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1970s Contemporary Christian Musician Barry McGuire Still Mi
1970s Contemporary Christian Musician Barry McGuire Still Ministering at Age 76
by Dan Wooding, ASSIST News Service
In a recent interview, McGuire shared with me how over a ten year period from '65 to '75, he lost 16 of his personal friends to drugs, alcohol and suicide. Some of them were world famous super stars such as Mama Cass Elliot, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison of The Doors.
But it all changed when, back in 1971, he surrendered his life to Christ and then in 1973 married Mari McInnes, a beautiful young lady from New Zealand.
McGuire, who was the lead singer with the New Christy Minstrels and played the male lead role in the classic Broadway hit HAIR opposite Diane Keaton, has been at the pinnacle of success… and has seen the depths of despair.
In the early 70s, Barry introduced the 2nd Chapter of Acts to Christian audiences throughout the world, and he wrote a string of Christian musical hits like Cosmic Cowboy, Bullfrogs And Butterflies, Communion Song, Love Is and Happy Road, and has continued his new career as “A Balladeer for Christ.”
Barry was again back in action at the UPPER ROOM Christian coffee house in Mission Viejo, California which took place on Saturday, January 21, 2012, where he sang some of his hits from the Sixties including Eve of Destruction and Green, Green, that he helped make famous with The New Christy Minstrels. He also sang Bob Dylan’s hit, Mr. Tambourine Man.
In a 90-minute set, he then went on to share his testimony of his conversion to Christ and also performed several of his Christian songs.
McGuire, a master performer and story teller, had the audience on the edge of their seats as he recounted some of the early stories from his career, such as how he came to record Eve of Destruction, a song written by P.F. Sloan in 1965.
He also told the story of the night he was at the Whisky A Go-Go club, a landmark on the Sunset Strip since its opening in 1964, and as he came out he saw a hippie sitting on the sidewalk and asked him, “What happening?” McGuire said that, “He just looked at me and just said, ‘Jesus.’” He told the crowd, “That was like a harpoon to my soul.”
That started him on a spiritual search and he said that one day he was smoking “grass” at a friend’s house and he came across a copy of Good News For Modern Man, a modern translation of the Bible. He said he realized that he could do with some “good news in my life” and began reading it.
He caused great laughter when he said, “At first, I said to myself, ‘Those Jesus Freaks. They’re disguising the Bible,” but he eventually began reading it seriously.
As he dug deeper into the ancient Scriptures, he went to visit his uncle who was a Christian man, to find out more about Christ and it was shortly after this that he made the greatest decision of his life, and surrendered himself into Jesus.
The special evening was organized by Ron Strand of the UPPER ROOM, a Christian “coffeehouse” outreach which is a self-funded and donor-based, independent ministry which was started by Strand in 2009.
“The name comes from a biblical reference found in the book of Acts, where the disciples had gathered after Jesus resurrection,” explained Strand who was once on staff at Calvary Chapel of Whittier in the 70’s and last August put on an event called A Look at The Jesus Movement. That event was held at Concordia University and featured notables from the Jesus People days in Southern California such as Barry McGuire, Andrae Crouch, Chuck Girard, Karen Lafferty as well as speakers, Mike MacIntosh and Tom Stipe.
When asked why he had invited Barry McGuire to put on this special concert, Ron Strand said, “As I think back on the impact of the Jesus Movement over the past 40 years, Barry McGuire is probably one of the most influential individuals who came to Christ out of that era. Certainly, his celebrity background is significant, but more important is that God has used him over the past 40 plus years to share the message of the Gospel to a wide array of individuals all over the world; individuals that perhaps others in the Church would not have been able to reach as easily.
“He’s a masterful storyteller and has a gift to present the gospel in a manner that is both straight-forward and yet non-condemnatory. I also like Barry because he is a very gregarious and infectious personality. He’s one of the nicest guys you can meet.”
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