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  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

On Fire! (1988)

Updated: Jan 3

On Fire! is the tenth studio album by the Christian rock band Petra, released in 1988 on Star Song Records. Produced by John and Dino Elefante. This is Petra's final studio album on the Star Song label that they've called home since 1979.

This is the first album to feature new bass guitar player Ronny Cates, who replaced Mark Kelly after being with the group since 1981. Cates would remain with Petra until 1995. With his addition to the line-up, the band started their more stable period in terms of line-up. John Schlitt, Bob Hartman, Cates, John Lawry and Louie Weaver would remain together for seven years and six albums.

On Fire!'s lyrics continue their theme of spiritual warfare as heard on their 1987 album This Means War! with metaphors making reference to military subtexts like "Mine Field" and "Defector." The band also tackles issues such as homelessness ("Homeless Few") and other personal and social issues. On Fire! peaked at number 3 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart. Petra was nominated for Group of the Year and Rock Album of the Year for On Fire! at the 20th GMA Dove Awards and in 1990, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group for On Fire! at the 32nd Grammy Awards.

In 1989, Petra released a companion video on VHS called On Fire Video Event. It features five music videos from the On Fire! album: "All Fired Up," "First Love," "Counsel of the Holy," "Mine Field" and "Defector." The video album also serves as a music resource for youth ministry produced by Interl*inc and FirstBorne Productions. In 1990, Petra won their first Dove Award for Best Long Form Music Video for On Fire Video Event at the 21st GMA Dove Awards.

Track listing

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

1. All Fired Up -4:31

2. Hit You Where You Live (Bob Hartman, Billy Smiley, Dino Elefante) -4:22

3. Mine Field -4:29

4. First Love (Bob Hartman, John Elefante) -4:11

5. Defector -4:35

6. Counsel of the Holy (John Lawry, Danny Kingen) -3:38

7. Somebody's Gonna Praise His Name -4:02

8. Open Book -4:01

9. Stand in the Gap -4:33

10. Homeless Few (Bob Hartman, John Lawry) -5:22



Bob Hartman -lead guitar, arrangements

John Schlitt -lead vocals, backing vocals

Ronny Cates -bass guitar

John Lawry -keyboards, computer programming, backing vocals

Louie Weaver -drums


Dove Award - Long Form Music Video of the Year (On Fire Video Event)

Radio singles

1988 "First Love" -#1 Christian CHR, #1 Christian AC

1989 "Homeless Few" -#2 Christian CHR, #7 Christian AC

1989 "Open Book" -#2 Christian CHR, #19 Christian AC

Previous release: This Means War! (1987)

Watch the long form video On Fire Video Event here:

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