Was there a better year for Gospel Music than 1985?

by David Bruce Murray | September 8, 2022 2:00 PM

Was there a better year for Gospel Music than 1985?

The Cathedrals were in the middle of the Danny & Mark years. Gold City was in the Brian & Ivan years. The Kingsmen had Anthony and Big Jim. For those with nostalgia for the 1950s and 1960s, Jake, James, JD, and Hovie were still traveling as the Masters V. Pretty much all the music was still live.

Groups like the Nelons, Gaither Vocal Band, Dixie Melody Boys, and the Imperials were trying out all sorts of new styles, but still keeping a bass singer in the mix.

Speaking of the GVB, that was the year Michael English joined them, but 1985 started with him and the Singing Americans at number one on the airplay charts with “I Bowed On My Knees.” Also near the top of the charts were songs like “I’m A Jesus Fan” by the Paynes, “An Old Convention Song” by the Cathedrals, and “It Wasn’t Raining When Noah Built The Ark” by the Hemphills.

By mid-year, some of the hits were “John Saw” by Gold City, “Somebody Touched Me” by the Cathedrals, “Thinking About Home” by the Talleys, and “When He Was On The Cross” by the Florida Boys.

The Florida Boys were at the very top of the chart in December with the same song and “Somebody Touched Me” was also still hanging around. Also near the top were “A Different Way” by HeavenBound and “Gone At Last” by Jimmy Swaggart.

There was still a professional level of respect for the growing CCM market in 1985, evidenced by Steve Green on the cover of the December 1985 issue of Singing News and an announcement for the birth of the daughter of David Meece appearing beside a wedding announcement for the daughter of Jim Hamill.

Other groups you could see in 1985…Segos & Naomi, McKameys, Freemans, Hoppers, Speers, Primitives, Spencers, Perry Sisters, Hinsons, Dixie Echoes, Inspirations, Wendy Bagwell & The Sunliters, and Heavenbound.

I was alive in 1985, but did not get to see very many of these groups. I did not attend NQC, partly because I was a poor college student at the time, but more so because I wasn’t really aware of it!

I did see a few like the Singing Americans (but after Michael had left), Brian & Ivan with Gold City, the Segos, Primitives, Masters V, Speers, Wendy Bagwell & The Sunliters, the Talleys, the Nelons, and a few more. I didn’t see them all specifically in 1985, but give or take a year or two, I saw them in that general era. Great times!

I wish I could have seen more of them.

So…was 1985 the best year ever?

If not, make your case for a different year.

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