March 22

The Story Behind The Popular Holiday Song: Kenny Rogers’ “Mary, Did You Know”

Wynona Judd and Kenny Rogers’ “Mary, Did You Know” was recorded for Rogers’ holiday album The Gift, and it was one of the best duets in the 1990s.

The Christmas song was written by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene and was originally recorded by Christian singer Michael English in 1991 – when Lowry and English were still members of Gaither Vocal Band while Greene was their frequent tour mate.

Lowry once shared the story behind the famous holiday song. The singer-songwriter said he wrote the song in 1984 when Jerry Falwell – American religious leader and televangelist – called and asked him to write one program for Living Christmas Tree.

While writing the speaking parts, Lowry found himself thinking about Mary and was amused by how God came to earth. Then Lowry remembered one conversation he had with his mother about how Mary absolutely knew her Child was special. And that while Jesus was dying at the cross on Mount Calvary, Mary’s stillness was a great testament to the truth of who Jesus was and is.

This led to Lowry coming up with a list of questions he would want to ask Mary if only he could sit down and talk to her. Lowry carried those words with him until he asked his friend, Buddy Greene – seven years later – to write a music that would fit his composition. And the rest was history!

“Mary, Did You Know” has since grown into a modern Christmas classic with hundreds of artists recording it through the years, across different genres. This includes Carrie Underwood for her debut Christmas album, My Gift, in 2020. Dolly Parton also covered the holiday ballad that same year for her album A Holly Dolly Christmas.

Yet, the Christmas song remains one of the most cherished Kenny Rogers songs. You can listen to Wynona Judd and Kenny Rogers’ “Mary, Did You Know” in the video below.


kenny rogers, Wynona Judd

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