Sunday, February 19, 2017

Vespers: The Old Rugged Cross


Alan Eugene Jackson (born October 17, 1958) sings "The Old Rugged Cross."

Jackson is an American singer and songwriter. He is known for blending traditional honky tonk and mainstream country sounds and penning many of his own songs. Jackson has recorded 16 studio albums, three greatest hits albums, two Christmas albums, two gospel albums and several compilations.

"The Old Rugged Cross" is a popular hymn written in 1912 by evangelist and song-leader George Bennard (1873–1958). As a Methodist evangelist, Bennard wrote the first verse of "The Old Rugged Cross" in Albion, Michigan, in the fall of 1912 as a response to ridicule that he had received at a revival meeting.

Published in 1915, the song was popularized during Billy Sunday evangelistic campaigns by two members of his campaign staff, Homer Rodeheaver (who bought rights to the song for $50 or $500) and Virginia Asher, who were perhaps also the first to record it in 1921. The Old Rugged Cross uses a sentimental popular song form with a verse/chorus pattern in 6
8 time, and it speaks of the writer's Christian experience rather than his adoration of God.

Bennard retired to Reed City, Michigan, and the town maintains a museum dedicated to his life and ministry. A memorial has also been created in Youngstown at Lake Park Cemetery. A plaque commenorating the first performance of the song stands in front of the Friend's Church in Sturgeon Bay, WI.

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