The Story Behind the Song: I Can Only Imagine

Bart Millard was born in Greenville, Texas, and many years later became the lead singer in the group Mercy Me. What prompted him to write this beautiful song, “I Can Only Imagine,” that is loved by so many people all around the world?  Here is a little background.
Bart’s father had been an SMU All-American football player, and his brother was a football player. Bart had a dream of playing football, too, until he suffered an injury in a high school football game, braking both ankles which forced him to take choir as an elective to replace football.  He had a great choir teacher who encouraged him to sing solos, and a music minister encouraged him as well. This is when he discovered his singing voice.
During Bart’s first year of college, his father passed away from cancer. After the death of his father, Bart wrote the lyrics to “I Can Only Imagine” in about ten minutes, although it wasn’t until several years later that the song was released in 2001 and became a hit. The rest is history!
Mercy Me also performed I Can Only Imagine with the London Symphony which is a beautiful version of the song as well.
*This is a cute side note:   The group got its name indirectly from Bart’s grandmother. When he was a working as an intern with youth ministry, his grandmother would call to check on him often and would say, “Well, mercy me, why don’t you get a real job?”

3 thoughts on “The Story Behind the Song: I Can Only Imagine

  1. That is so interesting and a bit funny about his grandmother saying mercy me! LOL His journey just goes to show that God has a plan and even if it isn’t our plan, He knows best.

  2. Karen, that is so true. God has a plan for us and it’s not always what we had planned. His way is always best!
    I still laugh when I read that about Bart’s grandmother saying mercy me. 🙂

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