McKameys earn another #1 hit

Multiple sources (first The McKameys’ Facebook page, now Crossroads’ Facebook page) [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed]Β are reporting that the #1 hit on the January 2013 Singing News Charts will be The McKameys’ “Unspoken Request.” This song is one of the fastest-rising #1s in Singing News charting history; it debuted at #25 on the November 2012 chart, jumped to #9 in December 2012, and made an especially rare jump from #9 to #1 in the latest chart. I don’t have access to all the years of past charts to verify this, but it could well be the highest a single has jumped to reach the #1 spot. (Update: A sharp-eyed reader with a long memory notes that “God on the Mountain” jumped from #10 to #1 in 1988.)

Also notably, the song features a lead vocal performance from the McKameys’ long-time lead guitarist, Roger Fortner, who has never before been featured on a radio single. (This may actually be his first recorded vocal solo, period, but while I have many of the projects on which he appeared as a McKameys or Inspirations member, I don’t have every single one to verify this with absolute certainty.)

This occasion also called for a refresh of our assorted Singing News Chart Analysis posts. We’ve updated the list of Singing News #1 hits, and our analyses by Artist, Label, and Songwriter. The most notable movement is in the all-time artist chart. With nineteen #1 hits, the McKameys expanded their lead to five over the second-place Crabb Family (fourteen). Interestingly, the Whisnants remain strong, bumping the Kingsmen (eleven) out of third place with their twelve #1 hits.

Those are sheer numbers of #1s; in the months spent at #1 analysis, the McKameys again move into a tie position with the Kingsmen, both groups having spent thirty months at #1.

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33 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Great! I had a strong feeling this would be a hit the first time I heard it. I didn’t know it would be one so quickly!

  2. Great song! The McKameys actually had “God on the Mountain” to debut at #10 and move straight to #1 in October and November 1988.

    Do you think the song will stay a month more at the #1 spot?

    • I absolutely do not think the song will stay #1 for more than a month. It’s a great song, but only exceptional songs spend more than a month at the top, anymore.

      • Even the exceptional songs don’t stay at #1 more than a month, most of the time. There have certainly been exceptional #1s in the last five years, and not a single one of them has stayed #1 more than a month.

  3. I remember when God on the Mountain went number one . I was singing with the Dixie Melody Boys at the time , hadn’t been there Long ! That song was a REAL REAL number one !!!!! Back then a number one really made a differents for an artist ! In my opinion in what I have seen and the Dove Brothers having one ourselves I don’t see a number one having the same impact for artist like it did back during the God on the Mountain days ! I think I know why but I’ll keep those opinions to myself !

    • It’s about as simple a reason as can be, I think: Fewer people listen to AM/FM radio than in 1988.

  4. Ok

    • McCray, I actually understand what you are saying, even if not from the perspective of an artist. A #1 song seemed to have such an impact back in those days, and GOD ON THE MOUNTAIN was, as you said, a monster song that everyone knew. At times now, I have barely heard songs that make it to #1 and I certainly have more access and listening options than I had in 1988!

      • Well, I think you unintentionally made a point right there at the end. Because we all have more access and listening options than we had in 1988, our listening is often more specialized. We listen to the artists (on CD/mp3/YouTube/Pandora/Spotify) that we pick, not the artists that a radio DJ picks. For that reason, it simply has less impact on the genre when radio DJs pick a song to be #1.

        Don’t get me wrong; it still has SOME impact – just less!

  5. Are you from the future or do I not know how these charts work?

    • I guess it’s the latter, but the way you phrased it certainly made me laugh out loud! πŸ™‚

      The January 2013 Singing News chart reflects airplay in the charting period leading up to November 15th.

  6. The industry wasn’t driven by the same things then that it is now. It took genuine appeal to the listeners/fans then to make it that high and stay there, not much of the same story today. If so, why do songs peak and then disappear over night? Gotta make sure that spot can be available for another promoter next month. (Sorry if this comes off as too negative to pass your standards Daniel. If you need to delete it or edit, feel free. I’ll still check your page every morning and keep up the great work!)

    • I’m going to disagree in part. First off, there are still incredible songs being written and recorded in our genre today. The reason they don’t stay on the charts isn’t because they are poor songs. It’s because the promoters and DJs decided to follow the lead of other industries in circulating songs up and down the charts faster.

  7. Keep talking !!!!!!

  8. Put it to you this way. I talked to a promoter this past Saturday. In our conversation the Charts were brought up. Long story short the promoter said the Singingnews charts meant nothing to him when he is booking artist anymore . Because he booked an artist (he wouldn’t give the name and I didn’t ask) that had 6 number ones and only sold 100 tickets now this promoter knows how to promote ! Do you think that lets say a country artist that has had six number one hits in the last five years would only sale 100 tickets ? Maybe so but I doubt it ! But it is what it is and it want get better!

  9. As a promoter, I will chime in and say that I’ve NEVER booked a group, nor will I ever, based upon a number one song. In Southern Gospel, that doesn’t sell tickets! A fan like you, Daniel, who stays well informed, may be able to name all 12 of the Whisnants number one songs. But, even though they’ve “topped” the Kingsmen, I feel very confident in saying that if you watch the audience, you’ll see a lot more people singing along with “Saints Will Rise” or “Stand Up”, than you will “King Jesus Is Coming” or “Nail It To The Cross”. Definitely not belittling any of their songs!

    Being number one doesn’t mean it’s a great song either. I see that a lot more today than when I look at older charts. Definitely the artist overall popularity is what puts a song consistently in front of more people and on the charts. It would be almost foolish to believe that whatever song the Booth Brothers or Greater Vision release at some point next year would not at least be in the top 10. It’s just going to happen. And those songs may very well be incredible songs. Who’s “hot” at the time helps, then how good your radio promoter is or how much you pay to have it promoted (some songs have more than one radio promoter).

    Promoting a concert is a big risk in Gospel music, and to do so based upon recent chart activity would be a very bad mistake in my opinion. I tend to stick with safer names and overall name recognition. Keep in mind, when advertising in a local area, the majority of people in the country don’t know anything about Southern Gospel music, and IF they have ever heard any names, it’s the older ones. To be completely honest, I couldn’t name you any radio hit of theirs at all, BUT feel a LOT safer booking a group like the Chuck Wagon Gang simply because that name sells tickets. Radio hits only mean something to those few people who eagerly watch the charts.

    • No, even I couldn’t name all the Whisnants’ #1s off the top of my head!

      I agree with your points. I would observe, though, that months spent at #1 is probably a more significant indicator. Do as many people recognize the McKameys’ name as the Kingsmen name? Probably.

      • I’ll agree on number of months, in most situations. As catchy as it may have been, and obviously a gimmick, I don’t consider “Excuses” to be a good song, and I think it stayed number one a while?

        As with all groups, groups are more popular in different areas of the country. Here in the southeast, I feel that the Kingsmen & McKameys are just as recognizable names. I’ve booked both, and while I’m closer friends with the Kingsmen, I think the McKameys might draw me more people today.

    • I must admit that when I first heard “Unspoken Request” on Enlighten, I really enjoyed the singer but didn’t know who it was. The screen said McKameys, but I knew that had to be a mistake. I’ve never heard Roger sing before, bur really like his singing.

      • This was surely the thought of many people hearing the song. I mean, how can it BE the McKameys when Ms. Peg isn’t even on the recording?! πŸ™‚

      • I agree wholeheartedly with this statement Stewart. I really liked the song when I first heard it but was like you, I thought the DJ made a mistake when they announced that it was the McKamey’s new song. I thought to myself, “This DJ has done flipped his gourd!” LOL! However, I was surprised that it was the McKamey’s. Daniel, this is my outlook on this song being a hit. I think that in the next little while (that “while” being relative of course), I think that Reuben and Peg will retire and leave it to Roger and the rest of the family. They have proven that they can make a great song without Peg or Reuben being in the mix which is really unheard of if you talk to long time McKamey fans. I think it is pretty awesome that a new generation of McKamey’s is getting geared up!!

  10. JC I agree it is a great song, but I just can’t see The McKameys making it without Peg. I should not say make it , I know they will survive but , Ive been booking the Mckameys for years and Peg is the draw.

    • Well, I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it being The McKameys without a McKamey in the group – without Peg.

      Now it’s probably fair to assume that Ruben and Peg will retire / come off the road some time in the next twenty years. (They’re still going so strongly that it could practically be twenty, for all I know!) When they retire, might Connie, Roger, Eli, and possibly even Sheryl keep going as The Fortners? Who knows?

      • As long as direct descendents or surviving spouses are involved, family group names rarely change.

        The Segos remained the Segos after Naomi re-married, for example.

        The Nelons had three Clarks at one point.

      • Ain’t no use crying over spilt milk before it’s spilt. I have every reason to believe Ruben & Peg aren’t anywhere close to winding down. πŸ™‚

      • On the flipside when was the last time a Stamps was in the Stamps quartet.

      • Arrgh, I couldn’t stop it to change that to a question mark. πŸ™‚

  11. In my opinion, the main reason that The McKameys remain a popular concert draw and continue to garner #1 songs left and right is that the people (fill in the blank…fans, promoters, DJs, etc.) recognize them, first and foremost, as a group of solid, down-to-earth and sincere CHRISTIAN individuals. That endearment, combined with the fact that they’ve remained true to their roots and have been blessed with some great songs to record should always be the recipe for success in Gospel Music. Though “things” (concert attendance, revenues, etc.) aren’t as good as they once were in our industry, I am faithful that there will always be a remnant of people who love and support this great genre. I hope and pray that groups like The McKameys who are what they profess to be will continue to persevere for generations to come and continue to see souls won to The Kingdom. Congrats to The McKameys!

    • Great words, and it’s especially nice to hear them from a member of the group tied with them for most months spent at #1! πŸ™‚

    • Bob, I agree with everything you said about the McKameys. They have stood true to their calling and are always careful to sing songs that are scripture-based and supported. They have a true desire to see people saved and encouraged, which is what it’s all about. Ron and I also share the same opinion that it just wouldn’t be the McKameys without Ms. Peg. “Unspoken Request” might speak to a lot of people, and the “Fortners” might come forth as a separate group one day, but IMO, this is not what fans think of or expect from the McKameys.

  12. God on the Mountain put the Group in the Status all of you are talking about in my opinion ! Back then a big song could do that for an artist ! Step into the water changed everything for the Cats ! Number one songs just doesn’t have that kind of impact for Artist today if so, I guess I’m missing it !

  13. How many of us can name, without looking, what was #1 one year ago this month? What about 2 years? 5 years?
    Do the artist even remember? If, say, the artist who had a #1 in August 1998, or the artist who had a #1 in August 2010 doesn’t remember (without checking the records), then why do they even put so much emphasis (money) into making a song a charting hit?

  14. Great comments about the McKameys, Bob. I sure agree! I’m singing God on the Mountain now & that song will stay with me all day long. Love the McKameys,