The Originals: He Touched Me

The Originals: He Touched Me

The suggestion to write a song emphasizing the word “touch” was made to William J. Gaither by evangelist Dr. Dale Oldham. “He Touched Me” was Gaither’s fifty-fourth song in a catalog that would eventually surpass 700. Gaither wrote the song in 1963, and the Bill Gaither Trio recorded it in 1964.

It may come as a surprise to some of you to learn the recording by Gaither’s own trio was not the first.

Earlier in 1964, Dr. Oldham’s son Doug Oldham recorded “He Touched Me.” It was the opening track on his 1964 album Songs That Touch The Heart. Aside from the color and one word in the title, the album’s cover was identical to Oldham’s previous release Songs That Lift The Heart.

Check out the original recording of “He Touched Me” below:

According to Hymnary.org, “He Touched Me” has been published in at least 20 hymnals over the years. The number of recordings is likely in the thousands considering that so many amateur groups have recorded the song as well as virtually every professional Southern Gospel artist. Several artists have released more than one version over the years including a considerable number by Gaither himself as part of the Bill Gaither Trio, the Gaither Vocal Band, and the Homecoming video series.

Below is a list of artists who have recorded “He Touched Me.” This list is a mere fraction of the total but is long enough to show the song’s vast impact.


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Category History

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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3 Comments

  1. Reply June 24, 10:53 #1 Kenny

    Earl Weatherford brought Bill Gaither to Akron to look at some of the songs Bill had written. Bill brought the original paper that he had written “He Touched Me” on.The Weatherfords actually were the first to record the song. Because the Imperials were also on the same label, the label decided to hold back the Weatherfods version so they could promote the Imperials version.

    • Reply June 24, 17:48 David Bruce Murray Author

      If the Weatherfords were the first to record the song, why would Bill Gaither himself say otherwise?

      The Doug Oldham recording was released in 1964…the Imperials recording was released in 1965. I’m content I have represented the facts accurately, considering the source of the information.

  2. Reply July 26, 22:27 #2 Quartet-man

    Steve Weatherford has said the Weatherfords version was recorded before the Imperials, but I can’t recall of he said they were the first ever to record, or just first between them and the Imperials. Perhaps that is where the confusion came in.

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