A few days ago, Relevant magazine published an article celebrating some of the songs by Keith Green in memory of his death on July 28th, 1982. They believe that these songs changed worship music and it’s hard to argue against that. You can read the article and listen to the songs here:
Yet, one of the songs that they listed as a Keith Green song was not actually written by Keith Green. Let me try to explain.
In the late 70’s in Sikeston, Barry Wallace, our music minister and a faithful deacon at our Church, was writing songs and playing them in groups around town who got together to share and worship. One song that he shared with this group was ‘Create in me a clean heart,’ based on David’s confession in Psalm 51. There was a particular person in the group who moved out of the city and began playing that song at other churches. It is possible that he was not even aware that Barry had actually written the song. Then in 1983 the song appeared in a Maranatha praise song collection. The author was listed as ‘unknown.’ Apparently the song had gained some popularity in enough churches or in the right circles that Maranatha included it in their collection.
(Barry and I playing in the park a couple years ago)
After the tragic loss of Keith Green in 1982, an album was released in 1984 titled “Jesus commands us to Go!” which included some previously unreleased recordings. One of the songs on that album is ‘Create in me a clean heart.’ It is unknown how Keith came across the song, but this was the first released recording of the song and led to its popularity. Of course, everyone assumed that Keith Green wrote it, an idea that makes sense when you look back on the story.
So then, without even trying, Barry got a song recorded by Keith Green and it became a very encouraging song to thousands of folks through the years. How great is that! If you have never heard it before, then give a listen to Keith’s recording that made it famous:
Pretty amazing story about a very encouraging song (and two great song writers!)