the System is the seventh studio album by the Christian rock band Petra, released in 1985 on Star Song Records. The album is produced by Jonathan David Brown.

It is the first album to feature John Lawry on keyboards, replacing John Slick after being with the group since 1981. Lawry joined towards the end of the recording process; his contributions were limited to some overdubs on the songs "Beat the System," "Clean" and "Adonai." Most of the keyboards on the album, as well as all the bass and drum parts, were performed by session musician Carl Marsh. Bassist Mark Kelly and drummer Louie Weaver were not involved in the recording, only touring.

Fairlight programmer Rhett Lawrence added some elements to "Clean" and "Hollow Eyes." Carl Marsh's programming, under the direction of producer Brown, veered the sound of the album more in the synth-rock genre of music. A music video was made for the title song featuring the new Petra line-up of Greg X. Volz, Bob Hartman, Weaver, Kelly and Lawry. Beat the System peaked at number 1 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart, giving the group their second number 1 album. Petra earned their second Grammy nomination for Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group for Beat the System at the 28th Grammy Awards.

NOTE: this the last album to feature lead vocalist Greg X. Volz as he left the group after finishing the Beat the System Tour and started a solo career in 1986. John Schlitt, former lead singer of the mainstream rock group Head East, would be the new lead singer for their next album. This is the second time Petra has covered "God Gave Rock and Roll to You" for this album. The first time was on their 1977 album Come and Join Us.

Track listing

All songs were written by Bob Hartman, except where noted.

1. Beat the System -4:25

2. Computer Brains -4:02

3. Clean -3:03

4. It Is Finished -3:54

5. Voice in the Wind -4:32

6. God Gave Rock and Roll to You (Russ Ballard) -3:55

7. Witch Hunt -4:36

8. Hollow Eyes -4:04

9. Speak to the Sky -4:19

10. Adonai -4:43



Bob Hartman -lead guitar, backing vocals

Greg X. Volz -lead vocals, vocal arrangements

Mark Kelly -bass guitar, synth bass, backing vocals

John Lawry -keyboards, synth programming, backing vocals

Louie Weaver -drums, percussion

Radio singles

1985 "Hollow Eyes" -#7 Christian CHR, #7 Christian AC

1985 "Beat the System -#2 Christian CHR

1985 "Witch Hunt" -#13 Christian CHR

1986 "Voice in the Wind" -#13 Christian CHR, #13 Christian AC

Previous release: Not Of This World (1983)

Watch the music video of "Beat the System" here:

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