The contemporary Christian group, MercyMe, first got its start as a band in 1994 in the Henderson Hills Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma when singer Bart Millard met with pianist James Phillip Bryson while in Florida. The two led a praise team while on a European trip, the two felt a calling to work as full-time musicians. Later, the two met guitarist Michael John Scheuchzer before the trio moved to Oklahoma City. Come 1997, the trio moved to Nashville, Tennessee in hopes to find a record label. From there, they headed to Dallas, Texas, and recorded their first studio album. Later, they settled in Greenville, Texas where they served at the Highland Terrace Baptist Church while living out of an old abandoned daycare center that also served as their studio. Soon afterward, Nathan Cochran and Robby Shaffer joined the band and together released six independent projects before signing up with INO Records in 2001.
The name, MercyMe, originated as a play on words such as Bart Millard’s tale about his grandmother’s concern about him spending so much time as a youth ministry intern in Florida. Now at 2021, MercyMe has recorded and released a total of ten studio albums, along with three compilation albums, two video albums, and twenty-eight singles that has mostly been number one hits on a variety of Christian music charts, as well as many nominations and awards, including a 2018 Top Christian Artist recognition by the Billboard Music Awards. They are one of the most popular Christian music acts of all time along with such artists as Amy Grant, Lauren Daigle and Kirk Franklin.
Top 10 MercyMe songs
#10 – Move
In 2014, The Generous Mr. Lovewell was released as MercyMe’s sixth studio album. From it, “Move” was the third single in a row that didn’t just reach the Christian music charts, but topped them. Clap happy and inspirational, this song was number one on the US Billboard Christian Hot Songs chart and the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart. The theme of “Move ,”was about persevering through adversity as a means to move forward instead of remaining stuck in a rut.
As a song meant to move people, the rock-style dance number had been compared to the same style of music Maroon 5 is known for. Most of the critics and fans enjoyed it, and have considered this among the favorites as not just a Christian song, but simply a motivational one to let the past stay where it belongs and move in any given direction to get away from it and simply trust it’s the right one.
#9 – All of Creation
From the sixth studio album, The Generous Mr. Lovewell was 2004’s “All of Creation,” spent several weeks on the Christian music charts and received tremendous airplay from related radio stations. On the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart and the US Billboard Christian Hot Songs chart, All of Creation peaked at number one. This single, along with the rest of the album, was intended to celebrate the basic principles of what makes Christianity what it is, starting with the birth of Jesus Christ, his life, and his death, only to rise again for the benefit of sinful mankind.
“All of Creation,” focused more heavily on the power and importance of love, which is the greatest commandment that has been assigned to mankind as this was the very reason behind God’s creation of Jesus and how love continues to fuel him to save as many people as possible by putting love as the only lifeline that matters.
#8 – Best News Ever
Released on October 5, 2018, “Best News Ever” was the third single released from MercyMe’s ninth studio album, Lifer. For Bart Millard, he felt this was one of the best messages from the album as it reminded him of his childhood, growing up to be all he can be. It also hit him the Christian reality that the hard work had already been accomplished by his Lord Savior, Jesus Christ, and all he had to do was just be a spreader of the good news.
This has been something Millard, along with MercyMe has done over the years as the contemporary gospel music that has been brought forth with such brilliance is the very reason why they’ve been so successful. On the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart, it peaked at number one and was a number-four hit on the US Billboard Christian Songs chart.
#7 – So Long Self
On the US Billboard Christian Hot Christian Songs chart and the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart, “So Long Self” peaked at number one as the first single released in 2004 by MercyMe’s fourth studio album, Coming Up to Breathe. Perhaps the highlight of the self-need to kick personal egos to the curb came during the bridge of the song when Bart Millard’s lyrical delivery delivered a classic rock-style performance, which is later followed by a guitar solo to bring the song to an end.
#6 – Here with Me
The powerful, piano-driven ballad, “Here with Me” was recorded at a number of different locations, then arranged at the studio before it was released. The influential vibe of Christian, pop, rock, and worship blended as one has been the trademark sound of MercyMe since the beginning. It served as the lead single to MercyMe’s third studio album, Undone, which was released in 2004. The lyrical tale revolved around God’s omnipotence, which earned favor from the music critics and the fans. On many different Christian radio charts, Here with Me peaked at number one. including the US Billboard Hot Christian Songs and the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart. It also became a number twelve hit on the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart, as well as number thirty-eight on the US Billboard Adult Top 40.
#5 – Grace Got You (featuring John Reuben)
In 2018, “Grace Got You” became the second hit single produced from MercyMe’s ninth studio album, Lifer. On the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart it was a number one hit and the US Billboard Christian Songs chart, this collaborated single featuring John Reuben became a number three hit. The hip-hop installment of Reuban’s vocals saw him briefly come out of retirement by MercyMe’s request to work together on this inspirational piece that served as a boost of confidence among Christian believers that God does indeed have their backs through a simple thing called grace. This single also became the third time in a row MercyMe saw a single certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
#4 – Flawless
“Flawless” was the third single released from MercyMe’s eighth studio album, Welcome to the New, which came out in 2014. On the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart, it peaked at number one and was a number two hit on the US Billboard Christian Songs chart. Flawless also became an RIAA-certified gold success after selling over 500,000 copies, thanks to the acoustics, plus the inspirational message lyrically performed by Brad Millard. The build-up that leads into a soft delivery that remained uplifting has made this one of the clear fan favorites that continually serves as a Christian reminder that grace takes the flawed and makes it flawless. The choral addition to the song near the end added a goosebump feeling that the song is flawless too.
#3 – Greater
From MercyMe’s eighth studio album, Welcome to the New, “Greater” peaked as high as number one on the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart in 2014, as well as number two on the US Billboard Christian Songs chart. It has also sold over 500,000 copies, which made it become a certified gold commercial success. With the mix of toe-tapping country and folk elements in Greater, it served as a good pick-me-up single that made it an easy-listening favorite, especially when sitting around at a campfire or at a social gathering with a few friends.
#2 – Even If
In 2017, “Even If” didn’t waste time reaching the number one spot on the US Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart, which was the first single released from MercyMe’s ninth studio album, Lifer. It stayed at the top of the chart for three weeks and had since become certified platinum hit by the RIAA. Within Even If, there were samples of the chorus from the hymn, It Is Well with My Soul, which was first published in 1876 in Gospel Hymns No. 2. This catchy, get-on–your-feet worship Christian song rightfully earned its place as among the best songs to grace the radio stations. Stomping with the power of praise by Bart Millard and his bandmates demonstrated MercyMe is every bit as capable of bringing forth the best the music industry has to offer, regardless of genre.
#1 – I Can Only Imagine
“I Can Only Imagine” was the second single released from MercyMe’s debut album, Almost There. Since its 2001 release, it has reached the music charts, off and on, until as recently as 2018. I Can Only Imagine was a directly Christian song as it lyrically performed its gospel message. In 2002, it was the most played Christian single and peaked at number one on the US Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary chart and it peaked at number one again in 2018 on the US Billboard Christian Songs chart.
The inspiration of imagining what it would be like to stand before God saw this single become certified platinum four times over by the RIAA. It also became a crossover hit into the mainstream charts, including the US Billboard Adult Contemporary chart when it peaked at number five in 2003. It also charted as high a number twenty-seven on the US Billboard Adult Top 40, and at number thirty-three on the US Billboard Mainstream Top 40, also in 2003. In that same year, “I Can Only Imagine,” also made a number seventy-three chart appearance on the US Billboard Hot 100.
In 2004, the single charted yet again, this time at number fifty-two on the US Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Even France, in 2012, enjoyed the Christian pop enough to have it chart at number sixty-five. Both the fans and the critics were in agreement the vocal range performed by Bart Millard was nothing short of chilling and spectacular, and it held nothing back when it came to making it clear where he and MercyMe stood with their beliefs.
Top 10 MercyMe Songs article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2022
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