Today is the 103rd birthday of George Beverly Shea, the Grammy-award winning Canadian-born American gospel singer and hymn writer. Shea has often been described as “America’s beloved Gospel singer” and is considered “the first international singing ‘star’ of the gospel world,” as a consequence of his solos at Billy Graham Crusades and his exposure on radio, records, and television. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Shea holds the world record for singing in person to the most people ever, with an estimated cumulative live audience of 220 million people.
Shea, of course, is a writer – of hymns, many of which, I’m certain, we know by heart. He has inspired many.
And for many, music is an inspiration in writing. Whether it’s gospel music like Mr. Shea’s, contemporary Christian, classical, or anything else, many write better when they have music on in the background. Others, however, like complete silence. And yet others get story ideas from music.
Happy birthday, Mr. Shea – you’ve inspired many of us. Some to write – and some in other ways.
Do you write with music in the background? If so, what type? Have you ever gotten a story idea from a song?