Robert M. "Bob" Hartman (born December 26, 1949; age 71) is an American musician, songwriter, producer, and guitarist. He is the founder of Petra and has been its lead guitarist and main songwriter since its formation in 1972. Hartman also sang lead vocals during the band's early years with fellow guitarist Greg Hough.
Bob Hartman was born on December 26, 1949 in Lyons, New York. He learned to play guitar by himself when he was 13 years old. He credits Joe Walsh, of The James Gang, as one of his main influences.
Hartman became a born-again Christian when he was 20 years old. When he was 21 he joined a Christian band called Rapture with John DeGroff. He also began writing songs, some of which eventually ended up in Petra's first album.
Hartman first studied at Bowling Green State University, earning a B.A. in Psychology. Hartman was already jamming with guitarist Greg Hough when Rapture broke up. DeGroff then moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana to attend Christian Training Center, and Hartman and Hough followed him. While there, they met drummer Bill Glover and officially formed Petra in 1972.
From the beginning, Hartman was the band's main songwriter. During the band's first years, he and Hough sang lead vocals. However, starting with their second and third album, they began using guest singers eventually settling on Greg X. Volz as their official lead singer.
Hartman and Petra enjoyed a wave of success in the early 1980's touring around the United States. They ended up becoming the most notable Christian rock band. Even after Volz left the band, Hartman approached singer John Schlitt, who helped the band anchor a second wave of success that lasted until the mid-90's.
In 1995, Hartman decided to take a break from touring with the band. Because of this, he wasn't featured in the cover or artwork of the band's album No Doubt, even though he played all the guitars in the album. For the next 5 years, Hartman focused more on songwriting, while also collaborating with the younger members of the band.
After lots of personnel changes and struggles within the band, Hartman decided to rejoin the band for the release of their 2001 album, Revival. The album focuses on the three core members of the band – Schlitt, Hartman, and Louie Weaver – to try to recapture the band's success.
In 2003, Petra released the album Jekyll & Hyde to much acclaim. Also, in 2004, Hartman reunited with original members of Petra, Greg Hough and John DeGroff, for a set of classic songs during a Petra concert in Angola, Indiana.
However, on that year, Hartman and Schlitt announced their decision to retire the band in 2005. Their last album was a live recording called Petra Farewell. This concert featured former Petra members Greg X. Volz and John Lawry as guests.
Despite the official retirement, Hartman and Petra have continued to perform sporadic shows during the following years.
Hartman also focused more on producing, writing, and recording at his home studio called House of Bob Studios.
In 2010, Hartman reunited with Greg X. Volz and former Petra members John Lawry, Mark Kelly, and Louie Weaver to perform under the name of Classic Petra. The band released an album titled Back to the Rock that year. The next year, they released a live version of the album. Classic Petra toured North America and Europe from 2010 to 2012.
Hartman is married to Kim Whisonant. They have one son together called Jeff.
- Petra (1974)
- Come and Join Us (1977)
- Washes Whiter Than (1979)
- Never Say Die (1981)
- More Power to Ya (1982)
- Not of this World (1983)
- Beat the System (1985)
- Captured In Time and Space (1986)
- Back to the Street (1986)
- This Means War! (1987)
- On Fire! (1988)
- Petra Praise: The Rock Cries Out (1989)
- Beyond Belief (1990)
- Unseen Power (1991)
- Wake-Up Call (1993)
- No Doubt (1995)
- Petra Praise 2: We Need Jesus (1997)
- God Fixation (1998)
- Double Take (2000)
- Revival (2001)
- Jekyll & Hyde (2003)
- Petra Farewell (2005)
with Classic Petra
with II Guys From Petra
- Vertical Expressions (2007)