What are the most distinctive song intros in Southern Gospel? What are those intros the fans instantly recognize–the sort where they start applauding even before the first word is sung?

In compiling this list, I specifically focused on intros that were not just a repeat of the last line or two of the song–on unique riffs that added something to the song and in most cases were motifs repeated throughout the song.

Most of the songs on this list come from recent years, since I focus on intros that would be most familiar to a Southern Gospel fans today.

  1. “Champion of Love” (Cathedrals, Legacy Five, Greater Vision). I’m going to go out on a limb and state that this is the most distinctive song intro in Southern Gospel.
  2. “Jerusalem” (Hoppers). Although “Jerusalem” may not be the most popular song the Hoppers ever recorded (that would probably be “Shoutin’ Time,”) it is their most recognizable intro.
  3. “My Name is Lazarus” (Greater Vision). The unbridled energy of the intro set the tone for Greater Vision’s breakout hit.
  4. “Midnight Cry” (Gold City). Garry Jones came up with numerous distinctive intros during his time arranging for Gold City, but this is probably the one that is most recognizable today.
  5. “I Know I’m Going Home” (Triumphant Quartet). I’m probably going to be criticized for putting a 2007 song on the list, but this one stood out from the pack of current songs. We don’t know whether it will stand the test of time, but it at least stands a chance.

Honorable mentions include:

  • “This Old House” (Cathedrals)
  • “When We All Get to Heaven” (Brian Free & Assurance)
  • “For God So Loved” (live 2005 version) (BF&A)
  • “Not Even a Stone” (Perrys)
  • “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” (a Gold City concert opener about ten years ago)