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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

DeGarmo & Key

Updated: Jul 3




DeGarmo & Key (sometimes nicknamed D&K) was a Christian rock band/duo formed in 1977 by Eddie DeGarmo and Dana Key. The group is notable for having the first Christian rock album nominated for a Grammy award and the first American Christian group to have a video entered into MTV's rotation. They are also noted as being among the first groups to raise the level of technical excellence to match general market releases of the time.


While the group played blues based rock with a minor British progressive rock influence, they migrated to a more pop and rock style as time went on. DeGarmo played keyboards and sang background vocals (and occasionally lead), while Key played lead guitar and did the majority of the lead vocals. The other musicians at the time of formation in the late 70s were John Hampton, David Spain, Max Richardson and Terry Moxley (drums) along with Joe Hardy and Ken Porter (bass). Later members included Tommy Cathey on bass, Greg Morrow on drums as well as Tony Pilcher on rhythm and second lead guitar.


DeGarmo & Key toured with Amy Grant in 1981 as an opening act and as her backing band (both the band and Grant recorded the duet track "Nobody Loves Me Like You Do" from their 1980 album This Ain't Hollywood). This was Grant's first big tour and was a boost for both artists. Dan Brock, the band's manager and booking agent, explained, "She was the darling of the gospel industry at that time and they were the outcasts. We got a lot of bad press from the gospel establishment people who said they were ruining Amy's music by playing it too loud, but at the time she was drawing a couple thousand people and we were only drawing about 400 or 500, so it gave us a lot of exposure." The concert dates were recorded resulting in Grant's live albums In Concert and In Concert Volume 2.


Some of their more notable hits include: "Destined to Win," "Let the Whole World Sing," "Six, Six, Six," "Boycott Hell," "Every Moment" and "Casual Christian." Both DeGarmo and Key each released solo albums while still recording together as a band. Other musicians who have recorded or toured with DeGarmo & Key include Kenny Porter (bass), Kevin Rodell (drums), Chuck Reynolds (drums), Steve Taylor (guitar) (not related to another Steve Taylor, who is also a contemporary Christian artist) and Mark Pogue (guitar). The group was nominated for seven Grammy Awards and five Dove Awards. DeGarmo and Key disbanded in 1995.


DeGarmo was more focused behind the scenes in Christian music as a songwriter, producer and as an executive at his founding label Forefront Records throughout the mid 1990s and 2000s. DeGarmo's niece is singer and Broadway actress Diano DeGarmo, who was an American Idol contestant and runner-up from Season 3 in 2004. In 2021, DeGarmo released his book Rebel for God: Faith, Business and Rock 'n' Roll.


Key served as the head of Ardent Records, and hosted a TV show, featuring new, younger, Christian bands. Key had been serving as the pastor of a small church in Cordova, Tennessee called The Love of Christ Church. Key died due to a ruptured blood clot on Sunday, June 6, 2010 at age 56, according to CCM Magazine's website.


More information on DeGarmo & Key at Wikipedia:


Discography


Heat. It. Up. (1993)

To Extremes (1994)

Greatest Hits Volume 1 (1994) (compilation album)

Very Best of DeGarmo & Key (2006) (compilation album)


Eddie DeGarmo solo albums



Dana Key solo albums


Part of the Mystery (1995)

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