Bob Grace has worked with some of the biggest names in music—from David Bowie to The Spice Girls. But none of those encounters compares with the day he “met God.”
After a rocky road of broken relationships and alcoholism, Grace cried out to a supernatural power—and says God “hit me like a freight train.” Now at 65, he’s written about his dramatic spiritual journey in a book called Rock Solid: From Demo to Limo to God, which released in June.
It was after a simple prayer in 1988 that Grace says “wave after wave of bliss” swept over him like “liquid honey.” Comparing that to his rock ‘n’ roll years, he says, “It was everything I’d hoped for in drugs and meditation—all in one!”
Brought up in Great Britain’s post-war “you’ve never had it so good” era, Grace was the son of a theatrical agent who worked with big names like entertainer Roy Castle and comedian Bob Hope. His father’s work brought him into contact with British music legends such as Cliff Richard and The Shadows. He also rubbed shoulders with The Rolling Stones.
Grace soon found himself escorting visiting American artists like Dionne Warwick, The Isley Brothers and The Shangri-Las to TV show appearances. But his real desire was to work for a record company.
Grace’s moment came when he joined the promotion department of music giant EMI in 1965. He helped publicize The Beatles’ Revolver and The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Interestingly, the latter included the massive hit “God Only Knows,” which was one of the first pop songs to carry God in its title.
When Grace was asked to publish music for David Bowie, he jumped at the chance. Strangely enough, the first song he dealt with was called “Holy Holy” in 1971. But the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle was taking its toll: “It wasn’t fun any more,” Grace told Charisma, “and I was at a low point in the drinking.”
Like others in the music industry, Grace started searching for a spiritual answer to life’s problems. A spiritual movement had already been underway among some of Grace’s contemporaries.
Texan guitarist T-Bone Burnett said this broader spiritual movement affected people like Bono, The Edge and Larry Mullen of U2 in Dublin. Some of Bob Dylan’s band had been impacted by reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity—a classic study on biblical hope.
But for Grace, visiting Holy Trinity Brompton in London was a turning point. “There were more people in the congregation than in the clergy,” he recalls. “It’s normally the other way ’round!” Captivated by sermons from Bishop Sandy Millar, Grace couldn’t wait to attend services each Sunday.
He joined Alpha, a course that introduces inquirers to the Christian faith. But still he couldn’t grasp the gospel. Grace decided to give “the God of grace” a chance. He asked Jesus to be part of his life. “I did it every night before I went to bed,” he remembered. “But it didn’t make any difference.”
Finally, the seventh night brought a change he could feel. “The power of God came in,” he recalls. “It was awesome. His power knocked me to the ground. It was unbelievable.”
Grace and his American wife, Yvonne, have since joined a charismatic Anglican church and offer “healing prayer” on the streets of the historic city of Bath.
And his book Rock Solid is already having an impact. When Grace spoke about it at a summer event, two audience members became Christians. “We’re not a religious family,” said one reader, “but you’ve opened our eyes to exploring it more.” That’s the power of Grace.