CCM vs. SG Smackdown: "Wish You Were Here"

CCM vs. SG Smackdown: "Wish You Were Here" April 19, 2012

I’ve decided I’d like to start a new series. Here’s the idea: I take two songs, one drawn from Southern Gospel, the other drawn from a different genre like CCM or country,  that have very similar themes (maybe even similar titles)  and ask my readers which one they vote as better. Now, it would be all too easy to just pick a favorite either way and then choose something that’s obviously dreadful for the other side, but I’ll restrain myself to make it as fair as possible (although obviously I will have my own preferences). I should make it clear that my intention is not to set off a “SG versus x or y” flame-war among my readers. Rather, my hope  is that this series will ultimately showcase some of the best of all genres.

I thought I would start with two songs that happen to have not merely similar, but identical titles: “Wish You Were Here.” My readers will I’m sure be familiar with the song of that name that was recorded by the Kingsmen and became a big hit for them in the 90s. But there was also a beautiful song of the same name by CCM singer Mark Harris.
So, who wins this round? The Kingsmen or Mark Harris?
Make your choice and leave a comment!

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  • I have to go with the one by The Kingsmen.Beautiful song.

  • JSR

    Mark Harris. I think I would like the Kingsmen version better if it had been a solo throughout. I really enjoyed the verses, then they got to the chorus and I stopped listening. I went back and listened to the ending so I could give it a fair judgement. In contrast, the Mark Harris song didn’t catch me at first, but by the end I totally loved it…so there is my vote.

  • For the record, I think the Mark Harris song packs a lot more emotional meaning and whollop in the lyrics—the whole “postcard” idea in the Kingsmen song is nice and sweet, but it doesn’t just jerk the tears from me in the same way. However, southern gospel does tend to have stronger melodic lines than CCM, and I think that’s reflected here as well.

  • Lydia

    I think the Mark Harris is the clear winner. Yes, it’s a bit of an apples and oranges comparison, but IMO the Kingsmen song just doesn’t even show the best of what SG can do in the way of melodies. Its melody is certainly easier to pick up and more singable than the melody in the Harris song, yet it is _far_ too repetitive. I literally had to force myself to listen to the whole song, because it was pretty clear nothing was going to change and it was just going to be that same short little melodic line all the way through. In other words, I hate to say it about an SG song, but it’s dull. (Oh, I can’t resist saying: Did I just hear a SG song suggesting that the dead pray for us who are still here on earth? Really? Wow, never thought I’d see the day!)
    The Harris song is not strong on melody either, but only in the sense that so many CCM songs are “weak” on melody. And it does what a good CCM song of that kind does: It makes up in excitement, both in the lyrics and in the production, key change, bridge, etc., for what it lacks in tunefulness. I see something a little similar in the verses to “Mercy Came A-Runnin'” by PCD. (Though in fairness “Mercy Came A-Runnin'” has a stronger melody than the Harris “Wish You Were Here.” And the chorus is much stronger.) I hadn’t the slightest trouble listening to the whole Harris “Wish You Were Here.” Great lyrics. Pulls you in and keeps you interested.

  • Ha! You know, I never thought about that “dead praying for the living” part. Funny thought. 🙂
    Mark Harris used to write and sing with 4Him before having solo success (he’s the handsome dark guy with a beard) so he firmly belongs in the same “era” as PCD. Good CCM.