Story Behind Darlene Zschech's "Shout to the Lord"

Darlene Zschech

Sung by over 30 million worshippers across the globe each Sunday, Darlene Zschech's "Shout to the Lord" is one of the most popular worship songs around.  It is also the song that launched the music of Australia's Hillsong Church into the Interntional scene.  First recorded by Hillsong Worship in 1993, this song is still one of CCLI most popular songs for more than 20 years. 

On 9 April 2008, "Shout to the Lord" was the closing song on Idol Gives Back, sung by the remaining eight contestants of American Idol and a gospel choir. The lyrics of the song were altered, changing the word "Jesus" to "Shepherd" in the first line without the approval of Zschech or Hillsong Church. At the request of the song's publishers, the song was performed again at the opening of the next show the following night, this time using the original lyrics. The studio version of the performance charted at number 43 in the Billboard Hot 100, based on digital download sales alone. 

Below is an excerpt from Darlene Zschech's book "Shout to the Lord" of how she came to write this woship anthem:

"I think God just means some songs to be written. It's very embarrassing when people expect some big, dramatic story about a song God gave me in a time when I just needed to hear from Him. I was simply in the right place at the right time. I really feel that God should get the glory from sending this song to all of us when we needed it so much. It just happened to come out of my personal worship time with the Lord. Desperate for His peace, I opened to the Psalms. I sat at our old out-of-tune piano tinkling the keys, and "Shout to the Lord" flowed out from my heart. I sang it over and over again and it lifted me up. Over the next few days, the song stayed with me, and it began to dawn on me that it might be a worship song.

I was terribly shy and felt a little embarrassed when I mentioned to Geoff Bullock, the Music Pastor, and Russell Fragar that I thought I had written a song. My hands were sweaty. I could hardly play it, I was so nervous. I kept starting and stopping. It took me twenty minutes to play it because I kept apologizing, "I'm sorry. Change anything you want. I know it's probably stupid." Eventually I made them stand with their backs to me while I played them the song. Even when they turned around and said that it was magnificent, I thought they were just being polite.

We introduced "Shout to the Lord" into our worship services and it began to spread from church to church. Before we had even recorded it, I began receiving thank-you letters from people all over the world who had sung the song in their churches.

I'm still amazed that when my pastor, Brian Houston, heard the song for the first time, he predicted it would be sung around the world. But when I remember that God is the One who gave the song, then I think perhaps I shouldn't be so surprised. Truly, the song's greatness comes from Him as all true praise does." Darlene Zschech

"Shout to the Lord" has also been covered by Don Moen, Matt Redman, Ruben Studdard, David Bauer, Linda Davis, Danny Antill, The ZOE Group, Shane and Shane, Mark Schultz, Toronto Mass Choir, Natalie Grant, Sam Levine, Skillet, Keith Staten, The Crabb Family, Peabo Bryson, Darla Day, The Amen Singers, Lisa Lopez, Carman, Kim Hill, Kim Collinsworth, The Talleys, Christopher West, Glad, Tom Braxton, Anthony Burger, Roger L. Gates, Jim Brickman, Randy Travis, Chris Tomlin, Michael W. Smith, Lincoln Brewster, John Tesh, and Sandi Patty.



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