Rock for the Ages – The Kenny Marks Edition.

Born of Yugoslavian parents and raised in Detroit, Kenny Marks can probably be best described as the “Bryan Adams” of Contemporary Christian Music. Or maybe it is that Bryan Adams is best described as the Kenny Marks of pop music. Both had similar pop styles driven by guitars and lyrics that focused on emotions and connecting with people – what Marks calls the “horizontal connection” of being a Christian.

Marks used that connection to write songs that were both popular and caused many to pause and think. Of these songs, his trilogy of songs on “Frankie and Johnny” could be his best works.

The three songs focus on a fictitious teenaged couple who meet at a party (“The Party’s Over” from the 1985 album “Attitude’) who take their passion to the back seat of a car resulting in an unwanted pregnancy and a child. Their actions end their free and frolicking teenage years as the reality of raising a child and marriage set in. That reality is the subject of “Another Friday Night” from the 1987 album “Make It Right.” The trilogy ends with Johnny having left Frankie and their son, and with the young child teaching his mother the true meaning of love and forgiveness in the song “Next Time You See Johnny.” The trilogy handles a sensitive subject with insight, realism and without condemnation. It is truly a great set of songs.

Marks has 5 “principles” of music, all of which are true for Christian artists:

Entertain – Music should be enjoyable…something that is capable of pleasing a wide spectrum of people.

Encourage – Music should lift the spirit and encourage people in their lives.

Enlighten – Music should ‘open doors & windows’ in people’s hearts, minds, and spirits.

Enhance – Music should build up the work of the Church.

Enlist – Music should draw others to become involved in the work of the Gospel worldwide.

After a massive heart attack, Marks has recovered and continues to live a life of singing, preaching and teaching.

We, however, will always remember him as one of the great musicians of Contemporary Christian Music.

So without further delay, please enjoy the following two songs from Kenny Marks:

Next Time You See Johnny:

Running On Love:

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