Music

Dolly Parton Earns First Christian No. 1 With Zach Williams Duet 'There Was Jesus'

Dolly Parton, left, performs "God Only Knows", "There Was Jesus", and "Faith" with Zach Williams at the 53rd annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

There are career firsts to be accomplished out there, even if you're a superstar with the fame and longevity of Dolly Parton. For example, Parton's 2019 duet with Christian rock artist Zach Williams, "There Was Jesus," just became the country music legend's first No. 1 on Billboard's Christian Airplay chart.

It also tops five other charts: Billboard Christian Adult Contemporary (AC) Monitored, Billboard AC Indicator, Mediabase Audience, Mediabase AC Monitored and Mediabase AC Activator.

"Well praise the Lord and thank you Jesus I guess is what I say first," Parton says on her website. "I am just so happy that this has touched the lives of so many people. So proud to be a part of it, so proud of Zach Williams, and we hope that you continue to be blessed by this wonderful song. I know I am."

Williams co-wrote the song with Casey Beathard and producer Jonathan Smith. It's the second single from Williams' Rescue Story album.

Many country fans discovered the song last November when Parton and friends performed it and For King & Country collaboration "God Only Knows" as part of a medley of Christian songs during the 53rd annual CMA Awards.

Read More: Nashville Legend Joe Diffie's 10 Best Songs

Parton's been blurring the line between Christian music and country songs from day one. Her second of 49 career Grammy award nominations came in 1970 for the Porter Wagoner duet "Daddy Was an Old-Time Preacher Man," with examples of her solo songs of praise including 1974's "Sacred Memories."

"There Was Jesus" isn't Williams' first No. 1 as a Christian artist. He previously reached the same heights with "Chain Breaker" and "Old Church Choir."

For more songs of praise sung by Parton, check out her holiday album A Holly Dolly Christmas when it arrives on Oct. 2.

"There Was Jesus" Lyrics

Every time I try to make it on my own
Every time I try to stand, I start to fall
And all those lonely roads that I have traveled on
There was Jesus

When the life I built came crashing to the ground
When the friends I had were nowhere to be found
I couldn't see it then but I can see it now
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I've been or where I'm going
Even when I didn't know it
Or couldn't see it
There was Jesus

For this man who needs amazing kind of grace (mm-hmm)
For forgiveness and a price I couldn't pay (mm-hmm, mm-hmm)
I'm not perfect so I thank God every day
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I've been or where I'm going
Even when I didn't know it
Or couldn't see it

There was Jesus
On the mountains
In the valleys
There was Jesus
In the shadows
Of the alleys

There was Jesus
In the fire, in the flood
There was Jesus
Always is and always was, oh

No, I never walk alone
Never walk alone
You're always there

In the waiting, in the searching
In the healing, in the hurting
Like a blessing buried in the broken pieces
Every minute, every moment
Where I've been or where I'm going
Even when I didn't know it
Or couldn't see it
There was Jesus

There was Jesus
There was Jesus
There was Jesus

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Dolly Parton Earns First Christian No. 1 With Zach Williams Duet 'There Was Jesus'