When the country band Alabama took on “What A Friend We Have In Jesus,” it made the Christian hymn even more meaningful.
Alabama is currently made up of three cousins, Teddy Gentry, Jeff Cook, and Randy Owen. The three joined forces in 1969 and became the most successful country band of the 1980s when they began a streak of twenty-one No. 1 singles!
The trio went on to become music’s first-ever superstar country group, producing forty-three No. 1 singles in all and selling over eighty million records worldwide. In 1998, Alabama earned their star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was also inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. Indeed, few bands have had such an influence on country music, as Alabama has.
How The Song Became A Staple Of Hymnals
“What A Friend We Have In Jesus” has been around for centuries. Irish poet Joseph M. Scriven originally wrote the song in 1855. He wrote the poem for his mother, who was living in Ireland while he was away in Canada.
However, Scriven published the poem anonymously. Hence, he never received full credit for it until the 1880s. Before then, the poem was set to music by composer Charles Crozat Converse.
“What a friend we have in Jesus. All our sins and griefs to bear. And what a privilege to carry. Everything to God in prayer. Oh, what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry. Everything to God in prayer,” the song goes.
Over the years, the song has become a staple of hymnals and a beloved favorite of gospel singers and everyday people alike. More artists have recorded it than we could ever begin to count. In addition to Alabama, the beloved tune was also recorded by Alan Jackson and included in his first gospel album, Precious Memories. Brad Paisley, Ronnie Milsap, Merle Haggard, and Glen Campbell also recorded “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”
Tune in below to see Alabama pour their hearts into their performance of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” You’ll immediately feel at ease as you listen to the soothing sound of the trio’s voice on this classic hymn. There’s just something about their performance that makes it comforting to listen to and watch.