Gospel songs? Those won’t sell.
From a producer’s perspective, it’s detrimental for a famous mainstream singer to risk his career by cutting a gospel album…or so they thought. Dig through the history and they’ll be easily proven wrong.
It’s our happy tears to discover that several country artists stood their ground on this issue. Even before the rise of outlaws, country singers who were raised Christians were the first mavericks. Instead of giving in to the pressure of sticking with the musical status quo, they allowed their convictions to lead them. And the result? Warm reception not just from their fans, but an opportunity to gain more followers.
Now here are four memorable gospel song breakthroughs in the history of music. Again, it’s secular and not just religious billboards that we’re talking about.
1. Peace in the Valley by Red Folley
From its release in 1951, this gospel tune sold millions and was in the top ten of the Country & Western Best Seller chart.
2. Wings of a Dove by Ferlin Husky
Who would have thought that a religious song could easily top the charts in the 1960’s?
This one has an interesting backstory. Ferlin Husky had a strong desire to record “Wings of a Dove” yet his hands were tied by his then producer. So with those same “tied hands,” he took the matter in prayer to the Lord. Ferlin only asked for God to help him put the song into records. God honored Ferlin Husky’s faith. He made his request happen, and even granted him success.
Success for gospel songs wasn’t only possible in the bygone eras. Fast forward to the 21st century, we’ve seen them again conquering heights and silencing the critics.
3. Three Wooden Crosses by Randy Travis
Randy Travis is already an established singer but “Three Wooden Crosses” became his trademark song. As his 16th chart-topper, it transcended the divide between mainstream and gospel charts.
4. “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope”, Reba McEntire’s Gospel album
You read that right. It’s an entire album which peaked at no. 1 on the 2017 Billboard for Country and Gospel. Reba puts her whole heart into it, and thus, was blessed beyond measure.
Of course, religious folks aren’t that naïve about the fact that some recording artists and their labels are only in it for sales. Nevertheless, gospel songs are part of their soul music, so they’re indispensable. And for the singers who recorded them? We admire and respect their courage.
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Ferlin Husky, gospel, Randy Travis, Reba McEntire, Red Folley