Singing News #1 Analysis: By Songwriter

Last updated 2/16/2015, with the March 2015 chart.

Which songwriters have had the most #1 hits, and spent the most months at #1?

Number of #1 Hits:

  1. 20: Gerald Crabb (Trail Of Tears, The Lamb, The Lion And The King, I Sure Miss You, The Healer, Not Even A Stone, The Walk, I Take Him Back, The Cross, Jesus Will Do What You Can’t, He Came Looking For Me, The Shepherd’s Call, Through The Fire, That’s No Mountain, Don’t You Wanna Go, Please Come Down To Me, Please Forgive Me, Hold Me While I Cry, The Reason That I’m Standing,Thank God For The Preacher, The Debt)
  2. 15: Rodney Griffin (I Choose, God Saw a Cross, Above and Beyond, I Know I’m Going There, He Locked the Gates, My Name Is Lazarus, Just One More Soul, He’s Still Waiting By The Well, Never Been, Do You Want to Be Forgiven, What You Took From Me, If You Knew Him, Masterpiece of Mercy, Looking For The Grace, Preacher Tell It Like It Is)
  3. 14: Dianne Wilkinson (Boundless Love, What We Needed, Tell Me Why, He Said, Peter James and John, King Jesus is Coming, What Salvation’s Done For Me, Just Preach Jesus, Good News From Jerusalem, Just Beyond The Sunset, The Borrowed Tomb, Long Live The King, I’ll Know I’m Home, Christ Is Still The King)
  4. 10: Ronny Hinson (Two Winning Hands, Mercy Built A Bridge, The Lighthouse, He Pilots My Ship, I’m Just Waiting For My Ride, Notified, I Feel a Little Song Coming On, God’s Gonna Do The Same For You And Me, When He Was On The Cross, Oasis)
    10: Joel Lindsey (New Day Dawning, He Made a Change, Reason Enough, I Wish I Could Have Been There, Born to Climb, Celebrate Me Home, Love Came Calling, Blue Skies Coming, That’s Why)
  5. 8: Wayne Haun (I Wish I Could Have Been There, Born to Climb, Celebrate Me Home, Blue Skies Coming, Love Came Calling, The Debt, Reason Enough, That’s Why)
  6. 7: Phil Cross (Jesus Built A Bridge, I Am Redeemed, The Key, Yes I Am, When I Get Carried Away, Saved To The Uttermost, Wedding Music)
    7: Marcia Henry (Last Night, Nail it to the Cross, A Greater Yes, God Likes to Work, Is Anything Too Hard for God, I’ll Pray For You, I Know Enough)
  7. 6: Jeff Steele (I Must Tell Somebody, God Kept His Promise, I Got Up And Went, We Want America Back, Whispered Prayers, Be Not Afraid)
    6: Sandy Knight (I Think I’ll Read it Again, John Saw, The Next Cloud, I’ll Not Turn My Back on Him Now, Hello in Heaven, Somebody Touched the Lord)
    6: Sheryl Farris (A Borrowed Tomb, I’ve Won, The Good News, I Will Trust You Lord, I Keep Praying, Getting Used To The Dark)
    6: Matthew Browder (Message Of The Cross, Land Of No Goodbyes, Praise You In This Valley, He Is Alive, Lift Up His Name, Listening For The Shout)
  8. 5: Joel Hemphill (I’m In This Church; He’s Still Working On Me; Good Things; It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built The Ark; Thank God I’m Free)
    5: Chris Binion (King Jesus is Coming, Right On Time, He Knows My Name, God’s Bigger Than That, The Answer is Christ)
    5: Sonya Isaacs Yeary (Your Cries Have Awoken the Master, A Miracle Today, Stand Still, From the Depths of My Heart; Mighty Big God)
    5: Kyla Rowland (One Scarred Hand, I Rest My Case at the Cross, Safe Thus Far, Did I Mention, I Got A Hold of God This Morning)
    5: Jerry Salley (The Broken Ones, I Want to Thank You, John in the Jordan, Between 12 and 33, Good News From Jerusalem
    5: Rebecca Peck (God Sits On High, His Life For Mine, Up Above, The Borrowed Tomb, Christ Is Still The King)
  9. 4: Carroll McGruder (We Have a Savior, I’m Going Home with Jesus, Saved By Grace, I Lean on You Lord)
    4: Harold Lane (King Jesus, What Sins Are You Talking About, Touring the City, I’m Standing on the Solid Rock)
    4: Mark Bishop (You Can’t Ask Too Much of My God, Can I Pray For You, I Got Here as Fast as I Could, I’m Listening For the Call)
    4: Rusty Golden (What Salvation’s Done For Me, I Want to Thank You, John in the Jordan, Between 12 and 33)
    4: Sue C. Smith (Over and Over, On the Banks of the Promised Land, The Debt, Calvary’s Cry)
  10. 3: Aaron Wilburn (What a Beautiful Day, Four Days Late, The Reason That I’m Standing)
    3: Dottie Rambo (Tiny, I’ve Never Been This Homesick Before, Sheltered in the Arms of God)
    3: Kirk Talley (Step Into the Water, Joy on the Other Side of Jordan, Wedding Music)
    3: Larry Petree (God Likes to Work, By Faith I Can Touch Him, Praise God It’s Settled I’m Saved)
    3: LaVerne Tripp (I Know, That Day is Almost Here, After Calvary)
    3: Mike Payne (When He Was On the Cross, Out Of This World, Angels Step Back)
    3: Rebecca Isaacs Bowman (Your Cries Have Awoken the Master, A Miracle Today, Stand Still)
    3: Rick Hendrix (You’ll Never Run Out of the Blood, When There’s No Hope There is Grace, He Chose Me)
    3: Ricky Atkinson (Resting Place, I Have Not Forgotten, Be Not Afraid)
    3: Kenny Hinson (Call Me Gone, God’s Gonna Do the Same For You and Me, Oasis)
    3: Tim Greene (When I Knelt the Blood Fell, Jesus’ Rocking Chair, In the Twinkling of an Eye)
    3: Kenna Turner West (Calvary’s Cry, Revival, Finish Well)
    3: Karen Peck Gooch (Hey, Revival, Finish Well)
    3: Don Poythress (The Promise, Revival, Finish Well)
    3: Ernie Haase (He Made A Change, Reason Enough, That’s Why)

Months spent at #1:

  1. 31: Gerald Crabb
  2. 30: Ronnie Hinson
  3. 21: Harold Lane
  4. 17: Phil Cross
  5. 16: Rodney Griffin
    16: Dianne Wilkinson
  6. 15: Aaron Wilburn
    15: Joel Hemphill
    15: John Stallings (one song)
    15: LaVerne Tripp
  7. 14: Kirk Talley
  8. 13: Mike Payne
    13: Sandy Knight
  9. 11: Jeff Steele
  10. 9: Joel Lindsey
  11. 8: Greg Day and Chuck Day
    8: Mark Farrow (one song)
    8: Kenny Hinson
    8: Sheryl Farris
    8: Tim Greene
    8: Tracy Dartt (one song)
    8: Wayne Haun
    8: Marcia Henry

Some of the songs are co-writes. I only included songwriters with three or more #1 hits (with exceptions on the second list for songwriters with 1 or 2 who had a song stay 5 or more months at #1).


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32 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. No Bill & Goria?

    • Correction: No Bill & Gloria?

      • Surprisingly, Bill has only co-written two #1 hits, “I Will Go On” and “Greatly Blessed, Highly Favored,” and Gloria has only been part of one, the former.

  2. Mark Bishop?

    • He’s already on there, and I promise you it wasn’t a last-second edit. 🙂

  3. Impressive research!

    Who is Chris Binion? Has he sung with a group? That name sounds so familiar and I remember a family group called The Binions, but can’t quite place who it is.

    Also, what fun it was to think back to a few I had almost forgotten:

    He pilots my ship
    I’m in this church
    That day is almost here

    I can’t recall ‘The Debt’ either. Who sang that one?

  4. Barbi and I might have one or two on the list. “For God So Loved” went #1, I think. And “Out Of His Great Love” might have, too. Not sure.

    • Yes, “For God So Loved” went #1 in December 1997. “Out of His Great Love” didn’t hit #1. For space considerations, I only listed the writers who had 3+ above. 🙂

    • Sorry. I should have paid closer attention. 🙁

      • Not a problem at all. Say – you have had as many #1 songs as Squire Parsons!

  5. I’m glad you took the time to put this series together. This latest list, is surprising to me. Some of the writers I expected, some I didn’t. I really thought Dottie would be higher, and honestly thought Bill Gaither had written more number one hits. Great job.

    • Both of those shocked me – as did the fact that Squire Parsons only had one, and that it was “I’m Not Giving Up” (and not “Sweet Beulah Land,” which did come out since the chart started.)

  6. Great work. Something I think these lists show is that the charting system is fun and will reflect the strength of very strong songs. However, it also shows that many great and enduring songs never reach #1 and yet are superior to many songs that do.

  7. So, with both charts – safe to say that chart position and gross units sold are no where close to each other.

  8. Shouldnt The Debt be listed under Gerald Ctabb giving him 20? We also had a number one titled The Answer Is Christ written by Chris Binion giving him 5. I was surprised that Daryl Williams didnt make the list. Jesus Saves was number one for two months and I thought he might have had others.

    • Thank you for catching those! I’ve updated the list to reflect both. I had a source which inaccurately listed Sue C. Smith as the sole writer of The Debt, but looking it up under Gerald Crabb on BMI, I see him credited as well.

      I checked, and according to the songwriter information I’ve been able to dig up for each song, that was Daryl Williams’ only #1 hit. (But that puts him in good company nonetheless, with Squire Parsons, who also only had one!)

  9. This is very interesting information. I love so many of these great songs, songwriters and artists.
    What I find very interesting is though the Gaither’s only have 2 #1 SG songs, their songs have actually made a global impact on millions of people.
    Wikipedia says: “Gaither and his wife have written many songs, including “The Longer I Serve Him,” “Because He Lives,” “The King Is Coming,” “Something Beautiful,” “He Touched Me”, “It Is Finished,” “Jesus, There’s Something About That Name” and “Let’s Just Praise The Lord.”
    Think of the churches, Easter and other holiday events, crusades etc. where thousands and thousands have sung these songs. They are timeless and many are in hymnals of all denominations.
    I guess my point is that though several of these SG writers have had many, many #1 songs we can’t forget the true impact of Bill and Gloria.

    • Oh, I agree with your point entirely. A major part of the reason I did all this research was to enable conclusions like that one. Radio success is not a direct equivalent with lifetime impact.

  10. I thought “Blame It On Love” and “Praying Man” went #1 by Ronnie Hinson?

    • Not on the Singing News chart; maybe on other charts.

      • My bad. Great post Damiel!

      • No problem, and thanks!

  11. hello, i am from brasil, i looking the sondtrack ” i am redeemed ” by Phil Cross.
    Can someone help me?
    I can not find anywhere! or to buy.
    God bless all

  12. This is very interesting research. I always wonder about these kinds of things. Thanks for taking the time to count these up!

    • You’re welcome! I always wonder about these kinds of things, too, so one day, I just decided to take the time to figure it out.

  13. Just noticed that Blue Skies Coming is listed on Wayne Haun’s list but was left off of mine. Leave it to Wayne to try to take credit for writing that song by himself! Haha!

    • Sorry, I’m sure that was my mistake! I’ll fix it now.

      • I wonder how many songs won song of the year at the fan awards but were never #1 on the charts?

      • To answer your question, Jim, here are the SOTY winners that didn’t capture #1:

        Sweet Beulah Land (Squire Parsons/Kingsmen/Rex Nelon Singers)
        Canaanland Is Just in Sight (Heaven Bound)
        O, for a Thousand Tongues (Rex Nelon Singers)
        There Rose a Lamb (Gold City Quartet)
        Jesus Has Risen (Cathedral Quartet)
        Serenaded by Angels (Kirk Talley)
        We Need to Thank God (Inspirations)
        Just Ask (Greater Vision)
        Faces (Greater Vision)
        Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet (Booth Brothers)
        She Still Remembers Jesus’ Name (Booth Brothers)

        That makes eleven songs. If I’m not mistaken, only 2 of those didn’t peak in the top five. “Look for Me at Jesus’ Feet” only reached #16. The other was “Jesus Has Risen,” which peaked at #7.

      • Interesting! Also interesting how only six of those come from the first thirty years of charting history. That leads me to wonder if there’s an increasing disconnect – though it’s still pretty small – between songs fans love and songs that have effective radio promotion behind them.