Christian Music Artists Of The 1980s: By the Numbers

by : Nate Ohman

Times have sure changed in the Christian music scene. With new artists like Brandon Heath, Rush of Fools, and Lincoln Brewster topping the Christian Adult Contemporary charts recently, it may be easy to forget artists like 2nd Chapter of Acts, White Heart, and Leslie Phillips. In an effort to keep the past alive, here is an objective look back at the Christian music artists of the 1980’s.

Using CCM magazine’s Adult Contemporary Airplay charts, data was collected for every song charted by every artist during the decade. The following formula was used:

1. Points were earned for each song’s peak position (#1 = 40 points, #2 = 39 etc.).

2. One point was awarded for each week a song was on the chart.

3. Finally, one point was given for each week a song was at #1.

To get the artist rankings, the total points that each song earned were added together.

Of the 254 artists whose songs made the charts in the 1980’s, Amy Grant came out on top. Fueled by 21 top tens (5 of which went to #1), Grant ended the decade with 1488 points. The Imperials charted 25 songs during the 80’s and finished in second place. Sandi Patty’s five #1 songs helped position her in third. Twila Paris reached the top spot 6 times during the decade, placing her fourth. To the surprise of some, Wayne Watson came in fifth place. Michael Card edged out Michael W. Smith by a point for the #6 spot. Dallas Holm came in eighth. Steve Camp, whose song “He Covers Me" was the top song of 1987, finished the decade in ninth. Petra, with their five #1’s, rounded out the top ten.

Go to to view the top 100 artists of the 1980’s and the top songs of each year.