This gospel hit of Christy Lane in 1980 was written by Kris Kristofferson and Marijohn Wilkin. Marilyn Sellars was the first one to record this song and unfortunately, she only landed at No. 19 on the Country Chart.
So here’s the story behind the song. The minister must be happy when Marijohn Wilkin drove up for counseling in a brand new El Dorado, wearing a mink coat. Her luxuriousness masked an inner turmoil that was pulling her apart. She was unable to admit her alcoholism. She knows that her husband relied too heavily on the bottle and was having an affair. Their marriage was on the rocks. Additionally, her mother had recently died of a stroke, her business partner, Hubert Long, had passed away, and a close friend who tended to her boat also died. On top of that, singer Dottie West was six months behind in paying back a loan. Things couldn’t have gotten much worse.
Unexpectedly, the minister had never been called upon to counsel anyone before. When Marijohn unloaded her burdens, he gave her some unusual advice. The minister suggested that she thank God for her problems. Wilkin followed his advice while driving home. Her tears gave way to laughter as she realized how unbelievable her situation had become. When she got home, she sat down at her piano and sang the first verse and chorus of “One Day At A Time.” Wilkin later reflected that the song was literally a cry for help.
She called her friend and former protégé Kris Kristofferson, who had recently notched a number one record with his self-written gospel hit “Why Me,” and asked him to help her wrap up “One Day At A Time.” In 1974, Marilyn Sellars took the first version to a decent No.19 country and No.37 pop showings. “One Day At A Time” became a gospel standard, winning a Dove Award for “Song of the Year” from the Gospel Music Association in 1975. The same year, Wilkin was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. “One Day At A Time” also helped launch her career as a gospel recording artist. She released several albums on Word Records. The song, meanwhile, earned even greater visibility when Christy Lane reincarnated it five years later.
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