In case you missed #20 – #6, you can catch up on those in the previous posts. Before we list the top five favorite Acappella songs, here are three that did not make the top 20, but almost did:
Honorable Mention: La Song
La Song was a novel idea to write a song for the group with no words, only music. As the song developed however, we couldn’t help but add a drop section with a nod to classic Acappella lyrics, “All I do is ask for Your forgiveness . . . “ I was not present when Acappella sang for a major music festival in Holland, but the guys share how the crowd called for an encore by singing “la la la la la la” continuously for a period of time. La Song was recorded for the Growin’ Up In The Lord and Platinum albums.
Honorable Mention: Not My Will But Thine
It’s hard to imagine a song that evokes more emotion than this one, penned in the 1970’s when I was still in my early 20’s. Singing in various choirs definitely influenced the tone of this piece, with two distinct movements: the slow and dark Gethsemane intro, moving ominously and inevitably into a recounting of torturous Calvary. Many of us attempted to sing the lead vocal on this song, but Not My Will But Thine never reached its apogee until George Pendergrass personalized this song with inexplicable passion on the Set Me Free album.
Honorable Mention: Wedding Day
God chose such beautiful imagery in claiming the church to be HIs bride. As C.S. Lewis speaks of this life being a preparation for the next life — during which true happiness will arrive, we can fondly anticipate the blessings God has in store for those who believe. The brevity of this life is yet another reminder of why everyone must prepare for the coming of the Bridegroom. Christians should joyfully long for His return. Wedding Day is featured on the raw and transitional milestone Travelin’ Shoes album — the one with the ugly (travelin’) boots on the cover.
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And now for the results for the top five all-time favorite Acappella songs:
#5 Water From The Well
This song is dear to our hearts, primarily because the two precious children solos happen to be our two oldest daughters, Melissa and Kimberly. Kim’s solo is often mimicked because she seems to pronounce the words “Rater from the Rail.” We also love the latest version as Kimberly sings Water From The Well as an adult for this youtube video. Kimberly learned how to walk on Acappella’s touring bus while Melissa began singing solos in concert when she was only two years old. This song is part of the Growin’ Up In The Lord and Platinum albums.
#4 Criminal On The Cross
One of the most controversial reactions from all the songs I’ve written happened to be inspired by a chapter from Max Lucado entitled, “Tale of the Crucified Crook.” This message reminded me that there will never be any human being who deserves salvation in any way. Period. Although many look down upon the criminals of this world, the truth is, no one can earn or be worthy of God’s salvation. The criminal didn’t deserve salvation — and neither do I. Criminal On The Cross was originally recorded for the Sweet Fellowship album, and is being sung by groups in many languages around the world. Acappella was also included in Bill Gaither’s homecoming video series singing this song.
#3 We Have Seen His Glory
The album, We Have Seen His Glory is one of the most thematic collections we have ever recorded. Angels long to look into these things — the glory of Jesus. We have seen his glory; we glory in his name; and we sing to the glory. To him who sits on the throne be glory . . . We will see Jesus in all of his glory. Regarding the arranging, I remember becoming tired of the same old “go to” chord progressions that I gravitated to, and decided to seek a more pleasingly complex and less-predictable arrangement approach for the verses of this song. I’d like to hear a music theorist analyze the progressions (so I can understand what we did).
#2 Lead Me To Rest
It should surprise no one that the top all-time favorite Acappella songs, as indicated by this survey, feature the unparalleled voice of Wayburn Dean. His unique style and interpretation is unmistakable, and in my mind, is unsurpassable. It was such a joy to sing with Wayburn in Malibu and Amarillo earlier this year for our year-long 35th-anniversary celebrations – – and we look forward to singing with Wayburn this October in Houston and Detroit. In writing Lead Me To Rest, I remember pulling the guys aside in the Minneapolis airport while returning from a tour in Canada to sketch out the harmonies. As a producer, I love the value that back-up choirs can bring to a recording as demonstrated on the Set Me Free album.
Sometimes, the unsuspected happens. God takes a few loaves and fishes to feed the multitudes. Thus, we could not have anticipated how this particular song surprisingly became a declaration of dependence for countless sojourners. Rescue has become a theme song for those who surrender to the indescribable compassion of a loving God. This song also reminds me of a recent Praise & Harmony recording of “I come broken to be mended, I come wounded to be healed.” Rescue articulates our personal stories, at least those of us who realize we need rescue. It’s the title song of the Rescue album, intended to tenderly remind us that the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost — meaning us.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in this survey.
Which album do you think will reach the pinnacle of the next survey of the all-time favorite Acappella albums? Please take the Acappella album survey by choosing your favorite album from the list and we’ll announce the results.
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