Song Snapshots is a column featuring the stories behind new and classic Southern Gospel songs.
One year, Belinda Smith, Tony Wood, and Barry Weeks went up to the National Quartet Convention, just to hear the evening’s program.
“I think that as a writer, the moments that hit me might be a little different than the moments that hit other listeners,” Belinda Smith recalls. “That night, the Gaither Vocal Band sang ‘Had it Not Been.’ It has this gorgeous melody, and sparse lyrics. It is amazing; it just makes you want to stand up and hold your imaginary lighter! There was something so simple and perfect about that performance.”
On the way back home, the three writers talked about how flawless the performance was. Later that week, Tony Wood and Belinda Smith were scheduled to write together. “When we got into the writing room,” Smith said, “Tony had already come up with the lines ‘not that you died for the whole world / but that You died for me.’”
Smith and Wood wanted the song to have a similar feel to “Had it Not Been.” While the two songs don’t sound alike, “Not That You Died” was defined by “”the scarcity of the lyric, and the rise and fall of the melody.”
“So that was totally inspired by an old song,” Belinda Smith concludes. “Legacy Five did an amazing job on it.”