“The Old Rugged Cross” is a well-known hymn and is recorded by many artists from different genres. Some parts of the song were first composed by George Bennard in 1912 while he was in Michigan. Then, Bennard completed his song when he was in Wisconsin. He first performed the song with his friend Ed Mieras. In 1913, the full version together with its harmonies was finally published. Even since “The Old Rugged Cross” has been a standard hymn that many artists recorded.
The Meaning of the Song
The narrator of the song expresses his love for the old rugged cross. He is thankful and glad for it because without the Cross he would not be saved and neither would we. He mentions that the cross is the reason why our sins are washed away. What the narrator said is true because without Jesus sacrificing His life we will still be unclean human beings. Moreover, he insists that he will always depend on the cross until the end of his life and after that, he will finally come face to face with the Lord when he dies.
“I will cling to the old rugged cross,
And exchange it some day for a crown.”
George Jones’ Version
Like other artists, George Jones could not resist recording this song for his studio album The Gospel Collection. The song did not enter the charts but Jones did well on delivering the song. In addition, the album secured a spot on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart at No. 19. It also reached No. 9 on the Top Christian Albums chart. This is George Jones’ last gospel album released in 2003. His album contains a collection of 24 gospel songs.
Other Versions of “The Old Rugged Cross”
Other artists who decided to release a version of the song “The Old Rugged Cross” were Alan Jackson, Anne Murray, Brad Paisley, Eddy Arnolds, Jim Reeves, Johnny Cash, Mahalia Jackson, Merle Haggard, Patsy Cline, and Willie Nelson.