The Originals: One Day At A Time

The Originals: One Day At A Time

Each article in The Originals series highlights the first recorded version of a popular Southern Gospel song.

Before I get to today’s song, I need your help! Chasing down the very first recording of a song is not always easy. Then, even if I am able to track down who first recorded a popular song, finding that very first version online where it can be linked to the article may not be possible. For this series of articles to continue, I need your suggestions and any insights you can add. I’ve reached out to a few Southern Gospel historians, but the more the merrier. Leave a comment if you are aware of any original recordings of popular songs.

Now, on to “One Day At A Time.”

Although many Southern Gospel groups have recorded “One Day At A Time” over the years, we have to turn to Country music to find the original version. Written by Marijohn Wilkin and Kris Kristofferson, “One Day At A Time” as recorded by Cristy Lane was a number one hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart on June 21, 1980. Before Lane’s version, a version recorded by the artist Gloria soared to the top of the Irish Singles chart in 1978, and remained in the Top 30 for 90 weeks, a record that has never been surpassed.

Many of Southern Gospel’s top groups recorded it prior to the success of Gloria or Christy Lane, but it was another Country singer who recorded it first. We have to go all the way back to 1974 to find the first artist who recorded the song. Her name is Marilyn Sellars. The Sellars version had some success. “One Day At A Time” reached the Top 20 on the Country charts, while Sellars’ LP by the same title was the number one Country album in October of 1974.

Here is the original recording by Marilyn Sellars:

The Blackwood Brothers, Cruse Family, Dixie Echoes, Hoppers, Jerry & The Goffs, London Parris & The Apostles, Plainsmen, Thrasher Brothers and Toney Brothers all recorded versions of this song in 1974. Since its introduction, the song has been covered by more than 200 Gospel and mainstream artists.

Below, I’ve posted a partial list of the Southern Gospel groups who have covered “One Day At A Time” over the years. The links will take you to MusicScribe’s sister website, SGHistory.com.


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David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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1 Comment

  1. Reply May 16, 02:32 #1 Dean Hughes

    Interestingly the Nelons version is a remake of a recording Janet Paschal made on a Lefevres table project in 1975 or 1976. Itunes actually has the Lefevres recording.

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