He's Alive
Country Singer Dolly Parton at the 1989 Country Music Association Awards in Nashville, Tennessee on Oct. 9, 1989. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Flashback: Dolly Parton Performs Gospel Classic 'He's Alive' at the 1989 CMA Awards


Back in the day, country music stars ended radio broadcasts or variety television shows with a gospel song. Be it a homage to that old trend or yet another genuine showing of personal faith, Dolly Parton capped off her 1989 album White Limozeen with "He's Alive," a cover of singer-songwriter Don Francisco's Dove Award-winning contemporary Christian music  (CCM) classic.

To promote the single and the Ricky Skaggs-produced album its from, Parton performed Francisco's celebration of the meaning behind Easter Sunday during the 1989 CMA Awards broadcast. A choir joined Parton as her powerful rendition of one of the best new religious songs of the '80s reached its crescendo.

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Two decades later, Parton brought another public display of faith to the 2019 CMA Awards, an event she's co-hosted with Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire, with a medley of some of her favorite songs from her religious repertoire.

Francisco isn't the only CCM mainstay listed in White Limozeen's songwriter credits. Bob Carlisle of "Butterfly Kisses" fame co-wrote tight britches anthem "Why'd You Come in Here Lookin' Like That?" with former Allies band mate Randy Thomas.

'He's Alive' Lyrics:

We both ran toward the garden
Then John ran on ahead
We found the stone and empty tomb
Just the way that Mary said
But the winding sheet they wrapped Him in
Was just an empty shell
And how or where they'd taken Him
Was more than I could tell

Oh something strange had happened there
Just what I did not know
John believed a miracle
But I just turned to go
Circumstance and speculation
Couldn't lift me very high
'Cause I'd seen them crucify him
Then I saw him die


Back inside the house again
The guilt and anguish came
Everything I'd promised Him
Just added to my shame
When at last it came to choices
I denied I knew His name
And even if He was alive
It wouldn't be the same

But suddenly the air was filled
With a strange and sweet perfume
Light that came from everywhere
Drove the shadows from the room
And Jesus stood before me
With His arms held open wide
And I fell down on my knees
And I just clung to Him and cried
Then He raised me to my feet
And as I looked into His eyes
The love was shining out from Him
Like sunlight from the skies
Guilt in my confusion
Disappeared in sweet release
And every fear I'd ever had
Just melted into peace

He's alive yes He's alive
Yes He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
He's alive yes He's alive

Oh He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
He's alive yes He's alive
Hallelujah He's alive


He's alive and I'm forgiven
Heaven's gates are open wide
He's alive He's alive He's alive
I believe it He's alive
Sweet Jesus

This story previously ran on April 19, 2020.

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