Rock bands thrive on 2010 Christian album chart

Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:38pm EST
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By Deborah Evans Price

NASHVILLE (Billboard) - Rock 'n' roll may be suffering in the mainstream arena -- only one rock release is competing for the album of the year Grammy -- but rock acts are doing better on the Christian charts.

Casting Crowns claimed the No. 1 spot on Billboard's year-end Christian Albums recap with its 2009 release, "Until the Whole World Hears." This is the fourth year the Georgia-based band has led the annual tally.

The remainder of the top 10 is dominated by such rock acts as Skillet, which takes the No. 2 spot with "Awake"; funk rock pioneer tobyMac at No. 4 with "Tonight"; Flyleaf at No. 5 with "Memento Mori"; Switchfoot at No. 7 with "Hello Hurricane"; and Kutless with its worshipful "It Is Well" at No. 9.

Skillet has had a banner year. "Awake" has remained on the Billboard 200 for more than 64 weeks. Only 14 other acts have been on the chart longer, among them Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. Its single "Hero" was used on "Sunday Night Football," in NFL Kickoff Weekend promos, and for ESPN's college sports coverage.

The Newsboys enjoyed a career rebirth this year with their appropriately titled 15th album, "Born Again." This marked the first Newsboys album with Michael Tait as lead vocalist. Tait, formerly with pioneering rap/rock trio dc Talk, joined the band when longtime frontman Peter Furler exited in 2009. Relentless touring helped endear the new lineup to fans and "Born Again" finished at No. 12 on the Christian Albums recap.