229. Benny From Here – Benny Hester

BENNY FROM HERE (1985)

Benny Hester

If Benny Hester released “Benny From here” with only one song on it, it would still be included on this list as long as that song was “When God Ran.” When the single was released it made an immediate impact on Christian radio and went on to be the longest running number one song in CCM history.

Fortunately for Hester and the listening public, the rest of the album is filled with some of Hester’s finest songwriting and was a major departure from his previously more AC/MOR sound. Much edgier and vocally more forced and rock driven, this album marked a marked departure from Hester’s previous work.

Though never really considered a Jesus Music artists, Benny began his Christian music career in the early 70′s with a very rare self-titled album in 1972. The warehouse where the album was being stored burned to the ground the label it was released on mysteriously disappeared and the album received little, if any, distribution. Six years later he would release another self-titled album, this time for the CCM market and it would contain several classics on for the time.

After several years as a radio darling and consistent seller Hester released BFH and shocked the industry. Much less Christopher Cross and more Phil Collins, BFH became Hester’s best selling album. The album is filled with great songs, killer production and a lyrical content that strayed from the normally safe CCM standard. The lead track deals with emotional and physical infidelities that start in the mind and echoes Christ’s word regarding our hidden thought lives which could include pornography, lust or any other physical or emotional attachment. Other songs deal with the Gospels reach into darker places (Streets of Las Vegas), relational evangelism (Susie said, Yeah), loneliness, spiritual seeking and a host of other topics. All rolled into strong musical canvases of rock and ballads. A special note of consideration for the great guitar work on several songs.

But ultimately the album is remembered for the classic, When God Ran. The retelling of the Prodigal Son told in the first person at first listen almost sounds shocking as the chorus refers to God as “running.” This is after a verse in which Hester declares the eternal, powerful and majestic qualities of God. When the revelation of the chorus reveals God, playing the part of the father in the Biblical tale, is running to meet His prodigal the song becomes intensely moving and unforgettable. If this blog ever counts down the greatest “songs” in CCM history this will undoubtedly be in the Top 5.

Hester would follow with a much too similar, but no where near as good release and two releases for Frontline records. But for some time Hester was the biggest name in CCM.

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  1. aarjayaitch
    November 30, 2010 at 1:31 am | #1

    I agree that “Through The Window” is nowhere near as strong overall as BFH, but I think the last three songs (especially “This Is Me”) are some of his best work.

  2. aarjayaitch
    November 30, 2010 at 10:34 pm | #2

    I hear ya! The first time I heard “Cat” I thought, “What IS this!?” But after repeated listens, I started to think that he was trying to use the repeated vocal (which almost functions as part of the percussion) to illustrate the day-in, day-out mind-numbing effect of drudging away at a dead-end job one hates. It may well be an attempt that is too annoying to be successful, but at least he was still trying to push boundaries…

  3. Brett C
    December 1, 2010 at 9:21 am | #3

    “When God Ran” wow, brilliant.

  4. Brian
    December 1, 2010 at 8:01 pm | #4

    I still have emotional attachment to When GOD Ran. Benny has had several strong cuts & albums….anyone remember “Rubber Canoe”?

    • low5point
      December 1, 2010 at 8:05 pm | #5

      We will remember Rubber Canoe later

  5. Brett C
    December 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm | #6

    Rubber Canoe was my introduction to Benny. Great song from a great album hopefully much higher on the list :)

  6. Shawn McLaughlin
    December 2, 2010 at 6:55 pm | #7

    I always cried when hearing the lyrics, even though my ears were numbed by the music and especially, the cheesy keyboard patch.

  7. Greenchili
    March 8, 2011 at 9:58 pm | #8

    Great album.. It took a while for “all” of this album to really grow on me. It is quite a rocker for Benny. Kudos to the not often mentioned “To Fill Our Empty Hearts”. “Hold Me” marked the first track I ever owned. I really love how the bass take the lead in “Streets Of Las Vegas” plus the sing response format of “Whoever Touches You” which he did a couple more times on other albums. “Marchin On” is a Rich Mullins penned tune.. love the way this song build up.

    Yeah “Thru The Window” was a bit uneven but there is something about that album that attracts me. It has great songs like the first track, “Remember Me”, and “It’s Over Love”. From what I understand Benny was going thru a divorce when recording thru the window album? so maybe he was a little distracted at the time..

  8. Greenchili
    March 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm | #9

    Whoops I meant to say kudos to the not often mentioned easter song “To Fill Our Empty Hearts”.. I got many a request to sing this every easter.

  9. Menion Azalee
    October 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm | #10

    Ok, gotta say this, I have not found a single song that Benny has done anything but brilliant! His early stuff to his later stuff…was so good. I learned the words to every song. I play his songs in Second Life when I DJ!.

  10. Menion Azalee
    October 18, 2013 at 8:01 pm | #11

    Whoever Touches You, i play for my kids everyday so they know that daddy loves them and that I love them no matter what!

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