Daily Archives: March 14, 2008

100 Greatest Worship Songs of All Time

…In my opinion. To me. Subjectively… These are the 100 most worshipful songs of all time. Now, before you start reading, recognize a few things:

  • I am defining “worship songs” VERY broadly. Essentially this includes hymns and contemporary praise music, but also ancient classical music, arias, jazz, secular rock, etc…
  • This list is not limited to songs that make me think about God and Jesus (though obviously a lot of them do). No, these are simply the songs that pack the biggest holiness punch when I listen to them. They are the songs that you can’t help but close your eyes to—the songs that are so beautiful, so alive, so longing, so emotional, that you feel the true transcendent power of art: what George Steiner calls “the most ‘ingressive’, trans-formative summons available to human experiencing.”
  • After I compiled this list I looked over it to see what—if anything—these songs had in common. I found that a large number of them deal with topics of home—of “homelands” or “homelessness”—and also of memory/nostalgia/loss. A lot of them are sad and melancholy, reflecting upon the pain of unfound peace. These are the songs that make longing visceral—that point to the holy other and the heavens. To quote Steiner again, these are the songs “which inform us of the visitor’s visa in place and in time which defines our status as transients in a house of being whose foundations, whose future history, whose rationale—if any—lie wholly outside our will and comprehension.” (Note: Updated list, 2012)

jesus_icon.jpg100) Jesus was a Crossmaker – The Hollies
99) Someone to Watch Over Me – Ella Fitzgerald
98) Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
97) From the Inside Out – Hillsong
96) Grandma Mary – Denison Witmer
95) Vincent – Don McLean
94) Welcome, Ghosts – Explosions in the Sky
93) ‘Round Midnight – Miles Davis
92) All for Jesus – Robin Mark
91) Lead Me to the Cross – Hillsong United
90) This Road – Jars of Clay
89) These Are My Mountains – Scottish traditional
88) Draw Me Close To You – Kelly Carpenter
87) I’ll Fly Away – Albert Brumley
86) (That’s How You Sing) Amazing Grace – Low
85) God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
84) Lead of Love – Caedmon’s Call
83) And Can it Be That I Should Gain? – Charles Wesley
82) Das Rheingold – Wagner
81) Blessed Assurance – Fanny Crosby
80) Nothing But the Blood – Robert Lowry
79) Death in His Grave – John Mark McMillan
78) Exit Music (For A Film) – Radiohead
77) Stardust – Nat King Cole
76) Everlasting God – Lincoln Brewster
windowslivewritericonpaintingasaspiritualpath-7e37clip-image0081.jpg 75) People Get Ready – Curtis Mayfield
74) Our Great God – Fernando Ortega
73) Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell
72) Lilac Wine – Jeff Buckley
71) Orphan Girl – Gillian Welch
70) Long Lost Brother – Over the Rhine
69) What a Friend We Have in Jesus – Joseph Scriven
68) The King of Love My Shepherd Is – Irish traditional
67) Heysatan – Sigur Ros
66) Claire De Lune – Debussy
65) Danny Boy – Irish traditional
64) 40 – U2
63) The Four Seasons – Vivaldi
62) Down to the River to Pray – Alison Krauss
61) The Trumpet Child – Over the Rhine
60) Fantasia on Theme by Thomas Tallis – Ralph Vaughn Williams
59) Carry Me Home – Hem
58) Hymn – Jars of Clay
57) Knocking On Heaven’s Door – Bob Dylan
56) What Wondrous Love is This – traditional
55) Psalm 131 – Waterdeep
54) A Change is Gonna Come – Sam Cooke
53) Give Me Jesus – Fernando Ortega
52) A Mighty Fortress Is Our God – Martin Luther
51) I’ve Been High – REM
50) You Are Holy (Prince of Peace) – Michael W. Smith
49) Intervention – The Arcade Fire
48) You Are So Good to Me – Waterdeep
47) Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel
46) Mothers of the Disappeared – U2
45) If I Stand – Rich Mullins
44) All Creatures of Our God and King – Francis of Assisi
43) Yesterday – The Beatles
42) Piano Sonata No. 8 – Beethoven
41) Come to Jesus – Mindy Smith
40) What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong
39) In the Garden – C. Austin Miles
38) Song to the Moon – Dvorak
37) This Is My Father’s World – Maltbie Babcock
36) How Great Thou Art – Carl Boberg
35) O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing – Charles Wesley
34) Vapour Trail – Trespassers William
33) Holland – Sufjan Stevens
32) God of Wonders – Marc Byrd and Steve Hindalong
31) Jesus Paid it All – Elvina Hall
30) Clocks – Coldplay
29) Oh Praise Him – David Crowder
28) Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers
27) O Sacred Head Now Wounded – Bernard of Clairvaux
26) Requiem – Mozart
25) Let it Be – The Beatles
24) Great is Thy Faithfulness – Thomas Chisholm
23) How Deep the Father’s Love for Us – Stuart Townend
22) In Christ Alone – Keith Getty and Stuart Townand
21) You’re Hand in Mine – Explosions in the Sky
20) Ave Maria – Schubert
19) It is Well With My Soul – Horatio Spafford
18) Changes Come – Over the Rhine
17) Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen
16) Nessun Dorma – Puccini
15) The Lord’s Prayer – Albert Hay Malotte
14) Messiah – Handel
13) Where the Streets Have No Name – U2
12) Amazing Grace – John Newton
11) When I Survey the Wondrous Cross – Isaac Watts
10) My Jesus I Love Thee –William Featherstone
9) Oh the Deep Deep Love of Jesus –Samuel Francis
8) Seven Swans – Sufjan Stevens
7) Take My Life (And Let it Be) – Francis Havergal
6) Untitled #8 – Sigur Ros
5) Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Robert Robinson
4) Doxology – traditional
3) Symphony No. 9 – Beethoven
2) Holy, Holy, Holy – Reginald Heber
1) Be Thou My Vision – Irish traditional