July 12, 2018

It Still Touches Lives

By the year 1969, the Imperials had established themselves in both the gospel markets and the secular markets. We were backing Jimmy Dean and had just agreed to work with Elvis. We came to the third album that we called Love Is the Thing. Our orchestra conductor for Jimmy Dean, John Miller, had become our good friend and we decided we wanted him to arrange vocals and orchestrate that record. This album contained some unique arrangements, unlike anything we had done before. This was our first true departure from the southern gospel stylings of the two previous releases.  John didn’t arrange every song but his influence on vocals was profound. A New World, A Quiet Place, Love Is the Thing, Love Like The Sun, For Once In My Life, and lastly, I Looked for Love, were John’s arrangements, vocally and instrumentally. Honestly, they were great on the album but didn’t translate at all to the stage. The other songs on that release became our stage songs. He Touched Me, God Speaking to You, (my arrangement), The Cross Medley, I’ve Got Confidence, Sweet Spirit were all songs that worked well on stage. In fact, Elvis heard this album and knowing he was about to do another gospel album, he asked us to cut He Touched Me with him, as well as I’ve Got Confidence.  He took two songs from our second album, Reach Out To Jesus and A Thing Called Love. That album won a Grammy for him, his third one and all three were his gospel releases. For us, our cut of He Touched Me was a powerful message of God’s reaching down to man and we shared it as many times as we could. Sweet Spirit became a standard on every Elvis show. I will tell you about that wonderful, anointed song, Sweet Spirit, next week. Just know that God was in the selection of that song and He knew it would touch many lives around the world. I’m so glad we chose that song for that album. It still touches lives today.

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