In Moving Pics

The Story Behind “The Story” of CARMAN’S Classic Music Video “GREAT GOD”

I just found this old clip of Carman’s music video  “GREAT GOD” on Youtube… and it reminded me of an almost forgotten page out of my life…               

~  ~ ~

In the mid 90’s Contemporary Gospel Crooner Carman was at his zenith. His ‘Story’ Songs were compelling message music and the videos of these songs were brought to life by award-winning Director, Steve Yake.

There was no stopping these guys – Carman and his creative team were on a roll!  Then came his ground-breaking album -THE STANDARD.  And, as always, every song in the collection had its turn before the cameras – That is, all but one, it was called, “GREAT GOD!”  

Why was this single –singled out?   Simply put – It wasn’t a “STORY” song.  The lyrics did not tell a tale.  Instead, it voiced a declaration:

“He’s a great God / a mighty King / ruler over everything/ He’s a great God/ we will proclaim/ honor and glory to his name.”

Although the team was a mix of experienced innovators, they were so used to shooting ‘lyrical stories’ they  were not quite sure how to best display a ‘declaration’ on screen …That’s when I got a call.

  “Bart, can you help us solve this one?”   “I’ll give it a try.”

 Immediately I was sent an audio cassette of just a guitar and Carman’s rough unmixed vocal.  I played it over and over, listening for every nuance of meaning. And as it played, I continually asked myself, “How does one ‘visualize’ a declaration? “

  Ironically, when I got the call I was just completing a re-reading of ‘Foxxe’s Book of Martyrs;” a 400 year old manuscript detailing the trials and executions of Christians, from the Early Church through the Inquisition.  The book had haunted me since I first read it as a school boy and discovered that in 1556 an Englishman with my name, ‘BARTON GREENE’ had been burned at the stake for his faith!

  With the book’s indelible images in my head and Carman’s declaration in my ears, I soon realized the answer to the question … and I started to write.

  The result was not just another ‘story song’  – but rather a song INSIDE a story that became the most requested Christian music video of the 1990’s….The time-traveling testament  — “Great God.”       

~  ~ ~

By today’s standards GREAT GOD is far from sophisticated; its special effects are dated, and it has its share of laughable moments… But at its heart, it was the first baby step of many. It was a generation’s first real attempt to promote the Creator, creatively… and I am proud to have played my small ‘off camera’ part. -bg

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