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April 17

Dolly Parton Celebrates Christ’s Resurrection with “He’s Alive”

To declare each day that Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, is alive should be part of our devotion. There are many ways to do that. It can be through prayers, Bible reading, or through songs. We can find a lot of inspirational songs rejoicing for the birth of Christ, His death, and resurrection. Since we are commemorating the season of Lent, it’s just fitting to listen to songs around this theme.

The country music superstar Dolly Parton offers us a great tune we can listen to this Easter! The title alone, “He’s Alive,” is very captivating and exudes jovial vibe which is perfectly fitting for its message.

“He’s Alive” Background

The song was penned by Christian artist Don Francisco who is best-known for his narrative style of writing songs. He usually focused on the story of the song as the best channel for the message he wants to convey. Also, most of the songs he wrote are inspired by Biblical accounts.

“The songs that tend to have the most power are stories,” Francisco told CCM magazine in 1982.

The primary inspiration for “He’s Alive” was a song about Jesus’ crucifixion which Francisco used to play in concerts. He briefly explained this in the liner notes for his album Don Francisco: The Early Works.

“I sat down with the intention of trying to write about the Resurrection, because, let’s face it, the Crucifixion is just half the story, and the worst half by far.”

Alive, He's Alive, Don Francisco, Dolly Parton
Don Francisco, author of the song “He’s Alive”

Initially, Francisco intended to write the song from the perspective of Apostle Thomas. The setting, as he planned, was the room where Jesus appeared before the apostles. That didn’t work well though. Letting him try a different way which is from Peter’s perspective. He then poured out all of his deepest emotions into Peter’s experience allowing him to create an excellent narration of the resurrection story. That turned out to be his best-known song.

“He’s Alive” became the longest-running No. 1 song on the CCM chart since the first time the music list was published. Moreover, Francisco won two trophies for the song at the 1980 Dove Award ceremony, namely Song of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.

Dolly Parton’s Powerful Performance

One of country music’s iconic stars recorded Francisco’s “He’s Alive” for her White Limozeen album. She also delivered a powerful performance of the song at the 23rd Annual CMA Awards in 1989. Parton was backed by a choir consisting of 100 strong members.

Watch Parton’s chilling performance of the song and don’t forget to rejoice because Jesus Christ is alive.


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Dolly Parton, Don Francisco, He’s Alive


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