Friday, May 18, 2012

Flashback Friday: Forever Friends

"...a lifetime's not to long to live as friends." The most popular song in Christian Music History probably generated enough tears to launch a small navy. I should know. While the song somehow missed my High School Graduating Class I couldn't escape it in college. My Senior Class voted it Class Song, which means we all had to sing it at graduation.

The person responsible for unleashing this song on the masses is none other than "Smitty", also known as Michael Whitaker Smith (Michael W. Smith). It first appeared on his debut release, The Michael W. Smith Project (1983). It's amazing what kind of damage a song can do after almost 30 years.

All joking aside, it is rare that a new artist gets a hit single on their debut. Even rarer still that the hit is still considered memorable three decades later, much less the artist who wrote the song. Both things apply to Smitty.
  • 24 Albums (so far, as of 2011)
  • 3 Time Grammy Award Winner, 13 Overall Grammy Nominations
  • 31 Number One Songs
  • 1 Multi-Platinum Album
  • 6 Platinum Albums
  • 16 Gold Albums
  • Over 17 Million Albums Sold
  • 36 Time Dove Award Winner
It's that last fact that gets music critics like me riled up from time to time. The Doves tend to have a "he recorded an album? let's give it to Smitty" attitude, and probably during at least one stretch of time somebody more deserving got the shaft. Maybe not, but the odds are in my favor. With that 17 Million Sold (Why do I feel like a McDonald's Sign?) it's hard to blame them too harshly. That 1 multi-platinum album puts him on par with Evanescence (actually since Fallen is over 7x Platinum on its own, perhaps they put a dent in the entire platinum stash). Here's friends. Warning, have Kleenex handy.

Are your eyes dry enough to read? Good, let's proceed. While Friends may be the #1 Recorded CCM Song of All Time as voted by CCM Magazine, but he was hardly a one hit wonder. 1990 brought Go West Young Man and "Place in this world". It rose to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Smitty Struck again just two short years later with I will be Here for You from Change Your World In 1999 the Columbine tragedy struck. One of the students killed in the Massacre was Cassie Bernall. She was killed especially for her faith in Christ. This is This is Your Time, written in her memory. I remember when it was performed at the Inside Out Soul Festival a few years later. It's a very moving song. Personally, it's a lot better than friends.

Though Michael went astray, musically speaking, in my opinion as he chased the pop market, he recently returned to his orchestral roots back in 2010 with Wonder. Recently, (actually 2011), he went instrumental with Glory. Smitty and Keaggy, both of them really know how to do instrumental albums. They could make it famous without uttering a word.

That concludes this edition of Flashback Friday. Next Friday we will have a bit of Choir Music for you. Calm yourself, it's not what you think. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.