Tuesday, July 15, 2008

15 July 2008: D

From time to time I miss a few things, and I'm about a week late with this one.

Delirious last week announced they're finishing at the end of 2009.

For those who don't know, they're a Christian rock band based in Littlehampton on the south coast of rainy ol' England, and since going full-time in 1996 (I still have the insert in a Cutting Edge CD saying "New for '96! The Cutting Edge band are now Deliriou5?") they've produced a wide-ranging set of albums, some of which did pretty well on the mainstream chart (highest UK singles chart position of 16, highest UK album chart position of 13), some of which was overtly worship-based music that was generally regarded as being their "better stuff". While they did a great deal to raise the profile of Christian music in the UK - and raise the vision of those wishing to make an impact in that country - their biggest success can be seen over here in the US.

Not just because the Christian music industry is bigger here, either. In fact, if you look at what the 'mainstream' Christian music stations over here have been playing over the last ten years, there's a noticeable shift. Ten and fifteen years ago it was dominated by songs you listened to: Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, the Newsboys, DC Talk. Then along came Delirious and suddenly "I could sing of your love forever" was on the radio as well as in the churches. Maybe it's coincidence, but it was almost exactly the same time that Delirious became big in the Christian music sub-culture over here that that same sub-culture itself began to shift from "stuff you listen to" to "stuff you sing". By 2002, Michael W Smith, Rebecca St James, Third Day, the Newsboys and even Amy Grant were busily producing worship albums rather than straight CCM songs. Hillsong became not only played on CCM radio but also had their songs covered by CCM artists. Chris Tomlin and Matt Redman became radio favourites and indeed still are. And all that without mentioning Audio Adrenaline, SonicFlood and the rest.

So whether that's the biggest legacy of Delirious, or if their impact in the UK is more important, I don't know. Last time I saw them was the re-opening of Central Hall in Southampton, which was incidentally the first place I saw them, back in 1994 when 'Cutting Edge' started up. A lot has changed in that time (Martin's hair was one of the first things to change), but it's a little sad to hear they're closing this chapter.

Meantime I'd better start checking out the tour dates in 2009 before it's all over.