CMA advertisers help keep this site free! Learn more

John Schlitt

The Christmas Project The Christmas Project
Fan Rating:
No votes yet
The Greater Cause The Greater Cause
Fan Rating:
No votes yet
The Grafting The Grafting
Fan Rating:
No votes yet
Unfit for Swine Unfit for Swine
Fan Rating:
No votes yet
Shake Shake
Fan Rating:
No votes yet

John Schlitt is listed in the credits for the following albums:


John Schlitt

John Schlitt

John Schlitt  has been a member of:


John William Schlitt (born February 3, 1950 in Lincoln, Illinois) is known for his career as the lead singer of Christian rock band Petra from 1986 until the band's retirement in late 2005. Prior to joining Petra in 1986, Schlitt was the vocalist for Head East.

Early years
John Schlitt was born in Lincoln, Illinois. Shortly after, his family moved to Mt. Pulaski where he grew up. Schlitt began singing and showing interest in music from a very young age. When he was 13 years old, he joined a band called Vinegar Hills Hometown Band Something Different. He went to Mt. Pulaski High School in his hometown graduating in 1968. It was during his high school years that he would meet future wife, Dorla Froelich.

After graduating from high school, Schlitt enrolled in the University of Illinois for a degree in Civil Engineering. However, his main interest was still music. In 1972, he joined the rock band Head East as lead singer with some fellow students of the university. Juggling his musical career and college studies, Schlitt finally graduated from college in 1974 and dedicated full-time to his career in music.

Head-East era and aftermath
During the following years with Head East, Schlitt enjoyed the success of the band that produced several hits during the 70s. They released together four studio and one live album. However, during the time, Schlitt also developed a dependency on cocaine and alcohol. His dependency reached a peak when he retired from the band in March 1980.

After leaving Head East, Schlitt formed a short-lived band, but it quickly vanished as his addiction intensified in a six-month depression during which he "came very close to suicide." During that same period, however, his wife became a born-again Christian, and subsequently convinced Schlitt to see her pastor. Schlitt confesses that he had already decided to end his life and complied only "so my wife would be able to say ‘he tried’ after I was gone".

However, Schlitt also became a born-again Christian and left his addiction to drugs and alcohol. Schlitt decided to leave the music scene and dedicate to his family. After that, he started working in a factory, and slowly rose until becoming a mining engineer and then a cost and scheduling engineer.

Petra era
Five years after leaving the music industry, John received a call from Bob Hartman and was invited to audition for Christian rock band, Petra. The band had just lost its lead singer Greg X. Volz, who had left to pursue a solo career. After a session with Hartman (band's co-founder and guitarist), he was asked to join the band. He sang his first show on February 3, 1986, beginning a career that would span nearly two decades. His first album with the band was the 1986 release Back to the Street.

During his career with Petra, the band released 2 RIAA certified Gold albums (Beyond Belief and Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out) and earned 4 Grammy and numerous Dove Awards. His travels and performances with the group reached all 50 states of America as well as over 35 countries.

Solo career
During breaks from Petra, Schlitt recorded and released two solo albums: Shake in 1995, and Unfit For Swine in 1996. Both albums were moderately successful and received positive reviews.

After Petra's retirement in 2005, Schlitt and Petra guitarist and founder, Bob Hartman started working on an album together as II Guys From Petra. The album was released on January 26, 2007 titled Vertical Expressions. Hartman and Schlitt have performed several shows to promote the album.

In addition, Schlitt released his third solo project, titled The Grafting on 2008-01-22. Dan Needham, Schlitt's son-in-law, produced the album. The album was released with premier performances of the tracks "The Grafting" and "Only Men" by Schlitt on the program, Celebrations. The telecast was aired internationally by the Daystar Television Network. In May 2008, John Schlitt toured India, playing eight dates in six cities with an all-new backing band, StoneJava. With this new backing group, John played songs from his solo CDs, along with many Petra favorites, to positive reviews.

John Schlitt has earned multiple Gold Records, Grammys and Dove Awards. He has toured all over the world and has been inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame as the lead singer of Petra. John Schlitt was recently named the best rock singer in Christian music history by GospelMusicChannel.com. According to the website, John Schlitt "remains one of the most distinctive and impactful men to ever stand behind a microphone."

Personal life
Schlitt has been married to wife Dorla since August 28, 1971. They have four children together and reside in Franklin, TN

John Schlitt. (2012, July 21). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:06, September 3, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Schlitt&oldid=503448588

April 22, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 22, 2014) - 4K Records has announced that "Live It Loud" from The Greater Cause, the current CD from multiple Grammy and Dove Award-winning recording artist John Schlitt, has been released to both Christian and mainstream radio today.

The single, co-written by Schlitt; Dan Needham, the CD's producer; popular Nashville session player and touring musician Chris Rodriguez; and songwriter and recording artist Scott Faircloff, goes for adds today to Christian Rock and Mainstream Rock radio-formatted stations.

"I was a fan of Head East in the late '70s during my high school years," says Jeff McLaughlin, president of A-Sides Radio Promotion. "When John joined Petra in the '80s, I instantly became a huge Petra fan. You can imagine the excitement I have working with John to release 'Live It Loud' to Christian and mainstream radio as both Head East and Petra have celebrated their respective 40th anniversaries in recent months."

"Live It Loud" is the fourth single from his current CD, The Greater Cause. Schlitt is also currently promoting a Christmas CD, The Christmas Project, which was released digitally in November 2013 and is set for a brick and mortar release in the Fall.

March 5, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Petra lead singer John Schlitt was on hand at the SESAC Christian Music Awards as the pioneering Contemporary Christian band was honored with the prestigious Legacy Award. The presentation at the SESAC Christian Music Awards, held March 4 at Hillwood Country Club, marked the first time the award, whose previous recipients include Neil Diamond, Paul Shaffer and Alice In Chains' Jerry Cantrell, has been given to an artist in the Christian music genre.
Schlitt attended the event along with fellow Petra members Bob Hartman, John Lawry, Cristian Borneo and Greg Bailey. 

"It's always an honor to be recognized by your peers and this is no exception," said Schlitt. "The recognition of the history of the band is very much appreciated."

The presentation of the Legacy Award was the highlight of the event, which included more than 30 awards given to Christian music's most performed songs during 2013.

"This band is being recognized for its contribution of creativity that leaves a legacy for generations," said Tim Fink, SESAC's vice president, Writer/Publisher Relations. 

Producer Dino Elefante, who, with his brother, John Elefante, worked on 16 of Petra's 26 albums, surprised the Petra band members by appearing at the event just as the presentation was occurring.

"I'm here to present an award to people that I love. These guys don't know what they've meant to me and John," Dino Elefante said

"Eddie Degarmo (part of Christian rock duo Degarmo & Key and current Capitol CMG Publishing president) once told us 'You'll be identified with one or two artists for the work you'll do during your career.' If the word 'Petra' sticks to John and me, guys, we're proud. We're very proud. " Elefante said, emotionally. "Everything Petra did was deeply rooted in integrity, family and musicality. We worked on 16 records--millions of records sold--and it was a privilege to do it."

Petra was formed in 1972, setting out on a musical journey that would forever change Contemporary Christian music. In fact, when Christian music industry veteran Billy Ray Hearn first went to hear this band--at The Adam's Apple in Ft. Wayne, Ind., where the band had a regular gig--he was quoted as saying he knew they were "the most radical thing around...as far out as anything that had come out until that time." Hearn went on to sign the band to his label, Myrrh Records, and produce their debut album.

Forty years later, there have been 26 albums released, world tours, Grammy Awards, Dove Awards, inductions into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Christian Music Hall of Fame and the Hard Rock Café. 

To commemorate the band's 40th anniversary, the band members released Petra: 40th Anniversary

For more information about Petra or the new CD, visit petraband.com.

April 20, 2012

Multiple Grammy and Dove Award-winning recording artist John Schlitt is set to unleash The Greater Cause, his first full-length CD since his critically-acclaimed 2008 release, The Grafting. The Gospel Music Hall of Fame member returns to his rock roots with the new project, set to release May 8 through 4K Records and New Day Christian Distributors. 

Schlitt's signature vocals soar, with driving guitars and thundering drums creating an explosive sonic atmosphere packed with drive and intensity.

Lyrically, The Greater Cause focuses on the relevance of faith in an increasingly secular world. "Every song on the album has a message that is pertinent to what is happening in our daily lives," Schlitt says. "How relevant are we, as Christians, in the world today? We need to use common sense and awaken to the fact that Jesus is Lord, no matter what those around us may say or do."

Schlitt, named the best rock singer in Christian music history by GospelMusicChannel.com, stepped from behind the microphone to co-write seven of this project's 11 tracks with such Christian music luminaries as Grammy, Emmy and Dove Award winner Andrew Ramsey (India.Arie, Jonny Lang and Mandisa) and Dan Needham, who has worked on more than 40 Dove and Grammy Award-winning projects with the likes of Michael McDonald, Amy Grant and Chris Tomlin; as well as Chris Rodriguez, Scott Faircloff and Gene Miller. Dove Award winner and 2008 BMI Songwriter of the Year Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Amy Grant, David Crowder Band) and Dove Award winner Ian Eskelin (Francesca Battistelli, Hawk Nelson, Point of Grace) also contributed songs to the project.

"When I began to reach out to some of the most successful writers and musicians in contemporary Christian music and ask if they were interested in being a part of John's project, there was a resounding 'Yes!'" says producer Dan Needham. "I believe that is a testimony to John's reputation among his peers and because of his legendary status in CCM history."

On The Greater Cause, Schlitt's vocals soar on the anthemic "Hope That Saves The World," and thunder on the blues-laden, "Love Won't Leave Me Alone," but Schlitt also knows how to pull back to an intimate intensity on emotional ballads like "The Gift."

Schlitt recorded The Greater Cause with capital raised through the innovative Kickstarter "crowd-funding" business model. An army of fans, dubbed the TGC Crew (The Greater Cause Crew) in honor of the CD title, contributed financially to make the album possible. In return, the TGC Crew members are receiving pre-release copies of the CD, and a limited number of unique donor gifts, such as handmade commemorative plaques, joining the musician at a studio session, vocal lessons and concert performances. The TGC Crew also has continuing access to a restricted website that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the recording of The Greater Cause, including photos, videos and a blog.

Christian Music Archive Radio is a daily radio program featuring many of the artists found on the Archive.
Here is the show where John Schlitt was featured.

Click here to learn more about our radio program.

Created by siremidor - 26-July-2010
Last Edited by siremidor - 07-October-2014
Full List of Revisions

CMA advertisers help keep this site free! Learn more