Thursday, July 11, 2013

Amy Grant--Every Heartbeat (1991)

     As most of you who have been reading the Omnibus for any time at all know that we pretty much stay within a time frame of the mid-50's to 1990 with exceptions now and then. For many this singer was defined in the 90's, but those who have kept up with her career from the beginning know that it has gone on much longer and her influence much deeper.
     For those who don't know, Contemporary Christian Music has been around a bit over 40 years now and has established a nice niche within the recorded music business. In the last 20 years or so there have been more than a few crossover artists from CCM to the pop charts. Artists from Jars of Clay and DC Talk to Michael W. Smith  have found it's way to a larger audience. It might not be a big thing to any of you reading, but as close 30 years ago, anyone who would dare reach out to a "secular" audience would be considered anathema to many Christian leaders. Looking back now, it's easy to see why. Of course, there is the sectarian nature of "Christian" music verses "Non-Christian" music,  but there were also battles within the church walls itself about allowing anything stronger than folkish type music in the building.  Now, there were always singers and bands with a more rock sound. Larry Norman and the Resurrection Band (which to my ears is still one of the best Christian rock bands period) come to mind, but they were always on the fringes, and besides they never intended the music to be for believers anyway. Then came Amy Grant.
     If there was a superstar in those days it was Amy. Her recording career began at the age of 18 in 1978, and in five years had become a dominant seller within the business. Her 1982 album, "Age to Age" was the first album in the CCM category to be certified gold, and in 1985 it went platinum. It seemed (at least to me) a natural progression to be the first artist in this genre to "break through" to the pop charts, and it happened in 1985 with the single, "Find A Way". There was a loud debate (mostly generational) about "losing" Amy to secular music. Her albums had always be accessible lyrically to a wider audience, and as it turned out she continues to be a top ten seller on the CCM charts as well as pop.
     Her huge chart breakthrough was with album, "Hearts in Motion" in 1991 with three top ten singles. ("Baby, Baby", "Every Heartbeat" and "That's What Love Is For") Since then she is a regular on the album charts as she straddles her country/folk/pop tinged music with lyrics that deal not only with God, but with issues that everyone (including Christians) deal with. After all of these years, she has proven not only to be a fine CCM and pop singer, but a songwriter who is woefully underrated.   


Post a Comment