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Empty Stage
  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero


Updated: Mar 28

Newsboys (sometimes stylized as newsboys) are a Christian rock band founded in 1985 in Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia, by Peter Furler and George Perdikis. Now based in Nashville, Tennessee, the band has released 20 studio albums, 6 of which have been certified gold. As of 2023, the band consists of lead vocalist Michael Tait (formerly of DC Talk and Tait), drummer and percussionist Duncan Phillips, keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein, electric guitarist Jody Davis, and bassist Adam Agee (formerly of Stellar Kart and Audio Adrenaline).

Furler and Perdikis got their start by practicing a garage on Australia's Sunshine Coast, well known for being a "surfer's paradise." Two other teens were added soon after: Furler's best friend, John James, and bassist Sean Taylor. The band's original name was The News but they changed to Newsboys to prevent confusion with US-based band Huey Lewis and the News. Newsboys came to the United States in late 1987 after getting signed with Refuge Communications and released the album Read All About It in 1988 in the United States.

After signing with Star Song Communications, they released two more albums in 1990 and 1991: Hell Is for Wimps and Boys Will Be Boyz. None of the band's first three albums garnered much attention and the band's line-up changed with every release. It wasn't until their 1992 album, Not Ashamed (containing a cover of the DeGarmo & Key song "Boycott Hell"), that the band gained notice in the Christian music scene. Newsboys began a partnership with American singer - songwriter and producer Steve Taylor and starting with Not Ashamed, Taylor became the band's producer with him and Furler as the primary songwriters.

Furler also shared lead vocal duties with James until James' departure.

In 1994 amid the continued line-up changes (which included the addition of mainstays Jody Davis and Duncan Phillips), the band released Going Public, their fifth album and first real success. The record proved to be a watershed for the group, winning a 1995 Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year. It also produced four No. 1 hits: "Spirit Thing," "Real Good Thing," "Truth and Consequences" and, most notably, "Shine." "Shine" won the 1995 Dove for Rock Recorded Song of the Year. In 2006, CCM Magazine listed "Shine" in the Top 10 in its ranking of The 100 Greatest Songs in Christian Music. The 1996 follow-up album Take Me to Your Leader was recorded with an expanded line up with new additions bassist Phil Joel and keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein. The album produced three more pop No. 1 hits: "Reality," "Let It Go" and the title track, two rock No. 1 hits: "Cup O' Tea" and "Breathe," as well as fan favorite and concert staple "Breakfast." This album also won a Dove Award for Recorded Music Packaging of the Year and it spawned the Newsboys' first movie, Down Under the Big Top (1996), which was based on the song "Reality."

In late 1997 just after completing the Take Me To Your Leader Tour, lead singer John James announced he would be leaving the band to start a preaching ministry. In 2007 he revealed the actual reason was due to a drug and alcohol addiction. With his departure, Furler moved from drums to vocals and auditions were held for the now-vacant drum position. Eventually, Duncan Phillips, who had previously played keyboards and percussion for the band moved over to the drum kit. From 1998 to 2003, the band's line-up of Furler, bassist Phil Joel, guitarist Jody Davis, keyboardist Jeff Frankenstein and Phillips stayed constant and in 1997 Newsboys hit the studio to record Step Up The Microphone. The first post-James record, Step Up to the Microphone, sold well and produced more No. 1 hits: "Entertaining Angels," "WooHoo," "Believe" and the title track. It also spawned the Newsboys' live video, Live One Night In Pennsylvania and a year later. "Entertaining Angels" won the 1999 Dove Award for Short Form Music Video of the Year" and in late 1998 they went into the studio to record Love Liberty Disco.

The band returned in 1999 with Love Liberty Disco, the band's only album to significantly deviate from their pop rock sound. Instead, this particular album featured more of a disco sound. Still, it produced several hits, including the No. 1 hits "Beautiful Sound" and "Good Stuff" as well as the title track. The LLD tour was significantly more popular than the album. This tour featured an inflatable arena, called the Air Dome. That same year, Furler co-founded Inpop Records with Wes Campbell as an independent contemporary Christian music record label.

Newsboys were on the move in the 2000s, which included a headlining tour called Festival Con Dios with two other CCM acts: The O.C. Supertones and Audio Adrenaline and also released their first greatest hits album Shine: The Hits in 2000. The band returned in 2002 with Thrive featuring their No. 1 praise and worship driven "It Is You" and another No. 1 hit "Million Pieces (Kissing Your Cares Goodbye)." Newsboys recorded the song "In the Belly of the Whale" for the closing credits of the 2002 film Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie. Newsboys released two worship themed albums Adoration: The Worship Album in 2003 and Devotion in 2004. Jody Davis left the band temporarily and was replaced by Bryan Olesen on guitar.

Their next release GO was released in 2006 and is the only album to feature British-Australian singer Paul Colman and the last album with Phil Joel as a member until 2019's United. Their second greatest hits album The Greatest Hits was released in 2007. That same year, the band's co-founder George Perdikis renounced Christianity and declared himself an atheist. He had not been involved with the band for seventeen years, nor was he in any way involved with their commercially and critically successful singles or albums. In 2009, Colman left the band to return to his solo projects and saw the return of Jody Davis after a five-year hiatus. Fuler announced that after more than a decade as lead singer of Newsboys, he will take a step back in a supporting role and would continue as the band's songwriter and producer. Because of this, a replacement lead vocalist was required so that the band could continue touring. On March 9, 2009, it was announced that Michael Tait, formerly of DC Talk, would be the new lead singer. Before that, Newsboys released In the Hands of God on InPop Records with Max Hsu of Superchick producing. Long-time collaborator Steve Taylor co-wrote all the songs and sang on one song. During their concert on September 11, 2009 in Orlando, Florida, Furler announced that this would be his final guest appearance with the band.

Newsboys released Born Again on July 13, 2010 featuring Michael Tait as the new lead singer. The album debuted and peaked at number 4 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, their highest charting album to date. More than a year later, they released God's Not Dead, in 2013, Restart and in 2014, Hallelujah for the Cross. Love Riot was released in 2016 and a tour followed. The band also appeared in the 2016 Christian film God's Not Dead 2. The next album, United, featured the return of Peter Furler and Phil Joel, and both participated on the tour with current lead singer Tait. Newsboys released Stand in 2021. In 2023, Adam Agee, formerly of Stellar Kart and Audio Adrenaline, joined Newsboys as a fifth member and, in March, released a new digital single "He Lives" featuring Agee.

More information on Newsboys at Wikipedia:


John James era (1987 -1996):

Peter Furler era (1998 -2009):

Michael Tait era (2010 -present):

Christmas! A Newsboys Holiday EP (2010)

God's Not Dead (2011)

Restart (2013)

Hallelujah for the Cross (2014)

Love Riot (2016)

United (2019)

Stand (2021)

Compilation, live and remix albums:

Live in Concert: God's Not Dead (2012)

God's Not Dead: The Greatest Hits of the Newsboys (2016)

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