The Making of Billy Graham Tribute – I Can Only Imagine
The Billy Graham “I Can Only Imagine” tribute has has gained over one million views (and climbing) so far. The video/song is the work of WFSH/Atlanta (104.7 The Fish) Salem CCM VP Programming Mike Blakemore, and WFSH/KeepTheFaith personality Penny.
HisAir.Net asked Mike how the tribute song came about, “David Sams at Keep The Faith suggested using “I can only Imagine” as a song and I picked out the version with Mercyme and the London Symphony Orchestra. To me it was less known, but has an angelic quality that very much fits what I envisioned the song to be. Penny, in my opinion created her best tribute song ever. Without an instrumental version she had to create her own open spaces re-using parts of the song. But, if you ask her, she felt God moving her hands and the mouse to create this. Penny had more than enough material to choose from so in helping her, I instructed her to use Billy’s words the most and if it’s not Billy, it better be something that leaves you in awe… that makes your jaw drop. Something you maybe didn’t know. The story she included about Billy being the only civilian in the air over America rushing to perform a service at the national cathedral gave me chills. Billy meant that much to America… especially when America needed hope the most. Of course we instantly played it on the air and shared the song to other stations. As in the past, I decided to make a video version of her tribute song so it would have a new avenue to reach more people online.”
The video has taken on a life of it’s own. Just on Vimeo alone, the tribute song has over 1.1 million views for a video just under 6 minutes long!
Mike continued, “That breaks all the rules we’ve been told about videos on the internet! With God all things are possible! The video montage was literally created on my iPhone late that evening after I got Penny’s audio then under the covers in my bed and then early in the following morning until I was happy with it around 9am when it was released. The response has been unbelievable. Maybe the president will make it Billy Graham day in America! Wouldn’t that be great? Fairtrade was very kind to let us use the song as well as BGEA, SRN and Keep the Faith for many of the words and images we used. I love how Penny ended it with an alter call. I think that’s how Billy would have wanted it. One final call to save souls. It makes me want to watch and listen to it over and over.”
Penny has already created numerous tribute songs, sadly they are usually surrounding tragedies. This time it was a celebration of a remarkable life that impacted the world for Christ in ways very few have!
Watch on Vimeo here.
Watch on YouTube here.