John Schlitt had it all, a successful band, a career that was really going places, and a life that was spiraling out of control. But God had other plans, and through a dramatic interaction with his wife and pastor, John began a journey that took him out of music so that he could focus on his relationship with Jesus. And just when John thought music would never be part of his life again, along came an opportunity to sing with a little band called Petra. And for the next 30 years, God used John to help spread the gospel around the world as one of the most iconic voices in Christian Music.
John Schlitt is listed in the credits for the following albums:
|1986||Petra||Back to the Street||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1987||Petra||This Means War!||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1988||Geoff Moore & The Distance||A Place to Stand||Background Vocals|
|1988||Petra||On Fire||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1989||Petra||Petra Means Rock||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1989||Petra||Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out||Lead Vocals|
|1990||Petra||War and Remembrance: 15 Years Of Rock||Lead Vocals|
|1990||John Lawry||Media Alert||Background Vocals|
|1990||Petra||Beyond Belief||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1991||Petra||Petrafied: The Best of Petra||Lead Vocals|
|1991||Petra||Unseen Power||Lead Vocals|
|1991||Carman||Addicted to Jesus||Duet Vocals, Backing Vocals|
|1992||Petra||En Albanza||Lead Vocals|
|1993||Petra||The Power of Praise||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1993||Petra||Wake-Up Call||Songwriter, Lead Vocals|
|1994||Petra||Power Praise||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1995||Petra||No Doubt||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1995||Petra||Rock Block||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1997||Petra||Petra Praise 2: We Need Jesus||Lead and Background Vocals|
|1998||Petra||God Fixation||Lead and Background Vocals|
|2000||Petra||Double Take||Songwriter, Lead Vocals|
|2001||Petra||Revival||Lead and Background Vocals|
|2002||Petra||Still Means War!||Lead and Background Vocals|
|2003||Petra||Jekyll & Hyde||Lead Vocals|
|2012||John Schlitt||The Greater Cause||Songwriter, Vocals|
|2013||John Schlitt||The Christmas Project||Songwriter, Vocals|
|2019||John Schlitt||Go||Songwriter, Background Vocals, Vocals|
John William Schlitt 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.
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.
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.
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."
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
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.