A lot of Christians including myself are in mourning. One of the greatest of all musicians has died, Dana Key. He was a guitar player, songwriter, singer, band leader, preacher, and someone who was totally sold out to Christ.
I saw Degarmo & Key in concert more than any other band or artist and they rocked.
The first time I saw D&K was in Tulsa at the ORU Mabee center and they were recording their first live album. I watched Dana Key play as if Eric Clapton had become a Christian. Every time D&K performed they rocked, but more than that, their passion for Christ was out there.
They preached but weren’t preachy. After most of the concerts I saw, Dana would come out, sit on the edge of the stage and just talk about each person’s need to know Christ. Dana’s Memphis tinged blues/rock and smoky voice hit you in the heart. You were drawn into Christ as if you couldn’t resist.
This Time Thru; 1978
I was in college when the first D&K album, “This Time Thru” came out. I saw the album and the cover caught my attention and then the name of the band was intriguing. A great album and the song “Emmanuel” has been a 30-plus year favorite of mine. I still have it on vinyl.
D&K were the first Christians to be rejected by MTV. Their video of the “666” was too scary because supposedly the flames behind the devil character that seemed to all but engulf the guy. They redid that part of the video ( http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Z7Cdxl4INfw ).
Dana Key was passionate about Christ. Read this article and hear what Toby Mac, Todd Agnew and others had to say about Dana – http://blog.christianitytoday.com/ctentertainment/2010/06/rip-dana-key-1.html. Even his solo albums, were all about Jesus.
In the last years that D&K toured together, they brought Francis Schaefer along and promoted the NIV Student Bible. They worked hard to get people into the Word. I suppose that’s why he became a pastor of TLC church in Cordova, TN.
I love all their songs. But I believe one song in particular is the definitive song expressing exactly who Dana was. Casual Christian. “I don’t wanna be, I don’t wanna be a casual Christian. I don’t wanna live, I don’t wanna live a lukewarm life. Cause I wanna light up the night with an everlasting light. I don’t wanna live a casual Christian life.”
I thank God for Dana Key, his faith and his passion. He has affected my faith as much as any person.
PS: Todd Agnew’s tribute to Dana Key, http://toddagnew.com/2010/06/07/one-step-closer-the-passing-of-dana-key/