The band was formed in Mooloolaba, Queensland in 1985 by two young men: Peter Furler and his school mate George Perdikis. Two other teens were added soon after: Furler’s best friend, John James, and bassist Sean Taylor. The band’s original name was The News, but once in the U.S. they changed it to The Newsboys to avoid conflict with the U.S.-based band Huey Lewis and the News. The band came to the United States in late 1987 and released the album Read All About It in 1988 in the United States.
It wasn’t until their 1992 album, Not Ashamed, that the band gained notice in the Christian music scene. Furler remained the band’s primary songwriter and beginning with this album began sharing lead vocal duties with James and continued to do so until James’ departure.
In 1994, amidst continued lineup changes, the band released Going Public, their fifth album and first real success. The record proved to be a watershed for the group, winning a 1995 Dove Award for ‘Rock Album of the Year’. It also produced three No. 1 hits: ‘Spirit Thing’, ‘Let It Rain’, and, most notably, ‘Shine’.
The 1996 follow-up album Take Me to Your Leader was recorded with an expanded line up with new additions Phil Joel and Jeff Frankenstein. The album produced more No. 1 hits: ‘God Is Not a Secret’, ‘Reality’, ‘Breakfast’, and the title track. This album spawned the Newsboys only movie Down Under the Big Top (1996), which was based on the song ‘Reality’.
In 2000, Newsboys released a greatest hits compilation, Shine: The Hits, After this album, the band did not release any new material until the 2002 release of Thrive. Also in 2002, The Newsboys recorded the track ‘In the Belly of a Whale’ for the end credits of the 2002 Veggie Tales movie Jonah: A VeggieTales Movie.
The Newsboys then followed with two praise and worship albums: Adoration: The Worship Album in 2003 and Devotion in 2004. In 2005, The Newsboys co-authored a book of devotions with Jim Laffoon entitled Our Daily Blog which was published by Inspiro and released on 1 November.
More radio hits came in 2006 with a live version of ‘I Am Free’ and ‘Wherever We Go’. On 31 October 2006, The Newsboys released a pop/rock record entitled GO. GO featured David Eri as a co-writer and the songs ‘Something Beautiful’ and ‘In Wonder’ were big hits on Christian Radio. That December, Joel announced that he would leave the band to pursue his own projects and albums. On 8 May 2007 the band released GO Remixed which was made up of new versions of the songs from GO and featured remixes by Tedd T., Jeff Frankenstein, Max Hsu of Superchick and Lee Bridges.
On 20 November 2007 the Newsboys released their second greatest hits compilation, The Greatest Hits. The eighteen-song CD also features two new songs ‘I Fought the La…’ and ‘Stay Strong.’ This album was followed by Newsboys Live: Houston We Are GO, a CD/DVD combo recording package of a show from the GO Tour, which was released on 30 September 2008. Also in 2008, the band, with Steve Taylor providing vocals, recorded the song ‘Yo Ho Hero’ for The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything: A VeggieTales Movie.
On 5 January 2009, Colman announced he would be leaving The Newsboys to return to his solo projects. At the same time it was announced that Davis would return to the band, after a 5 year hiatus. “I am thrilled to be returning to the band and back with my bandmates, who are some of my best friends,” says Davis, “this is a big change in my life, and I’m looking forward to the tour and new record with excitement.”
In 2009, it was announced that Furler, having toured with The Newsboys since the band’s inception, had decided to step back into a support role and would continue as the band’s primary songwriter and producer. Because of this, a replacement lead vocalist was required so the band could continue touring. On 9 March 2009, it was announced that Michael Tait, formerly of dc Talk, would be the new lead singer. ‘Michael Tait will be touring with the band as lead singer with Peter making special appearances throughout the year. Peter will continue with the band and his trademark songwriting and production will remain as he focuses his professional career toward future Newsboys recordings.’ On 17 March, Tait performed his first full concert as lead singer in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. During their 11 September concert in Orlando, Furler announced that this would be his final guest appearance with the band.
The Newsboys’ first studio album featuring lead singer Michael Tait, Born Again, was released on 13 July 2010 and debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, their highest debut position, and sold over 45,000 copies in its first week. On 12 October 2010 they released the Christmas album, Christmas! A Newsboys Holiday featuring The Christmas Song by Tait. In 2011, the song ‘City to City’ from GO Remixed was featured in the trailer for the Disney Pixar movie, Cars 2.
Newsboys’ most recent CD, God’s Not Dead, dropped in November 2011. This rock-driven worship album finds front man Michael Tait and his band mates who’ve played together for two decades – Jeff Frankenstein (keys), Duncan Phillips (drums), and Jody Davis (guitar) –with some of today’s most widely church-embraced modern worship anthems as well as several original and never-before-released worship songs. The title song, ‘God’s Not Dead,’ topped the CHR charts for seven weeks in a row.
John James era
- Read All About It (1988)
- Hell Is for Wimps (1990)
- Boys Will Be Boyz (1991)
- Not Ashamed (1992)
- Going Public (1994)
- Take Me to Your Leader (1996)
Peter Furler era
- Step Up to the Microphone (1998)
- Love Liberty Disco (1999)
- Thrive (2002)
- Adoration: The Worship Album (2003)
- Devotion (2004)
- Go (2006)
- In the Hands of God (2009)
Michael Tait era
For a full breakdown of the Newsboy’s journey, click here.