“Get Away” at No. 1

So it seems that EHSSQ’s “Get Away Jordan” will go No. 1 in the next SN chart. I’ve been getting lots of email about it and, as you might have already seen, several comments. What I find interesting about all these comments is that no one assumes the No. 1 position actually reflects the popularity of the song in question. That’s because Rick Hendrix, the radio promoter everyone loves to hate or (if you’re an artist) loves to pay to get your songs run up the charts, promoted “Get Away.”

More interesting than the anti-Hendrix crowd, who perhaps predictably assumes this is another paper hit generated by Hendrix & Co.’s, uhm, aggressive approach to radio promoting, is the pro-Hendrix crowd. Instead of arguing that the EHSSQ song is a good example of the SN radio chart working – and maybe even vindicating (just a little) the hired-gun approach to song promotion – these folks are using this as proof that Hendrix ought to be given a position on the SN Chart Advisory Committee. The thinking here seems to be that if a Hendrix song can get to No. 1 after the SN reforms (and more than a few people suspect the reforms were aimed squarely at promoters like Hendrix), then the reforms are clearly worthless and the SN ought to take the “if you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em” approach to Hendrix and the Chart Advisory panel.

Now, as I say, I think this is a strategic mistake argumentatively on the part of Hendrix’s supporters. But whatever. I don’t have a dog in the Hendrix fight. I’m more interested in the fact that it seems to have occurred to no one that “Get Away” might actually be No. 1 because it’s a … you know, very popular song. EHSSQ is probably the hottest act going in sg right now and a pretty hot ticket in Christian entertainment generally. So it seems more than plausible that their sexed-up version of an old standard would generate a genuine response from radio audiences. At least it would be in keeping with the trend of their widespread appeal lately.

I’m not saying the SN chart isn’t deeply flawed or that the radio promotion racket (and all those artists who prop it up) aren’t part of the problem. But no matter what is contributing to the problem, the realest problem in all this might be that even when the closest thing to a legitimate No. 1 song in sg comes along, nobody’s first thought it is that the chart reflects reality. This sort of PR problem is of a magnitude that almost ensures the chart is beyond repair in its current form. Which is to say, the “Get Away” example suggests it’s not a matter of reforms one or way another, but of an irreparably damaged perception.

One final thought: Let me put this another way. Why does a song as popular as “Get Away” genuinely seems to be need a high-octane promoter like Hendrix in the first place? Or any promoter at all? I think I’m actually asking.

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  1. Oldtimer wrote:

    God bless the Dove Brothers who are in the unprecedented position of having ridden a horse until it was officially and irritatingly dead only to have their once loyal ride resurrected by a newer, younger, more lovable cowboy. Yee-Hah!

  2. Charles Brady wrote:

    I certainly wouldn’t call this one a paper hit. The song hit #5 on Radioactive Airplay back in July so if you follow that 4-6 month lag that we usually see from when songs are first released to when they show up at on the paper charts it could very well be a legitimate hit. Rick did his job and the group has the pull to make it happen. I couldn’t think of why anyone could use this song to point a finger….

    I think a big part of that problem with perception is in the lag time it takes from when people are regularly hearing a song VS when the song shows up on a chart. By the time they see it on a printed chart it could have already moved out of heavy rotation.

    I’ve recently learned that we (Radioactiveairplay.com) have just the opposite problem… Information too soon is also looked at as a perception problem…

  3. TJ wrote:

    I could hear McRay Dove hit the floor-All the way in Alabama :-) Guess they will need to up the donation publicity LOL

  4. Tom K. wrote:

    How about a re-release of it by Hovie Lister & The Statesmen. Still, by far, the best version ever recorded. These “want to be’s”, The Dove Brothers and EH&SS, both very good groups, would have been second tier artists back in THE DAYS. Guess I just let my age out of the box.

    Also, still like to hear Rosie Rozell & The Statesmen sing “Oh What A Saviour”. Keep trying kiddos!

  5. Practical Fellow wrote:

    Is it just me, or is anyone else waiting for EHSSQ to appear in a Tiger Beat magazine? I think they could croon the phonebook and the album would sell. Not because the vocals are that smokin’, but because they’re using sex (circa 1958) to sell records.

    I agree with Avery that the chart’s biggest problem may not be with the promoters and artists manipulation of it, but with the general public perception of it. This would be a terrific time for a serious competing chart to step in and develop some credibility. The Gaither think-tank may be doing that right now in a secret underground lair…

  6. jb wrote:

    So glad you mentioned EHSS being the “hottest” act going right now, I disagree with that. We went last week to hear them and the Hoppers. I figured it would be standing room only because it was 3 of EHSS’s home stomping ground, and also the college where Earnie graduated. I could not believe the seats that were empty. I just figured that since it was so close to family and friends, there would not be a seat left. The other thing that I really question, why do both of these “professional” groups feel the need to use so many stacks? They both sounded like a choir and on one song, The HOppers stopped too soon and the stacks went on. EHSSQ was off on theirs too. I think EHSSQ does have a good following, however, after seeing them last week, I think the real drawing power is GAither and the GVB. I think EHSSQ would struggle if not for Gaither.

  7. GD wrote:

    Sex to sell records? Where did that assessment come from? Are they doing something at their concerts that they’re not doing on the videos? I met Ernie while he was traveling with Squire Parsons. I’ll quote Squire: “That boy’d witness to a salt shaker in a restuarant if he could.” Unless, he’s made some changes, I think he’d park the bus before he use sex to sell anything. Pretty sure the “sex to sell records” is way out of line.

  8. PastorJohn wrote:

    I agree with GD. I was bothered by the statement that they “use sex to sell records.”

    I have been a fan of EHSS since they first formed, and have heard them in person 3 times, as well as watching all their videos. I also heard Ernie in concert while he was still doing his solo gigs. The members of EHSS are stylish and different, but “using sex”? That is totally uncalled for.

    I realize that any time this group is brought up here they spark a lot of controversy. The issue here isn’t whether or not you like their style or not, not whether or not you are envious of their success. They are men who love God and are seeking to sing for His glory — can we at least all agree with that (whether they are your cup of tea or not)? To say they “use sex to sell records” is both untrue and totally inappropriate, for this blog or anywhere else.

  9. Videoguy wrote:

    Funny this is brought up…we caught the South Africa Homecoming on Daystar this weekend. EHSSQ came on, and my wife - more of a CCM fan - started laughing. When I asked what was so funny, she said, “it looks like their trying to channel Elvis.”

  10. Jim wrote:

    I have 2 things to say:

    1. I’m not an EHSS fan, but they absolutely do not use “sex” to sell anything of theirs. That’s one of the most below-the-belt atheistic statements I’ve ever heard in my life.
    2. EHSS is not the hottest thing in SG right now. They were totally shut out of the SN Fan Awards this year - totally shut out

    They may be hotter than other SG groups in the secular music scene, etc., but they are not the hottest group in SG right now in respect to current, mainstream SG fans.

  11. Catoe wrote:

    Bottom line, If you want a number one song or if you’ll just settle for a top 20 and you got the money, Rick Hendrix is the man. If the chart and number one songs were my top priority, Rick would be the first person I’d call. Why? Because he’s the best at what he does. I stood by my decision not to play the song and we didn’t play it. It did air during some syndicated programs on our station. I have never received one phone call requesting it or wondering why we’re not playing it. Regardless of what the SN chart will indicate, my opinion is it’s not a number one song, and personally I don’t think any of EHSSQ songs have been worthy of #1, but they got there, because of the best promoter in the business. I’m not just bashing EHSSQ, there are other groups that have had #1 songs that weren’t worthy. Of course in eternity when we’re all standing individually before Christ at the judgement seat none of this will matter, not even my worthless opinion.

  12. KermitTheHermit wrote:

    With enough hype and the right man (such as Hendrix) for the job, Tommy ToneDeaf and the Gospel Harmonaires could be February’s #1.

    Hendrix, being a self-made success and young independent man, won’t be a member of the SN Chart Advisory Committee for at least another year. He isn’t in the Southern Gospel Boys Club yet, but he will be. Next thing you know, Scott Fowler will be calling Hendrix to discuss what shoes he should wear on Tuesday night’s concert. Rick is too young and, I’m reaching here, too unpredictable to join their club just yet.

  13. Buick wrote:

    EHSSQ #1? Get away!!

  14. Dexter wrote:

    #11….THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Well said…that’s the plain truth if I EVER heard it! It is a money game..plain and simple…if you’ve got the money you can chart a song…

  15. TJ wrote:

    Then who is the hottest? OH yea the ones winning the Singing News Fan Awards that sell 6500 pieces a year/verses EHSSQ 360,000? Or the ones that charge 5 grand to sing and only have 120 people? Or the ones that cant even get shelf space in main retail. Ernie Haase is the biggest thing in SG today. Crowds,units and airplay. This is his 3rd # 1 song in just a year and a half…… whether you like it or not. No matter who your favs are- or who is winning the awards- EHSS are the biggest and brightest! The fan awards are voted on by 20,000 people-With an average success rate per ballot of 800 to 1200 submissions. EHSS are singing to millions. SO go put that in your calculations.

  16. Brandon wrote:

    Maybe Rick Hendrix can get Ernie Haase a SOGOSPELNEWS AWARD LOL or the editors choice awards :-) or is it the Banner Ad Award

  17. dkd wrote:

    #15-TJ..and the big question here is “Who really cares?”

  18. jb wrote:

    #17 dkd…Amen, who cares.. We all better gets our eyes off of man and get our eyes on the Lord. Man will surely fall and let us down.

  19. Jim wrote:

    TJ, think what you want, but it would be ignorant not to notice that EHSS doesn’t have the same “buzz” they had a year or two ago. Ernie admitted himself that many of his fans are not “SG” fans. Like I said, they’re popular - but not necessarily with mainstream SG fans.

  20. TJ wrote:

    They are bigger today than ever. And what Ernie meant was they are bringing new SG fans into SG. Not that SG didnt like them. I remember what you are talking about and thats not how he said it.

  21. Jim wrote:

    What he said was that many of their fans may not even like/listen to any other “SG” groups. Got it now? That’s not out of context - that’s what he said. Ask him.

  22. TJ wrote:

    I dont know him well enough to ask him. But, what that says is- now they will listen. He brought them in to eat. PRAISE GOD

  23. Brett wrote:

    SN wouldn’t know a hit song if it hit them square in the nose.

  24. adam wrote:

    I am not so sure the problem lies within SN headquarters.
    Promoter A ask DJ#1 to “do him a favor this month and help get Ernie’sBoyz on the charts. Ern says he really appreciates all the help you can give him and always listens to your station as he drives by. We are all trying to see just how far this song can go! I wanted to let you get involved, as we are such tight buds and everything. I’ll even send a signed pic of the guys to your Nana.”
    Then, DJ#1 tells SN, Ernie is our number one play again this month! DJ#1 then goes to the mail and takes out his signed picture and takes it to Nana at the home. Then the Top 80 comes out and I frown… which creates a new wrinkle.
    Whatever way you look at it, I am still older and more worn out than when the cycle began. At this rate, I’ll be a Botox miracle by NQC ‘08.

  25. Aaron Swain wrote:

    Well, EHSSQ’s next release is slated for 2009, so I guess new songs for them will be sort of hard to come by for a while.

  26. Donald Boyd wrote:

    I am a DJ/VJ/promoter/local singer and I have been involed in SGM since the early70’s. I have no problem with EHSS.I think EH has just found a nitch to make his group stand out and others are just jealous that they didn’t do it first. If you don’t like them turn your radio or TV off. If eveybody enjoyed the same thing this would be a dull world!

    God Bless!

  27. Gerson wrote:

    Where would we be without somebody robbing somebody else of their hit song?

    Life would be dull.

  28. Audrey Cole wrote:

    I have been a SG music fan for 53 years. I grew up llistening to the Statesmen, Blackwoods, Speers and all the other popular groups of that day.

    Signature Sound’s version of “Get Away Jordan” is a disgrace to the song and to the Statesmen. Their dancing and hopping around is pathetic. That was a natural thing with the Statesmen. It looks like a practiced thing with SS and is not natural at all.

    I realize the days of the Statesmen era are gone, but these young groups coming along now need to study these old groups and learn what real Southern Gospel Music was and should be and something about professionalism.

  29. BL wrote:

    To #10. I’m not really defending Signature Sound here, I like them just fine but they’re not my favorite. However, I would like to point out that judging a group’s success by the Singing News “Fan” awards probably isn’t your best bet at getting accurate results. haha

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