2008 in review: Top Radio Singles

What were the year’s best radio singles?

This list is limited to songs on the Singing News top 80 between January and December 2008.

  1. What We Needed (Kingdom Heirs)—#1 in July
  2. Reason Enough (Signature Sound)—#2 in December (#1 Jan ’09)I can’t believe I omitted this one on my initial draft.
  3. I’ve Been Changed (Legacy Five)—#5 in January
  4. When God Ran (Kingsmen)—#3 in December (#2 Jan. ’09)
  5. The Potter Knows the Clay (Perrys)—#8 in December (#7 Jan. ’09)
  6. It Means Just what it Says (Greater Vision)—#2 in April and May
  7. I’m Gonna Make It (Dove Brothers)—#7 in February
  8. Won’t it Be Wonderful There (Mark Trammell Trio)—#16 in June
  9. Eternity Has Two (Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver)—#29 in December (#15 Jan ’09)
  10. Holy Shore (Perrys)—#8 in April

Since the best songs often don’t get singled, here’s a separate list of the ten best songs from the year that didn’t get singled (yet):

  1. Grace Will Always Be Greater than Sin (Hoppers). With their next album out, I guess it’s probably pretty official that this song won’t be going to radio.
  2. Blessed Be the Lamb (Collingsworth Family). They sent three other songs to radio from We Still Believe this year, and it’s a little hard to believe this one hasn’t been one of them.
  3. Realms of Glory Bright (Talley Trio).
  4. Coming Out and Moving In (Mark Trammell Trio)
  5. Call it What it Is (Liberty Quartet)
  6. Save Me a Seat at the Table (Brian Free & Assurance)
  7. There is Always a Place at the Table (Gaither Vocal Band)
  8. Beulah (Tribute Quartet)
  9. If Only Just a Few (Mark Trammell Trio)
  10. I’ll Be Ready (Dixie Echoes)

For more about —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

15 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. I gave the BF&A cd to my sister after her husband died just for the song “Save Me a Seat at the Table.” It’s a puzzle why they never released it to radio. It’s a great song that could be a blessing to many.

    Hey, Daniel – Happy New Year!

  2. Same to you!

  3. It’s rare for GloryBound to release a song the same year another group introduced it (Won’t It Be Wonderful There by Chris Allman) let alone let it be the title song for an album (Won’t It Be Wonderful).

  4. It’s interesting to see which songs do not get singled. You listed a few really amazing ones in the list of 10 (not yet singled) ones. I wonder what the process is of deciding which songs to single and not to single…

  5. That was really the interesting part of the post. Perhaps I should have just had that be the post!

    The overall rule is that they’ll generally try to select the best songs from the CD to single. But all sorts of other factors play into selection—for example, how many singles it has been since a given member has had a solo singled, sometimes if the song is published by the company or the group so they get some of the publishers’ royalties from airplay, etc., etc.

  6. One factor in picking a single is what style or theme of song was previously released. If a group has released two slower ballads, the next single will most likely be up-tempo for a change of pace, regardless of how great that third ballad on their project is.

    It is also not uncommon for a group to release singles by writers they know are tried and true. The McKameys release a lot of their daughter’s songs, Kyla Rowland’s music is a staple on Perrys projects, and the Kingdom Heirs consistently record and release Dianne Wilkinson tunes to radio.

    Radio typicallly looks for the commercially sounding song that’s around 2 1/2 to 3 minutes long. And while there’s no hard and fast rules about what will or won’t work in radio, record companies and radio promotions people know from past experiences what has or hasn’t done well in the past. And, to many people’s dismay, the songs that seem to stage really well often don’t make the best radio singles.

    If I were in a group that released music to radio, I know what I’d do. I’d make note of all the great songs that are radio-worthy that for whatever reason weren’t singled. Then those songs would certainly be considered for projects down the road. Who’s to say in four or five years someone doesn’t re-record Grace Will Always Be Greater or Save Me A Seat At The Table—we might eventually see them released to radio. I think now would be too soon to do it, but in a few years maybe the second time around for these songs just might be the time they take their rightful place on the charts.

  7. Thanks for putting “What We Needed” at #1, Daniel…you sweet Kingdom Heirs fan, you!! As I write this, they are down to final song selection for a new recording. I hope there’s a “What We Needed” in the bunch…several! Happy New Year, best blogger. God bless you for all you do! Dianne.

  8. Hey, Daniel. Thank you for including “Grace Will Always Be Greater Than Sin” in your rankings of best songs not singled. From the moment it was done, co-writer Gary Casto and I both felt this song was very special. We were thrilled to have it included in Phil Cross’s “Songs Of A Lifetime” event at this past year’s NQC. For it to not have been a single and yet achieve that honor was extra special. As a writer, it’s hard to explain how you feel when a song is done and you believe it’s got tremendous potential. I hope it doesn’t sound bad to say that I really don’t think God is finished with this one yet. It feels like there’s more to come, and I hope my feeling is right. It’s one of the most special songs I’ve ever been a part of. Thanks again for mentioning it. Barbara

  9. Yes, I think God isn’t finished with that one yet. It’s simply an amazing song!

    I’m hoping maybe Tribute Quartet will work themselves up to trying a male quartet version. It’s the kind of song that could really kick off a career if it’s done right. (Not that Tribute isn’t started, but they’ve yet to get their first big hit.)

  10. Tribute’s breakthrough song is only a matter of time. They are doing a lot of things right. It will happen soon.

    If I recall correctly there was actually some talk of them doing “Grace” at some point when Jacob Kitson was with them. I think a male quartet could do it, but after Kim Hopper? Hmmmm…a tall order for any group. She owns the song in my opinion, but I am probably a bit biased! LOL! Barbara

  11. Yes, Jacob Kitson would have knocked it out of the park. I haven’t heard enough of Brian Alvey yet to know how he’d do on it.

    Yes, Kim Hopper owns the song right now, and probably anyone who wants to do it after her would have to arrange it somewhat differently. There’s no beating Kim Hopper in a Kim Hopper arrangement.

    The Ride was certainly one of the strongest albums this decade – it’s one of those albums-with-10-singles projects. The stuff the Hoppers sent to radio was all strong (well, I personally wouldn’t rank “I’m Just Waiting for My Ride” higher than Grace or “The Applause of Heaven,” but others seemed to like it) – it’s not like they singled dud tracks. This is the sort of album that you wish they’d singled just about every track!

  12. From what I have heard, Brian Alvey could do it just fine. It’s a matter of timing for whomever might eventually want to do it. It needs either a whole new arrangement or several years for folks to forget about it. In the meantime it’s great to have the Hoppers version to enjoy.

  13. PS: And I 100% agree “The Ride” is easily one of the best projects to come along in the last 10 years–and not just because I have a song on it.

  14. Yes, this would be a little too soon for another group to do it.

  15. Reason Enough by EHSS! 😛