What makes a song a Classic?
Discussion over the last two days on Thursday’s Albums of Current Hits post has prompted quite a few interesting thoughts in the comments section. One of the areas touched on in the wide-ranging discussion deserves some further thought. What makes a song a classic, and what does that mean for the song?
The Kingsmen’s “Glory Road” was once new. That was in 1973. Within three years, just about every group out there (a slight exaggeration, but you get the idea) had recorded the song and was performing it live in concerts.
The Cathedrals’ “Boundless Love” was once new, too. But today many groups have tried their own version of the song.
For a modern day classic, try “Glory to God in the Highest.” It’s been done by the Inspirations, Brian Free & Assurance, the Old Friends Quartet, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, and most recently the Inspirations again.
Some songs are signature songs for a group. What makes a song a Southern Gospel classic?
To pass the initial threshold, of course, it has to be a great song with a timeless message. It has to not only be a great song, but a song that connects with the fans. That’s the minimum threshold. But I think there’s a little more.
I believe that a song becomes a Southern Gospel classic when it “belongs” to no particular group but rather to the genre itself.
Several current songs have met that standard, one of which I named earlier. Others hopefully will. Let’s save the discussion of which songs are modern-day classics for another post. For today, let’s just see how well we agree on the definition itself.