Friday, May 4, 2012

Flashback Friday: She Has Her Father's Eyes

Sometimes all you need is one name. Rihanna, Madonna, Tiffany. Christian Music doesn't traditionally have that kind of star power. Not usually.

There are a few exceptions. We have our own Tiffany, but she records under the moniker Plumb (Tiffany Arbuckle Lee). There is Smitty (Michael W. Smith), but that is a last name nickname. There is only one Eowyn, however.

Then there is Amy. Officially there is only one, but when I hear Amy my mind goes straight to Amy Lee of Evanescence, but she was kicked out of the kingdom so there is still only one.

To start things on a note of absolute Irony, Amy Lee Grant was born November 25, 1960. Do I sense a conspiracy here. Naaah. Couldn't be. A Georgia Girl who moved to Nashville at an early age, she became the first true star of Christian Music. Of course it probably isn't a surprise that a southern belle has the middle name Lee, just the last name Grant is bad enough. It could have been worse, Amy Sherman Grant would have been way worse. Any way, long before Leigh Nash took the music world by storm by asking for a kiss or even before an Australian teen screamed "It's God" there was Amy hoping "She has her Father's eyes".

Amy Grant to most people is Christian Music personified, and who can argue. 6 Grammy Awards and 25 Dove Awards kind of solidify that. Age to Age was the first Christian album to be certified platinum, and Heart in motion went 5x platinum. Of course the other Amy Lee took her debut to over 7x platinum, but we won't talk about Fallen, will we.

Her first album, which was self titled, was released back in 1977. My Father's Eyes was released two years later. 1982 brought us Age to Age, and with it the timeless song El Shaddai. This video of a live performance of El Shaddai and Thy Word, another Grant Classic from 1984's Straight ahead, has accompaniment by fellow music legend Michael W. Smith.

The nineties brought Amy to the Big Time, as far as crossover potential at least. She was a Superstar in the Christian Music world already. Heart in Motion was released in 1991 and with it the Radio Hit "Baby Baby". The Official Music Video for Baby Baby Follows.

With Success came controversy. Never mind Baby, Baby. Crossover appeal started with the Peter Cetera/Grant duet "Next Time I fall in Love". Amy sings a duet with someone other than her husband Gary Chapman. It was a kerfuffle. Never mind she had never done a duet with Chapman. It was a beautiful song nonetheless.

Of course when Chapman and Grant Divorced in 1999 they knew the seeds were started here, even though Grant would later marry Vince Gill, not Peter Cetera.

Amy Grant was the first Christian Artist to deeply bond with her audience. She will always be "Our Amy", just like she was a member of our extended family. Rebecca St James has come close, but not to the level that Amy Grant ever did.

That concludes the Night Beat look into the life of Amy Grant. It also, for the most part, concludes our look into the 70's. I will begin the 80's next Friday. I don't think I will start with Smitty, but you never know. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.