Here’s a new approach to determining the top overall songwriter(s) over the period of a year. I’ve taken the top five songs from each month in Singing News starting in February 2017 and concluding in January 2018. (I chose to include January 2018 rather than January 2017 because January 2018’s chart is based on 2017 airplay data.)
For each number one song, I assigned 30 points. Number two received 24 points; number three received 18 points; number four received 12 points; and number five received 6 points. If a song had just one writer, they received all the points. Points were divided equally when a song had co-writers.
Why did I use a multiple of 6? Some songs had three co-writers, and some had two. 6 was the lowest multiple that would work.
Here are the point results for songs heard on Southern Gospel radio in 2017:
1. Gerald Crabb (78)
2. Joel Lindsey (73)
3. Rodney Griffin (60)
4. Wayne Haun (58)
5. Regina Walden (54)
Crabb, Lindsey, and Haun were co-writers on multiple songs. Griffin and Walden were each the sole writer of a single hit song that reached number one.
Ideally, I would like to include more charts and consider the Top 10 songs from each, but there are only so many hours in a day!
I do think this result, limited though it may be, means we should not be at all surprised that Griffin will be going for his 20th consecutive Favorite Songwriter Fan Award in 2018. Griffin still landed in the Top Three even after I removed fan-bias from the process. He wins because he’s a perennial favorite who also happens to be an artist, sure, but this shows he also wins because he’s a consistently great songwriter whose newly written songs consistently achieve high rankings.
Fans aren’t wrong to continue to vote for Griffin, in other words, but these results also show that fans ARE wrong when they fail to nominate non-artist songwriters and favor artist songwriters so highly. It’s not their fault. They just aren’t engaged enough to realize who is really doing most of the great writing.
Gerald Crabb did make it to the Top Ten on the Singing News ballot in 2017, but of course, he traveled for years in the past with what was arguably the top group in the industry at the time. I’m only aware of one true non-artist songwriter who has made it to the Singing News Top Ten ballot in recent years, and that is Dianne Wilkinson.
I’d like to see Singing News give Griffin his fair shot at a 20-year run in 2018. In 2019, I’d love to see the Favorite Songwriter award combined with the Favorite Song category. Award the artist for their performance of the song, then top that off by declaring whoever wrote it the Favorite Songwriter (including all co-writers, of course, if applicable).
Fans aren’t going to vote for songwriters they rarely see, but they do vote for the songs they write.
Are you curious to know who wrote 2017’s Favorite Song? They’re BOTH on this Top Five list. Joel Lindsey and Wayne Haun co-wrote “Living In The Promised Land” which was recorded by Triumphant Quartet.
Facts are facts.