Amy Grant – Lead Me On – 1988

This was the 7th studio album from Amy and at this point I’m pretty sure this was just mechanical for her. Someone writes music, Amy came up with a lyric idea and a songwriter would put it all together. Fade out to next song. I’m not saying it’s a bad album but there was just no standout here for me. The lead track 1974 does have a bit of personality but the rest of the album is filler aimed straight at the CCM charts. In respect to the Amy Grant fans out there this album was very well received by her Christian fans but it did poorly on the secular music charts which I am guessing was a bit of a surprise to A&M Records. Strangely the CD version of the album had 2 extra tracks but this was the age where record companies were doing some very odd things in relation to CD releases. The album had 6 charting singles on the CCM charts including three #1’s. So even given my criticism the reality is that this album continued her recipe of success and that can not be argued even by me.

1 – 1974 – 4:22
2 – Lead Me On – 5:35
3 – Shadows – 5:24
4 – Saved By Love – 4:38
5 – Faithless Heart – 5:10
6 – What About The Love – 5:23
7 – If These Walls Could Speak – 5:42
8 – All Right – 4:23
9 – Wait For The Healing – 5:36
10 – Sure Enough – 4:00
11 – If You Have To Go Away – 4:01
12 – Say Once More – 4:54

Backing Vocals – Bill Champlin, Carmen Twillie, Chris Eaton, Chris Harris (2), Chris Rodriguez, Dave Perkins, Donna McElroy, Gary Chapman, Randy Stonehill, Russ Taff, Wayne Kirkpatrick
Bass – Mike Brignardello
Drums – Paul Leim
Engineer – Jeff Balding
Executive-Producer – David Enderle, Gary Chapman, Michael Blanton
Guitar – Dann Huff, Jerry McPherson
Keyboards – Shane Keister
Mixed By – Marc DeSisto, Shelly Yakus
Photography By – Eika Aoshima
Producer – Brown Bannister
Synthesizer [B-3] – Benmont Tench
Written-By – Amy Grant (tracks: 1 to 5, 8, 9, 11, 12)

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Author: Ray Mansfield

One of the founding cowboys of Real 80s CCM. Been listening to this stuff since 1978.

3 thoughts on “Amy Grant – Lead Me On – 1988”

  1. Although, I’m sure there’s others like you, but I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t like this album. Personally, my 14 year old self, so alone, so put-upon, so deeply seeking truth, so longing for wisdom was the perfect audience. 1974 was my song seeings how I was born in 1974. Lead Me On was stark yet stunning, bare but big as life. Shadows hit home, deeply. Saved By Love was just a beautiful song followed by the challenging to Christians Faithless Heart. Amy is the only artist who could get that song on a CCM album let alone radio and have a hit. What About the Love? another challenge to the church. All Right straight up bluesy rock which I wish she’d do a whole album in that style. If These Walls, a jimmy Webb cover, is a solid performance but not as good as the original. Wait For The Healing is/was an epic generational snapshot and impressive lyrics and fiddle don’t hurt. Sure Enough is proof someone in Amy’s world likes reggae and wants her to as well. Everywhere I Go and later Lucky One and Sure Enough all beg for the full reggae treatment. I love the relationship described in Sure Enough but not in If You Have to Go Away. Just feels awkward and forced to me. Say Once More is a masterpiece and has become beloved. In my opinion Lead Mr On is Amy’s magnum opus. I love that she didn’t try to make the pop record crossover attempt in 88, I think she’d have been eaten alive by Jody Whatley, Pebbles, Karyn White, Milli Vanilli, and other divas ruling the charts at the time. Plus, she made the record she made with no agenda showing such fortitude and artistic integrity. Anyway… My opinion just wanted to give the album love.

  2. No disrespect intended, but “mechanical”?! The album shattered CCM conventions of what an artist could sing about. Lead Me On majors on the theme of suffering; it references the Holocaust, slavery, and corporate greed, as well as personal trials. It includes a then-unheard of confession of adulterous thoughts by CCM’s then most popular artist; nearly half of the album chronicles Grant’s troubled marriage with Gary Chapman, which sadly ended in divorce just over a decade later. As CCM artist Charlie Peacock approvingly remarked in wonder, the album somehow manages to entirely avoid cliches in dealing with its weighty subjects. This was the album that for decades was widely considered the best CCM album ever made by critics, holding the #1 spot in several CCM magazine published lists for years and years. And it’s a very personal, dark (though not devoid of hope) album, slightly more than half of which deals with doubts about God.

    Just a note: Amy’s “If These Walls” came out two months before Glen Campbell’s version and is the original recording of the song (even though some websites don’t realize that). Grant and/or producer Brown Bannister asked Jimmy Webb to either write or give Amy a song, and he gave her “If These Walls” for preterm labor in July or August 1987. (This info comes from her book Mosaic: Pieces of My Life So Far [2008], pg. 204.) Lead Me On was released in June 1988, and Campbell’s version came out on his album Light Years, released in August of that year.

    1. We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. If you think this “shattered CCM conventions” what was your take on Steve Taylor doing it years before. Yes it’s a good album, one of the best CCM albums of all time yes but to me it was just more of the same. That’s just my opinion but I thank you for sharing yours.

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