The Essential Songwriter Collection series lists ten songs each from legendary songwriters that every Southern Gospel fan should add to their collections.

  1. God Saw a Cross (Kingsmen, Missing People, 2009). These lists stick to recorded versions—otherwise, Ernie Phillips’ show-stopping renditions during the half-year he filled in with the Kingsmen, earlier this year, would be named here.
  2. He’d Still Been God (Greater Vision, When I See the Cross, 1997). The Freemans’ rendition is so popular that this is perhaps the most controversial choice on the list. But the enduring live popularity of Greater Vision’s rendition in their sets plays a role in its selection here.
  3. His Scars (Perrys, This is The Day, 2003). This is perhaps the least expected song to make the top ten list—but it is one of the most deserving. This is a hidden gem that could be positively huge for the right group.
  4. I Know I’m Going There (Kingdom Heirs, NQC Live Vol. 4, 2004). Rodney Griffin has written more than a few strong uptempo quartet songs; this is the strongest. The Kingdom Heirs’ studio rendition is strong, but the true potentional of the song was only realized live.
  5. If You Knew Him (Perrys, Almost Morning, 2009). Granted, because a member of the Perrys co-wrote the song, most people think of Joseph Habedank when they think of the song. This was, however, a Griffin co-write.
  6. Just Ask (Greater Vision, Quartets, 2003). This is probably the strongest feature Greater Vision ever had for their long-time tenor Jason Waldroup.
  7. My Name is Lazarus (Greater Vision, Far Beyond This Place, 1999). Of course.
  8. A Pile of Crowns (Greater Vision, Live at First Baptist Atlanta, 2002). The song is neither a toe-tapper nor a soaring anthem, but it’s still one of the strongest lyrics Griffin has ever penned.
  9. Soon We Will See (Greater Vision, Live at First Baptist Atlanta, 2002). This song is the anchor, the highlight of what many still point to as Greater Vision’s greatest recorded accomplishment.
  10. The Voice I Could Not Resist (Greater Vision, My Favorite Place, 2005). This song and “His Scars” are probably the two least likely picks on this list. Yet we must not forget that Griffin is also a vocalist, and this is quite likely the finest vocal performance of his career—conveying one of his most exquisitely crafted lyrics.
The ten that almost made the list: Anchor of Hope, The Depths of the Father’s Love, Don’t Let the Sandals Fool You, Faces, God Will Pass By, He Had to Rise, He Is to Me, He Locked the Gates, He’s Still Waiting By the Well, We Seek Your Face.

What do you consider to be the definitive versions of Rodney Griffin’s songs?