When Bill and Gloria Gaither first started the Homecoming series, popularity was very high. However, over time, that popularity has fallen off, leading some websites to mock the continuation of the video series (though I have to admit that I chuckled when I read it). While many will probably attribute the decline in popularity to the passings of some of gospel music’s greatest legends, I think there may be another reason.
I believe one of the reasons the Homecoming series has fallen off is due to some poor song choices to use on the video. Not that the songs are bad, but I just don’t think they had the same impact that others would have.
When the Homecoming series started, a large majority of the songs sung were ones that a majority of the viewing audience. However, as time went on in the series, they started to feature newer songs sung by the individual artists. You didn’t have the same sing-along feel that the early videos had.
However, the recent “Tent Revival Homecoming” and “The Old Rugged Cross” videos were very popular. These videos didn’t feature the legends of the early homecomings, but rather it was the songs that brought me back to the feelings I had watching the earlier videos.
So, this is my personal memo to Bill Gaither, even though he will likely never read this. There was an electricity in those early Homecoming videos that was second-to-none. Even though you cannot physically bring back some of the gospel legends that helped make those videos great, your song selection was another strong element of the videos. Keep the old classics fresh and alive by introducing them to a whole new generation of gospel music lovers. In my mind, thats what makes your videos great. Sure it was nice to see Vestal, George, Glen, Rex, J.D., and others, but what made the videos great at least to me was the feeling of singing along with my favorite artists. However, its difficult for your viewing audience to sing along to songs that they do not know.