Whiteheart Retrospective – Part 1: Introduction

I’ve made it no secret that Whiteheart is my favorite band of all time. Whether it’s here on Rambling Ever On, or on one of my social media profiles, I have spilled a lot of ink discussing their music and their impact on my life. Starting today, my obsession with the band goes into overdrive as I kick off an album-by-album retrospective. There will be at least 11 articles in this series, as the band had 11 full-length albums. I’ll also include a postscript type article to wrap up everything, so brace yourselves. But before we dive into their first album, let’s take a step back and go over some general details about the band.

Whiteheart released their first album, Whiteheart, in 1982. They released their final album, Redemption, in 1997. During that 15-year period, they racked up dozens of number one songs, sold millions of copies of their albums, and toured all over the world. They have also been inducted into the Christian Music Hall of Fame. They were trailblazers, visionaries, and supremely talented artists who created excellence for the honor and glory of their Savior.

As previously stated, they released their first album early in 1982. They formed the year prior, having met and toured with the Gaither Trio. Billy Smiley (guitars, vocals, songwriter, producer) and Dann Huff (lead guitars, vocals, songwriter, producer) were the primary forces in bringing the band together.

Throughout their run, Whiteheart’s lineup changed often. One reason for that is how in-demand their players were as session and studio musicians. Members of Whiteheart have played with, produced, or toured with Garth Brooks, Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Eric Clapton, Carrie Underwood, Bruce Springsteen, Amy Grant, Keith Urban, Jewel, Peter Frampton, Brooks and Dunn, Michael W. Smith, and many others. To say that the band was talented is a massive understatement.

From their inception in 1982 through their final album in 1997, Whiteheart continually refined their sound, though they rarely took the easy road by copying the current “hot” trends or styles. They were unapologetically melodic. They created music that was complex enough to showcase disciplined and talented musicianship but accessible enough to not scare listeners away with complicated and inscrutable compositions. They wanted their music to be excellent, yes, but they also wanted everyone to be able to connect to it.

Lyrically, the band fully embraced their Christian faith, but how that was presented dramatically evolved throughout their run. On their early albums, they were very comfortable in the straightforward, adult contemporary musical world. Songs like, “Following the King”, “Sing Unto the Lamb”, and “He’s Returning” were as pure 80’s CCM as you would find, bordering on praise and worship in their specificity and unambiguous approach.

Over time, as they matured as songwriters, those anthems transitioned into deeper imagery and more poetic stylings. You can hear the change in songs like, “The River Will Flow”, “Unchain”, “The Cry”, and “Inside”. This is not to suggest they abandoned their Christian roots. Not at all. They were just as bold in sharing their faith and beliefs, but they found more creative ways to do so. For the careful listener, these changes made their music more timeless and more spiritually rewarding.

From the very first note on their debut album until their final recorded song fades out of hearing, Whiteheart was focused on only one thing: Jesus. Their very first song, “Hold On” is a rousing 80’s anthem about holding on to Jesus when we are tired and facing the trials of this life. Their final song, on their album Redemption, is titled “Jesus”. The final words they ever expressed as a band sum up who they were and what they were about. We hope that in this series, people will find a new appreciation for Whiteheart’s music, but more importantly, we hope people will encounter the Saviour they so passionately sang about.

It is Jesus

One faith
One hope
One love
One Lord

One way
One truth
One life
One Lord


Coming Next: A look at Whiteheart’s debut album. Be on the lookout for that in the next few days. Also, to give you something to pass the time until the next article, I’ve included the Rambling Ever On Top 40 Whiteheart Songs Spotify playlist. You’re welcome.

Phill Lytle
Follow me
Series NavigationWhiteheart Retrospective – Part 2: The Self-Titled Debut >>

Phill Lytle

Phill Lytle loves Jesus, his wife, his kids, his family, his friends, his church, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, 80s rock, the Tennessee Titans, Brandon Sanderson books, Whiteheart, Band of Brothers, Thai food, the Nashville Predators, music, books, movies, TV, writing, pizza, vacation...

One thought on “Whiteheart Retrospective – Part 1: Introduction

  • June 5, 2024 at 8:59 am

    Glad you are bringing this out. A lot of people, especially from years back will smile, nod, and rejoice. Younger folks will be exposed to Whiteheart for the first time.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.