Thinking Out Loud

July 17, 2015

Crossover Songs from the Past

In the early days of CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) artists simply hit the streets with their music, often selling records out of the trunk of a car. As distribution solidified and the concert scene got more sophisticated, Christian solo acts and bands started dreaming of elusive crossover hit; the record that would go viral (though we didn’t have that expression back then) in the secular mainstream.

Often this became an obsession. One speaker at a conference I attended was quick to remind attendees, “If you’re going to crossover, you’ve got to take the cross over.” It was a good lesson and perhaps a bit prophetic, given the number of songs today that could easily pass as boyfriend/girlfriend love songs. When you factor in that the norm today is vertical worship music, it makes the love crush songs seem even more desperate for acceptance.

In the middle of all this however, something more significant was taking place. What I would call reverse crossover songs. To a young Christian, hearing these bands reinforcing their faith would be a huge encouragement. Today I want to highlight three of these songs, and if I get direct messages on Twitter or comments here with other suggestions, we might do more of these again some time. We’ll start with one that was in the link list a few weeks ago.

Given The Osmond Brothers Mormon (LDS) heritage, this song, He’s the Light of the World should come as no surprise. The lyrics have a high percentage of scripture borrowing with some lines you’ll recognize from The Sermon on the Mount.

This next one I was always aware of, but I don’t know if I’d ever listened to it at the time all the way through. (More on that at the end of this article.) This is the Chairmen of the Board, whose biggest hit was Gimme Just a Little More Time. This one is I’m On My Way to a Better Place. The quality isn’t great, but the lyrics are clear. (If anyone wants to send me a better quality mp3 by email, I’ll post it on my own channel.)

The last one we’ve featured here before, but it’s an always timely song. The Chi-Lites There Will Never Be Any Peace was also recorded by Christian band The Imperials.

Finally, the common link in all these is a radio show from that era, called A Joyful Noise with Paul Baker (aka Frank Edmondson). You’ll hear a telescoped version of these and other songs. With this, I have two requests. First, if anyone can tell me where Paul/Frank ended up, I’d appreciate it. Second, I’m trying to get my hands on a similar telescoped music demo of a similar radio show The Rock That Never Rolls with Brother Dale (aka Dale Yancey). I had a reel-to-reel version of it, but now I can’t even find that. I’d love to post that on the Lost Music channel on YouTube, sponsored by the people I work for, Searchlight Books. That show was light years ahead of its time.


  1. Thanks for the post. The Chi-Lites was one of my favorite group from the 70’s, but I’ve never heard this particular song until now. Love it!

    Comment by The Old Black Church: — July 18, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

  2. Paul – I worked on The Rock TNR with brother Dale – I forwarded your request to him – I’m not sure if any of the media survived – it was on reel-to-reel tapes and studio cartridges . . . Jake Foley

    Comment by Jake Foley — July 30, 2015 @ 9:35 am

    • It would be nice to see it archived online — the demo reel was especially interesting — as we did with Paul Baker’s “Joyful Noise” show.

      Check out the channel sponsored by Searchlight Books (which I oversee) Youtube: Searchlightbooks

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — July 30, 2015 @ 10:07 am

  3. I am Paul Baker’s (AKA Frank Edmondson) wife. He found this last night and showed it to me-loved it! He is 70 years old today, March 4, and has been reminiscing, so he found this on an “ego search”! He is great, and retired for 5 years now. We live in Houston. He is very bad at answering people, so I thought I would answer you, since you have been so kind as to remember and honor his great contribution to CCM and CCM radio- yes, I’m a proud wife! I set up the FaceBook page below for him when he retired 5 years ago. Check it out!

    Comment by Debbie Edmondson — March 4, 2016 @ 11:48 am

    • Cool! I’ve sent you a longer response via the email address you provided. So great to connect.

      Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — March 4, 2016 @ 10:20 pm

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