March 28

The Story of the Gospel Song, “The Old Rugged Cross”

“The Old Rugged Cross” is a popular hymn written in 1912 by evangelist and song-leader George Bennard.

Back in 1913, George Bennard was struggling with a problem that caused him much suffering. His mind went back again and again to Christ’s anguish on the cross. This was the heart of the gospel. The cross he pictured was no gold-covered icon. It was a rough, splintery thing, stained with gore.

This theme was so great, it needed a song. In a room in Albion, Michigan, Bennard sat down and wrote a tune. But the only words that would come to him were “I’ll cherish the old rugged cross”. He struggled for weeks to set words to the melody he had written.

As a Methodist evangelist, Bennard was scheduled to preach a series of messages in New York. He found himself focusing on the cross. The theme of the cross grew increasingly more urgent to him. Back in Albion, Michigan, he sat down. And again, he tried to put together the words. This time the lines came. He was able to rewrite the stanzas of the song without so much as one word failing to fall into place.

Alabama’s Version

One of the most acclaimed country bands of our time, the award-winning Alabama is a name synonymous with tight harmonies, chart-topping songs and the fabric of American music. In August 2014, Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, and Jeff Cook celebrate their love for gospel music with this special collection containing 12 songs of faith. The album titled Angels Among Us: Hymns & Gospel Favorites, features “Church in the Wildwood”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “The Old Rugged Cross”.  They also made a new recording of their hit “Angels Among Us”.  This album captures the heart and values of the band as well as those unmistakable blends that have made them a household name for decades.


Alabama, gospel, old rugged cross

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