They were all slow, creaking antiques with archaic language, deadly dull, repetitive lyrics, and simplistic marching-band melodies.
I will sing the wondrous story of the Christ who died for me.
How He left His home in glory, for the cross of Calvary.
Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms.
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.
What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
And those are the liveliest. I felt like stripping off my Sunday suit and tie, just to mix things up a bit.
If there ever were dreams that were lofty and noble, they were my dreams at the start.
And hope for life's best were the hopes that I harbored down deep in my heart.
The marketplace is empty, no more traffic in the street.
All the builders' tools are silent, no more time to harvest wheat.
Interesting images, a vocabulary larger than 10 words, and melodies that didn't put you to sleep. Not exactly Led Zeppelin, but a thousand times better than "Leaning, leaning, leaning."
At first he was met with resistance: parents refused to allow their children to attend his concerts, and pastors denounced his songs as Satanic. But by the 1970s, the new hip Jesus People-Campus Crusade crowd of evangelicals latched onto him, sometimes even the more progressive Nazarenes.
He performed in the Bill Gaither Trio, with his brother Danny and his sister Mary Anne and friend Gary McSpadden (the one with the whitest teeth).
Ok, so what's the gay connection?
1. Did you see the way these guys hung all over each other?
2. Speaking of hung, live performances were always...um...interesting.
3. Bill Gaither singing "He touched me."
4. Mark Lowry, former member of the Gaither Vocal Band, is reputedly gay.
6. Son Benjy Gaither wrote and performs three songs in Bridegroom (2013), about the legal and emotional hurdles faced by a gay man after his partner dies.
See also: The Sanderson Boys Get Naked.