Okay, Mylon LeFevre is a stretch for inclusion on Indie Vision Music. But hear me out. He wrote a hit song for Elvis Presley in 1964, “Without Him” for the king’s Gospel album How Great Thou Art. He was only 17 when he wrong the song (in 20 minutes according to the songwriter), and was paid $90,000 for it. He walked out with a paper bag full of cash and bought his first car, a Corvette.
His connection to Gospel music came earlier, as he performed with his southern gospel singing family The LeFevres. Growing up as a young adult in the 70s, Mylon wanted to continue singing and writing songs that reflected his Christian faith, but in a way that made sense to him and his peers. At that time there really wasn’t a place for long-haired, side-burned rockers in the church. Along with Larry Norman, Mylon became one of the early pioneers of Jesus rock this side of the Atlantic. His debut rock-gospel album Mylon, We Believe was released in 1970, just a year after Norman debuted.
Our purpose here is not to retrace his entire career, but to focus on his impact on the independent Christian music scene, and highlighting one song in particular. I first got into Christian rock in the late 1980s, just as Face the Music (his sixth album with band Broken Heart) had released. The album featured a hard rock/arena rock sound common to the era, and lyrics focused on evangelism, the goodness of God, and they even took a stab at praise and worship, as highlighted in our featured song. In short, if it wasn’t for pioneers like Mylon, Norman, Petra, DeGarmo & Key, and a handful of others, it’s very difficult to say if our Christian punk/indie/metal/hardcore scene would have ever developed. They showed us it could be done, even if others came along and did it in a different way.
I must’ve been 15 when I first heard this song, and I gotta admit this old man still gets goosebumps and/or teary-eyes when I hear it, even to this day. I know it won’t hit many of our readers in the same way, but try to picture a young, somewhat idealistic and slightly confused teenage boy, growing up in rural Oklahoma, who doesn’t know much, but knows that he really wants to serve the Lord. I’m still that teenage boy, though my hair is a much lighter shade these days and it’s wearing thin. I still want to serve him above all else, and there’s still not a better soundtrack to my heart’s desires than “Again and Again.”
Sadly, we lost Mylon last month, just before his 79th birthday. He leaves behind a long legacy of being both a musical pioneer and a man of faith. RIP Mylon.