Ralph Carmichael: He’s Everything to Me
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Anyone who pays attention to Christian music is familiar with Ralph Carmichael. He’s everywhere–in our hymnals, in Billy Graham films, in recordings, sheet music and song books. This book tells his story, from growing up with parents who were Assembly of God revivalists, through his shaky college years, marriages and music business ventures.
He has arranged or composed for some of the best in the business, both Christian and secular. These include Nat King Cole, Duke Ellington, Kay Starr, Roger Williams, Stuart Hamblen, Debbie Reynolds, Pat Boone, Jimmy Durante, Pete Fountain, Don Rickles, Red Skelton, Frankie Laine, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald and Andrae Crouch. He has worked on weekly television shows and written lasting compositions that helped to define an era for young people, whom he always called “the kids”.
Carmichael, while always believing his musical ideas helped to reach a new generation with the message of the gospel, often saw opposition to his efforts. He would present concerts in some churches that asked him not to come back. He was caught between two schools of thinking in the presentation of the gospel via music. That his music endured and his efforts in reaching young people were blessed by God attests to the fact that he knew what he was doing. Although he worked with a variety of artists and musical styles, Carmichael never compromised when it came to putting out his own music, the music that he believed would best bring the gospel to “the kids”.
This book tells of a time just prior to the advent of full-fledged “Christian rock”. Ralph Carmichael paved the way for artists such as Larry Norman, DC Talk, Petra and Phil Keaggy. It provides a good history for those interested in Christian music in the modern era.