Songs about easter have given us some of the most iconic songs in Christian music. Not just in modern times but throughout musical history. The songs are so powerful because they remind us of why we have such hope.
Sometimes, I think the story behind the song is as interesting as the song itself. Don Francisco's "He's Alive." is one of those songs.
The song was released on his 1977 album "Forgiven". But he says that the way we are used to hearing it is not the way he created it at first.
If you have heard the song it is classic Don Francisco. A story turned into a song. It is from the perspective of Peter following the Crucifixion. He and the rest of the disciples are hiding, expecting to be next on the list. But of course Mary shows up to tell them that Jesus' body is no longer in the tomb.
The music builds perfectly with the tension of the story as Peter and John run to the tomb and find out Mary was right. Then, back in hiding, Peter laments how he denied Jesus the night before he died.
Then, suddenly, there is Jesus. Everything is forgiven and Peter sees Jesus opening his arms to him. This is where Don Francisco ended his first version of the song. With the lines:
Guilt and my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I'd ever had
Just melted into peace
A strum of a guitar chord wrapped it all up. That seems like a full song to me just like it did to him. Fortunately, he decided to play the song for his wife. She told him that she liked it, but it seemed to be missing something. It didn't seem finished.
He also had the wisdom to listen to his wife. He went back to work on the song and wrote the rest of it. The way we came to love the song. With the vigorous chorus at the end.
He's alive, He's Alive
He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide!