I Can Only Imagine


I Can Only Imagine

Infobox Single
Name = I Can Only Imagine


Artist = MercyMe
from Album = Almost There
Released = 2001
Format = CD
Radio airplay
Recorded = 2001
Genre = Pop rock, country, christian rock
Length = 4:08 (Album Version)
Label = INO Records
Producer = Pete Kipley
Chart position =
Reviews =
Last single =
This single = "I Can Only Imagine"
(2001)
Next single = "Word Of God Speak"
(2002)

"I Can Only Imagine" is a song recorded by contemporary Christian music group MercyMe. Released on MercyMe's 2001 debut album "Almost There", the song received major airplay on both Christian and mainstream radio. It earned three Dove Awards in 2002 for "Pop Song", "Song of the Year", and "Songwriter of the Year" for its author and MercyMe lead singer Bart Millard. The song is also their only single to date to receive significant airplay on Country radio, peaking at #52.

Background

Mercy Me's vocalist Bart Millard, whose father died in 1991 due to cancer, wrote the song in 1999 by drawing on his thoughts and personal faith about what one would experience upon meeting Jesus in Heaven.

The song attained the No. 1 spot on Christian radio in 2001 and churches began using the song in their worship services, but it was in 2003 when the song gained airplay on secular radio to impress the crowd. Dallas radio station 100.3 Wild-FM's morning show "The Fitz Radio Program" first played the song upon a caller's requests and the producer Tony Russell's urgings. It became one of the most requested songs not only at the Dallas radio station but also at radio stations across the United States as the band's label, INO Records, partnered with Curb Records to publicize the song.

The song was originally given to Amy Grant, who revised the lyrics and recorded it as "Imagine". Following the band's record contract, Grant decided to delay her own release of the song to allow MercyMe the chance to record and promote it as their own single first. Grant's version was later combined with "Sing the Wondrous Love of Jesus" and released on her 2002 album, "Legacy...Hymns and Faith".

Four other country music acts, Jeff Carson in 2003, Kathryn Scott in 2003, Wynonna Judd in 2005 and more recently Emerson Drive in 2007, have recorded their own versions of this song.

Quotations about "I Can Only Imagine"

"Regardless of what the message is, it's just a good song. If you're writing good music, you have a chance just like everyone else. Don't throw us a bone and play the song to clear your conscience -- play the song because it's a good song!" -- Bart Millard, in an interview for "ASCAP Playback" Fall 2003

References

* [http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,91175,00.html "Christian Rock crosses over"] by Ramsay Adams, July 6, 2003, "Fox News". Retrieved December 15, 2005.
* [http://www.integritymusic.com/worship/artist/0603.html "I Can Only Imagine" impacts mainstream radio"] by Natalie Nichols Gillespie, no date, "IntegrityMusic.com". Retrieved December 15, 2005.
* [http://www.ascap.com/playback/2003/fall/radar-mercyme.html "Radar report: The quality of MercyMe"] by Karen Correa, Fall 2003, "ASCAP Playback". Retrieved December 15, 2005.
* [http://www.christianitytoday.com/tc/2003/002/14.16.html "Story behind the song: Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine"] by Linda Owen, March/April 2003, "Christianity Today". Retrieved December 15, 2005.


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