(To learn how to play Blessed Assurance on piano, click on the video below at bottom of page)
Blessed Assurance was written in 1873 by Fanny J. Crosby, music by Phoebe P. Knapp in the same year. This is a perfect example of serendipitous inspiration. During a visit to the Phoebe’s home, Fanny had a new melody to share. The Knapps were having a pipe organ put in, and it was as yet unfinished. So Fanny sat down to the piano, and played her latest creation. Finishing, she asked “What do you think the tune says?”
Phoebe immediately answered, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!” It was printed in July 1873, in the Palmers “Guide to Holiness and Revival Miscellany”. This may not have been the first printing, but it’s the primary point at which Blessed Assurance began the rise to popular acknowledgment.
One of the more amazing things about Fanny Crosby was her lack of eyesight. Blind since infancy, yet known as the “premier hymnist of the gospel song period.” Fanny (known after her marriage as Frances van Alstyne) wrote over 8,000 hymns, and had over 100 million copies in print. Quite an amazing woman, and worth learning more about.
Blessed Assurance is slower than my typical favorites, but even so it’s still among my favorites for one very major reason; this was another of my uncle Friel’s hallmark songs. I can remember him playing it in several churches over the years. Thinking of the song always brings back those memories, and the beautiful way he played it. So much of my love for music, and gospel music in particular, is founded on memories of him playing the piano. It’s no wonder he comes to mind so often in these posts.
My own version is inspired by Friel, but has a bit more of a country twist than his did. Monique has been worried that in my quest to improve my playing, I’d lose that ‘touch’ that made it uniquely mine. With Blessed Assurance, I may have gone too far the other direction. It was a tough decision, but in the end, there were many versions of the hymn on Youtube that sounded more traditional, but none that sounded like me. So… ‘Me’ is what I gave it. :^)
Hope you like it! (And if you do, you can learn how to play it exactly the same with the video below.)