SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL: The Stories Behind a Half-Century of the Songs of Bill and Gloria Gaither
Over the last 50 years, Bill and Gloria Gaither have shaped the songs we sing and the music we listen to in more ways than many of us ever will realize. Together, they have written some of the most beloved choruses and songs of a generation, including “Because He Lives,” “Since Jesus Passed By” and “God Gave the Song.” In SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL, readers are invited to learn the behind-the-scenes inspiration for more than 70 Gaither songs as Gloria Gaither shares the intimate background of each tune.
In each story, readers discover rich portraits of the Gaithers’ family, ministry and life. Gaither shares the fear and uncertainty surrounding the birth of their son Benjamin, which eventually became the seedling for the song “Because He Lives.” She tells the story of “Going Home,” which was inspired by their daughter Suzanne’s joy for returning home after a long road trip.
Describing the inspiration of her husband, Bill, for the song “He Touched Me,” Gaither says that when Bill originally shared the lyric “And now I am no longer the same!” she suggested he rework the line to be more specific. While he graciously acknowledged her suggestion, he kept the verse as it was --- just as it came to him. The next weekend, it was being performed live. Since its writing, the song has become the most recorded that the Gaithers ever penned. Recorded by artists including Elvis Presley, the Imperials and George Beverly Shea, it’s been translated in dozens of languages and sung around the world. Gloria writes, “I still cringe a little when I think that we could have lost its most powerful line…had he listened to me.”
Along the way readers will discover the phrases and ideas that captured the Gaithers’ hearts and imagination. They’ll discover the birthing stories of the songs --- some of which came easily and others with much more difficulty. The best part of the book is that you do not need to know every song in order to appreciate the richness and depth of the lyrics, the revelations of God and His kingdom and theological reflections that line the pages.
Poets and songwriters will enjoy the insights into writing that dot the pages. For instance, Gaither says that at times secular interviewers will ask them how they keep writing tunes with religious themes. After more than 700 songs, don’t you begin to run out of ideas? Gaither responds graciously that it is no more possible to exhaust the story of Jesus than to run out of the stories of life. The story of God’s love is new every morning!
As a bonus, the hardcover features more than a dozen pages of color photos from the Gaithers’ career. Images of Bill playing for a youth group in his father’s farmhouse as well as the Gaithers with Larnelle Harris and Bill George are welcome reminders of their legacy and impact over the years.
In essence, SOMETHING BEAUTIFUL is the soundtrack of Bill and Gloria Gaither’s lives. Reading this book is a reminder of God’s grace, power and redemption. It is a must-have for fans of the Gaithers, songwriters and music lovers.
--- Reviewed by Margaret Oines
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