Contemporary Christian music is rooted in American church music and southern Gospel. It continued to evolve and gain influences from Rock and Roll, Folk music, Gospel music, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz, Country music and pop.
Nowadays, contemporary Christian music has many genres within itself, including Christian Rock, Pop, and even Hip Hop. Christian songs have grown into a popular musical genre and a billion-dollar industry that includes radio and tv stations, videos, concert halls, festivals, and more.
Contemporary Christian music originated from the Jesus movement revival in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and was originally called "Jesus music" - Hippies who became religious created the 'Jesus Movement' and started singing songs about love and peace, which then translated into love of God. Two key albums recorded in 1969 are Upon This Rock (1969) by Larry Norman initially released on Capitol Records, and Mylon - We Believe by Mylon LeFevre, released by Cotillion. This type of music was heavily derived from rock and folk music and not from traditional or southern gospel. Pioneers of this movement also included 2nd Chapter of Acts, Andraé Crouch and the Disciples, Evie, Nancy Honeytree, The Imperials, Love Song, Barry McGuire, and Petra.
By the 1980's this genre expanded into a multi-million-dollar industry. Many singers such as Amy Grant, DC Talk, Michael W. Smith, Stryper, and Jars of Clay became successful also in Top 40 mainstream radio.
Christian songs continue to evolve and reach new audiences beyond the church and other religious settings. The sources of inspiration remain religious but go beyond Gospel Music to include popular rock and pop themes. It seems that this musical genre will continue to coexist within the Christian religion, as an expression of faith.