Sentimental Saturdays (Newsboys)

newsboys- peter furler

newsboys- michael tait

I wonder where you all were when Peter Furler, longtime member of possibly one of Christian music’s most famous bands ever, announced that he was stepping away from being the front-man of the Newsboys. I know where I was- in front of my computer, staring at the words, as if, at the time, everything else didn’t matter except for the news that was right in front of me. There was a moment where I thought I would never buy a Newsboys album again. Not because I knew that Michael Tait wasn’t a worthy replacement, but rather it was because the Newsboys that was going to be; may not have been the Newsboys I had grown to love when Peter was front man.

Michael Tait brings a different energy to Newsboys, one that showcases more of their rock/dance sound. Gone are the days of songs like ‘Breakfast’, ‘Shine’, ‘I’m Not Ashamed’, ‘Entertaining Angels’, ‘Love Liberty Disco’, even songs like ‘Glorious’, ‘Stay Strong’, ‘Wherever We Go’ and ‘In the Hands of God’ from their set lists- which is quite a shame. And with only ‘Something Beautiful’ and ‘He Reigns’ being the sole representatives of the Peter Furler era being sung in their concerts currently; we as a site dedicate this Sentimental Saturdays post to reflect upon the journey of the Newsboys, as we appreciate how much Peter Furler was a blessing and a powerful songwriter when he was in the band.

This is not a post to say that Peter Furler and his new solo material are much better than the current Newsboys now. Michael Tait has relaunched the band, and they now have as much energy as previously. Yet somehow when I look at the Newsboys now and compare them back to when they were predominantly Australian, I smile and be appreciative that in fact I was a part of the time when Peter Furler was around. There is a difference when it comes to growing up with a band and listening to their music as lead singers change, compared to that of just listening to the band after the change, and then going back to listen to what you have missed out on.

The Newsboys now is great. The Newsboys before was great too. Yet I have felt that too many bands, with a change of personnel, want to badly change their sound. And maybe that’s ok. Michael I’m sure can’t necessarily sing all Peter Furler tracks- he has to have his own repertoire of tracks to sing from. But wouldn’t it be great if for one night in the future, they have a Newsboys concert totally dedicated to old school Newsboys. Frankly, I do miss songs like “It is You”, “Million Pieces”, “Joy”, “I Am Free”, and other energetic tracks, sung (or rather not sung) at live shows, or on the radio.

This is not a Newsboys bashing session. If you want that, then check out youtube or facebook to see advocates of both Peter and Michael hating on each other. No, this is more of an appreciation post, to notice the efforts of Newsboys, regardless who fronts the band, to society as a whole. It was the Newsboys’ albums, namely Thrive, Love Liberty Disco, Step Up to the Microphone, Devotion, Go and Adoration that solidified my faith throughout my late teenage years. And while it is great to see Peter Furler doing his own solo thing, it is still not the same. Maybe a combined Newsboys/Peter Furler Band tour in the future?

Newsboys have been busy for a while, and with the release of their new hymns album Hallelujah to the Cross in November 2014, this band is certainly not going to go anywhere. With 3 albums, 1 EP and a live project under his belt, Michael’s role as lead singer of the Newsboys is certainly cemented. Regardless of people’s views of Michael being in the band, and Peter leaving; the fact remains- Newsboys will still be one of my favourite bands, and, alongside Steven Curtis Chapman, Tim Hughes, Delirious?, Rebecca St. James, Steve Grace and Carman; have influenced my spiritual life throughout my teenage years the most.

What do you think of the current incarnation of the Newsboys? Would you pay money to see a tour of Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline, Abandon, Kevin Max, TobyMac, Paul Colman and Peter Furler (Gee, that’ll cost a lot!)? What is your favourite Newsboys song ever? Do you miss songs like “Breakfast”, “Shine”, “Entertaining Angels” and “Joy”; and wish that Michael would sing them once in a while? Let us know in the comments.

8 thoughts on “Sentimental Saturdays (Newsboys)”

  1. I actually heard Something Beautiful for the first time this week after I checked Josh’s twitter page. He tweeted it as the lyric of the day so I decided to check it out and it was playing non stop in my music playlist and then He Reigns came to my mind. I played the two songs together and then, I thought of Peter Furler. I first heard about him when I listened to I’m Alive from the Reach album. He’s so talented. I checked for his other songs not knowing that he was a former member of the NewsBoys family. When I knew, I checked the current songs from NewsBoys and saw the dispute between Michael’s fans and Peter’s fans on YouTube. I will admit I got discouraged in a kind of way to listen to them but now I so love them. The comments made about Michael were so bad, many said he was going to bring his DcTalk style to Newsboys. I think I like his style, that is not to say Peter Furler’s is bad but they both have different ways of making their music enjoyable. I don’t remember you guys reviewing Peter’s new album Sun and Shield; I love Yeshua and Dare I say.

    Thank you for this review Jon and thanks to Josh, I checked out NewsBoys 2006 Go album on Thursday. I can’t wait for the Hymns album coming out later this year.

  2. Great post Jonathan. I miss Peter being in the Newsboys, and though I loved the God’s not Dead album, the new album, Restart, was a big let down for me. It just sounded too produced, but I love Peter’s new stuff.
    The Newsboys were the first ever Christian band I loved, and I still do, even if they now play stuff that isn’t really my taste.
    I completely agree that the Newsboys should have a night to only play the old stuff, because the Take Me Back To Your Leader era was their best.
    My top favourite song, of not only the Newsboys, but of all time, is Entertaining Angels, taken from my favourite album, Step Up to the Microphone. That album had so many good songs on it.
    And, I didn’t know they were releasing a hymn record, that’s pretty amazing. I wonder if they’ll change things up, or stick to the original formula. Either way, it’s quite exciting.

    1. Glad you liked the post Luc.

      Pity you didn’t enjoy Restart- I thought it was pretty good, but yeah I guess that’s my tastes… Overall I like Restart and Born Again equally then God’s Not Dead and then the live album (out of the Michael Tait led albums). Anyway, yeah I miss Peter in the band, however I’m not one of those people who boycotts the band if the lead singer leaves. In fact I think Michael has done an admirable job taking over the reins as lead singer.

      The Hymns album “Hallelujah For The Cross” releases on November 4th- http://www.louderthanthemusic.com/document.php?id=4503- as you can see from the tracklist they’re even rerecording the 1992 hit Where You Belong/Turn Your Eyes that John James sung (from the album Not Ashamed)!

  3. Oh my, I must have missed it. I will check it out straightaway. And thank you Jon for the album release date info. I will mark on my calendar. :)

  4. I had never heard of the Newsboys until after Peter left the band, but the first song I heard by them was, surprisingly, a Peter Furler song-He Reigns. I like some of the Michael Tait songs, but most of them I just don’t care for. It’s the complete opposite with Peter’s songs, I’m actually still discovering most of them and almost all of the ones I hear, I really like.
    I think an “oldies night” is a really great idea and hope someday the Newsboys put that into practice! It’s really a shame that they don’t sing (and the radio stations don’t play) the older songs, because they’re all great! The only ones I really hear nowadays are He Reigns and You Are My King. Occasionally Shine or Wherever We Go or one of those will play, but rarely.
    *Sunny

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