January 8

Glen Campbell’s Rendition of “Softly and Tenderly” Will Send You To Heaven

In his 1989 album Favorite Hymns, a collection of songs he learned as a child in their little country church in Billstown, Arkansas, Glen Campbell shared his rendition of the 19th-century classic invitation hymn “Softly and Tenderly.” 

While it didn’t resound success in the charts, it was still one of Glen Campbell’s songs that you definitely won’t skip. His vocal delivery was simple but very heartfelt, moving the hearts of anyone who heard it. 

Meaning Behind The Song

When he was young, Glen Campbell played music at fairs and church picnics and sang gospel hymns with the church choir. So, it wasn’t surprising that he curated a special album for all his favorite hymns, including “Softly and Tenderly.”

The song, originally titled “Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling,” was written by Will Lamartine Thompson back in 1880 and was based on the Bible verse Mark 10:49. It reads, “Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” 

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” It was a simple message to be joyful that Jesus called you to His presence. 

It is the most popular of his compositions and is considered one of the most prolifically translated gospel songs. In fact, this hymn was sung at Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral. 

Aside from Campbell, a number of country artists have also recorded their own versions of the song. In 2017, for Reba McEntire’s Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope album, she invited fellow female country singers Trisha Yearwood and Kelly Clarkson to do a trio rendition. 

And the most recent one was Carrie Underwood’s for her Gospel covers album My Savior in 2021. Before recording the song, she already performed it in 2017 for the Memoriam segment for the 58 Route-91 shooting victims at the 51st annual CMA Awards. 

It also appeared in several movies, including “Urban Cowboy” (1980), “Tender Mercies” (1983), “The Trip to Bountiful” (1985), and “A Prarie Home Companion” (2006). 

Watch Glen Campbell’s live performance of “Softly and Tenderly” at North Phoenix Baptist Church in March 1990 in the video below.


glen campbell

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