Written by Bill Gaither. Back in the ’60’s, Bill Gaither was traveling with Dr. Dale Oldham on an evangelical tour. Thinking back to my childhood, to me that means ‘revivals’ and ‘sings’. At one point Dr. Oldham told Bill the word “touch” is very important in the bible, very spiritual. Often used in describing how Jesus healed, or how God had an impact on someone’s life. He said Gaither ought to write a song about it… and it became Bill’s 54th and most popular song. Bill Gaither once commented that it’s popularity was something of a surprise. All the songs he’d written before, then suddenly this one just took off. There’s a wonderfully detailed version of the story here. It’s well worth reading. From there, the popularity of “He Touched Me” continued to grow. The song has been performed by many famous musicians including The Gaither Trio in 1964, but to me, of course, Elvis’ version had the most lasting impact. And, as always, my Uncle Freil. I can close my eyes and still hear him playing.
Typically, I post songs that are public domain, and generally have a happy, even toe-tapping, beat. (Though I’m beginning to run out of fast happy gospel music songs to play…) This is an exception because my Aunt Elaine (always Aunt “Lane” to me, as I thought it was when I was little) asked for it as a special request. Learning it was a struggle. I didn’t want to disappoint my Aunt. It needed to be beautiful, impressive, and treated with more dignity than my usual approach. After nearly a month of trying different approaches, and in different keys, nothing was working. Finally one morning I gave up trying to be impressive and just played how it sounded in my head. For what it’s worth, when I finally recorded the song it went perfectly on the first play-through. That’s NEVER happened before!
The final result may not be majestic, and it might be kind of simple, but it’s from my heart. And for my Aunt Lane.