I was browsing through comments on an old post at another blog, and I came across a fascinating discussion. A guy posting under the pseudonym of “soundcheck” was commenting on the vocal abilities of a couple of lead singers, both of whom he had worked with live and in the studio. He said that although the one had more popularity and name recognition, the other was unquestionably more talented. The way this guy put it was that singer A had gotten where he was because of “one group and one song,” while singer B had gotten where he was through raw vocal ability alone. (He then went on to add that they are both great guys and good friends of his, so he clearly wasn’t speaking out of spite—just honestly giving an opinion based on what he knew from personal experience.)
It got me thinking: Just how crucial is a signature song to a southern gospel singer’s success? Are there any SG singers who have achieved “star status” without that one hit that everybody knows and identifies with them? And can we observe the same phenomenon in other genres?