John Fischer (Christian musician)

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John (Walter) Fischer (born 1947) is a Christian author, singer, songwriter, and speaker. He is one of the credited founders of Jesus music and was a Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com.

Personal[edit]

John Fischer was born in Pasadena, California in 1947. He graduated from Wheaton College in 1969. He studied for the Christian ministry at the Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California under Ray Stedman.[1][2]

He released his first Christian album The Cold Cathedral in 1969 (a few months before Larry Norman's Upon This Rock). This is considered the first American contemporary Christian album. Fischer indicates on his website:

To this day, I still don't know how it happened. I got a phone call from this catholic recording company. They'd heard I was writing contemporary religious music and would I send them a tape. I went on to record these songs in Chicago immediately upon graduating from Wheaton College in June 1969. The Catholics were eager to fill a demand for contemporary music that was coming from the growing popularity of folk masses around the country--a kind of precursor to the Jesus movement. The producer and musicians on this album were all from the Old Towne School of Folk Music in Chicago. With this release in the fall of '69, I think I beat Larry Norman's "Upon This Rock" by about three months. On some lists, this is the first American contemporary Christian album. Jonathan and Charles beat us all in England.[3]

His third album, Still Life, contains the now-classic track "All Day Song (Love Him in the Morning)" (which has been covered by many people including Debby Kerner & Ernie Rettino). It was engineered by Keith Olsen while he was also working on the Buckingham Nicks album by Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham, at the same time.

Discography[edit]

F.E.L. Publications[edit]

These releases were on the F.E.L. Publications label.

The Cold Cathedral (1969)[edit]

Words and Music by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

Produced by Ray Tate
Arranged by Ray Tate and Al Porth
  1. "The Cold Cathedral"
  2. "The Road of Life"
  3. "See the Lilies"
  4. "Born to Die"
  5. "Open Up"
  6. "Got To Shout About It" (words by John Fischer, music by Richard Murphy)
  7. "Alleluia"
  8. "Lamentations"
  9. "Look All Around You"
  10. "Hard Feeling to Explain"
  11. "No Vacancy"
  12. "The Lord's Prayer"

Have You Seen Jesus My Lord? (1970)[edit]

Words and Music by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

Produced by James E. Schaefer
Arranged by Clark Gassman
  1. "Jesus My Lord"
  2. "Jesus Is My Song"
  3. "Way of All Flesh"
  4. "Jesus in Me"
  5. "The Word" (keyboards by Larry Knechtel)
  6. "Salvation Song"
  7. "Sons of Cain"
  8. "Love" (words by Kristina Linder, music by Bing Stolzenburg and John Fischer)
  9. "Light"
  10. "Trust and Obey" (original words by John H. Sammis, original music by Daniel B. Towner)
  11. "Death Is Swallowed Up" (Words by John Fischer, Music by Saint-Saëns)

Light Records[edit]

These releases were on the Light Records label.

Still Life (1974)[edit]

All songs written by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

Produced by John Fischer and Dan Collins
Arranged by Clark Gassman
Engineered by Keith Olsen
  1. "Still Life"
  2. "Open Your Heart"
  3. "Simple Pleasures"
  4. "Setting of the Sun"
  5. "I'm Human"
  6. "Matthew's Blues"
  7. "Brightest and Best" (words by Reginald Heber, music by John Fischer)
  8. "All Day Song (Love Him in the Morning)"
  9. "We Are All Together"
  10. "Rest In Him"

The New Covenant (A Musical) (1974)[edit]

All songs written by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

Produced by John Fischer and Dan Collins
Arranged by Clark Gassman
  1. "Let It Be Free"
  2. "What Has Gone Wrong"
  3. "Evangelical Veil Productions"
  4. "Ways and Means" (words and music by Dale Annis)
  5. "Alleluia"
  6. "The Way of Peace"
  7. "I'm a Vessel"
  8. "We All Get Hurt" (words and music by Dale Annis)
  9. "We Have Died"
  10. "Rest In Him"
  11. "Alleluia (Reprise)"

Naphtali (1976)[edit]

All songs written by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

Produced by Dan Collins
Arranged by Clark Gassman
  1. "Naphtali" (based on Genesis 49:21)
  2. "We Are His Workmanship" (based on Ephesians 2:10)
  3. "Don't Veil the Door"
  4. "Work Out the Life" (based on Philippians 2:12-15)
  5. "Naphtali Arise"
  6. "Angel's Song"
  7. "Mary and Joseph" (words and music by Pam Mark Hall)
  8. "Song for the Good Times"
  9. "Live in the Power"
  10. "Arise My Beloved" (based on Song of Solomon 2:10-12)

Inside (1977)[edit]

All songs written by John Fischer.

Produced by Dan Collins
String arrangements by Jim Stipech
  1. "Inside"
  2. "I've Been Hiding" (additional guitars by Phil Keaggy)
  3. "Tunnel of Trial" (additional vocals by Nellie Ward and Jamie Owens-Collins)
  4. "A New Day"
  5. "The Sanctuary"
  6. "Two Years"
  7. "Master Potter"
  8. "Righteous Man"
  9. "With Him"
  10. "The Lamp"

Johnny's Cafe (1979)[edit]

Johnny's Cafe (1979) LS-5757. All songs written by John Fischer.

Produced by Dan Collins
Arranged by Clark Gassman
Engineered by Jack Joseph Puig
Drums by David Kemper
Saxophones by Don Menza
Additional guitars by Rick Vito
  1. "Johnny's Cafe"
  2. "One Lane Road"
  3. "Nothin' in this World"
  4. "Circle of Blessing"
  5. "Talking Faces"
  6. "Pawn in the Game"
  7. "Right On Time"
  8. "Hard Line"
  9. "Blessed Is the Man"
  10. "Midnight on Main Street"

Self Portrait (1985)[edit]

Self Portrait (1985) LS-5865. Mastered by Steve Hall. A Light Records "Best of" compilation featuring tracks from Inside, Still Life, Naphtali, and Johnny's Cafe. All songs written by John Fischer:

  1. "Righteous Man"
  2. "All Day Song"
  3. "We Are His Workmanship"
  4. "Johnny's Cafe"
  5. "Still Life"
  6. "Angel's Song"
  7. "Blessed"
  8. "Inside"
  9. "Arise, My Beloved"

Myrrh Records / Word Records[edit]

These releases were on the Myrrh Records / Word Records label.

Dark Horse (1982)[edit]

Dark Horse (1982) 701-6713-385 (MSB 6713). All songs written by John Fischer.

Produced and engineered by Jack Joseph Puig
Arranged by John Hobbs
  1. "Dark Horse"
  2. "Beggar"
  3. "Only a Few"
  4. "Falling in Love (With My Wife)"
  5. "Christopher's Toes"
  6. "Nobody Wants to Die"
  7. "Losing is Winning" (with additional vocals by Leslie "Sam" Phillips)
  8. "Roses On Wednesday"
  9. "Looking Straight On"
  10. "Leaving It All to You"
Valualbum (1982)[edit]

Some copies of Dark Horse came with a bonus LP titles Valualbum, a various artist promo LP. This is one of the only compilation albums that John Fischer ever appeared on. Featuring the songs:

  1. "Lean On Him" by Kenny Marks written by Keith Thomas
  2. "Bethlehem Morning" by Morris Chapman written by Morris Chapman
  3. "Cover Me" by Andrew Culverwell written by Andrew Culverwell
  4. "Dark Horse" by John Fischer written by John Fischer
  5. "Dreamer's Dream" by Pete Carlson written by Pete & Cindy Carlson
  6. "Farther and Higher" by Steve Camp written by Keith Thomas
  7. "The Best" by Dion DiMucci written by John Fowler
  8. "Cornerstone" by Leon Patillo written by Leon Patillo
  9. "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" by Amy Grant written by Richard Mullins
  10. "I Was Made to Love You" by Maria Muldaur written by Stevie Wonder and Syretta Wright
  11. "They Would Love Him Down In Shreveport" by Mercy River Boys written by Bobby Braddock

Between the Answers (1985)[edit]

Between the Answers (1985) 701-6788-385. All songs written by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

Produced by Dan Russell, Victor LeComer, and John Fischer
Arranged by Dan Russell and Victor LeComer
  1. "Rejoice!"
  2. "Lord of the Dance" (words by Sydney Carter, music from the Shaker folk song "Simple Gifts" by Joseph Brackett)
  3. "Move On It" (words by John Fischer, music by John Fischer and Dan Russell)
  4. "Heartbeat" (words by John Fischer and Dan Cunningham, music by John Fischer, Dan Cunningham and Dan Russell)
  5. "It's Still Life"
  6. "Between the Answers" (words and music by John Fischer and Dan Cunningham)
  7. "Every Tear" (words by John Fischer, music by Dan Russell)
  8. "Long Way Back" (words by John Fischer, music by John Fischer and Dan Russell)
  9. "All We Need"

Casual Crimes (1986)[edit]

Casual Crimes (1986) 701-6833-380. All songs written by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

Produced by Dan Russell and Victor LeComer
Arranged by Dan Russell and Victor LeComer
  1. "Time for You" (additional acoustic guitar by Phil Keaggy)
  2. "All Fall Down" (words and music by John Fischer and Dan Russell)
  3. "I Will Still Love You" (words by John Fischer, music by John Fischer, Dan Russell and Victor LeComer)
  4. "A Changed Man"
  5. "Everything Matters" (words and music by John Fischer and Dan Russell)
  6. "Dance!" (words and music by John Fischer and Dan Russell) (additional vocals by Michael W. Smith)
  7. "24 Green Street"
  8. "For a Good Man"
  9. "We Have Won This War" (words and music by John Fischer, Dan Russell, and Joel Russell)
  10. "Until Then" (words and music by Dan Russell)

Urgent Records[edit]

Wide Angle (1992)[edit]

All songs written by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

Produced and Engineered by Mark Heard
  1. "Wide Angle" (words and music by John Fischer and Rob Frazier)
  2. "Too Many Preachers"
  3. "The Only Way"
  4. "It All Comes Down To This"
  5. "A Witness"
  6. "O Rocker" (words by Marti Fischer, music by John Fischer)
  7. "Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt"
  8. "Cup of Cold Water" (background vocals by Julie Miller)
  9. "Where Did They Go?"
  10. "By My Spirit"
  11. "Down to the Water"
  12. "Not the Only One"

Silent Planet Records[edit]

Some Folks' World (1999)[edit]

Some Folks' World (SPR-0601) is a re-release of Wide Angle with three new tracks. All songs written by John Fischer unless otherwise noted.

New tracks Produced by David Miner
  1. "Some Folks' World" (new song) (words and music by Mark Heard)
  2. "Wide Angle" (words and music by John Fischer and Rob Frazier)
  1. "Down to the Water"
  2. "Vanquard" (new song)
  3. "Pass It Around" (new song)
  4. "Too Many Preachers"
  5. "The Only Way"
  6. "It All Comes Down To This"
  7. "A Witness"
  8. "O Rocker" (words by Marti Fischer, music by John Fischer)
  9. "Not the Only One"
  10. "Cup of Cold Water" (background vocals by Julie Miller)
  11. "Where Did They Go?"
  12. "By My Spirit"
  13. "Beyond the Shadow of a Doubt"

Exploration Films[edit]

First Love (1998)[edit]

  1. "All Day Song"
  2. "Jesus Loves Even Me"

Selected bibliography[edit]

Fiction[edit]

  • Dark Horse (1983, Multnomah Press)
Companion to his album of the same name released the previous year.
  • Saint Ben (1993, Bethany House Publishers)
  • The Saints' and Angels' Song (1994, Bethany House Publishers)
  • Ashes On The Wind (1999, Bethany House Publishers)

Non-fiction[edit]

  • Real Christians Dance (1988, Bethany House Publishers
  • True Believers Ask Why (1989, Bethany House Publishers)
  • Making Real What I Already Believe (1991, Bethany House Publishers)
  • 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (Like Me) (2000, Bethany House Publishers)
  • On A Hill Too Far Away (1994, Servant Publishers) (re-released by Bethany House Publishers in 2001)
  • Be Thou My Vision (1995, Servant Publishers)
  • What On Earth Are We Doing? - (1997, Servant Publishers)
  • Fearless Faith (2002, Harvest House)
  • "Confessions of a Caffeinated Christian: Wide awake and not alone" (2005, Tyndale)

Magazines, pamphlets, and websites[edit]

  • A Single Person's Identity - (1973, pamphlet, Discovery Publishing)
  • CCM Magazine, regular monthly article contributor since 1996
  • Daily devotionals for PurposeDrivenLife.com

Links and references[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Randall Herbert Balmer, ed., Encyclopedia of Evangelicalism (Baylor University Press): 264
  2. ^ Barry Alfonso, The Billboard Guide to Contemporary Christian Music (2002):164.
  3. ^ The Fischtank: The Cold Cathedral