Overrated?? – Ivan Parker

ivan-300x300Today embarks on a new series titled overrated.  It will look at a current artist’s popularity (rated out of 100) vs current chart success/album releases (rated out of 100).  The difference between their popularity score and chart success/album release score is where they fall on the overrated meter.  The first artist in the series is Ivan Parker.


  • It is no doubt that the Southern Gospel grandma’s who go to concerts still love them some Ivan Parker.
  • The fan voted Singing News fan awards have given Ivan Parker favorite solo artist 14 of the last 16 years.
  • Ivan will forever be associated with the song “Midnight Cry”.


  • In pondering the music Ivan Parker is currently giving listeners, I score that 48 out of 100.
  • I would rate Ivan’s prime years (those years he was providing listeners his best music) between 2003 and 2006 with the releases of Just Imagine, Redeemer and Under Grace.
  • Ivan Parker’s last top 10 song on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart came in July 2010, when “Keeper Of The Lost And Found” landed at #9.


  • This score represents that Ivan is currently overrated by a net positive +44.

8 thoughts on “Overrated?? – Ivan Parker

  1. You left out the greatest reason for Ivan’s popularity. If SG fans love anything it’s nolstalgia. Ivan was part of a great quartet and has made a career off that popularity. He’s also been a fixture on Gaither Homecoming products. If Bill Gaither can’t pull an old famous quartet member off the scrap heap and make their career work then no one can.

    I don’t wish to disparage Ivan because he was once among the best. Just adding to your commentary about why his popularity as a solo artist doesn’t match his album reviews.

  2. I have to mention too that Ivan doesn’t have the voice capabilities like he once had. Watching him at the few years and at NQC, he strains and fails to stay in tune. I prefer to listen to his Gold City days when his voice was tip top shape. I will still attend his concert but I am agreement of this column. Overrated.

  3. I will preface this by saying that I am a very big fan of Ivan’s work with Gold City, as well as some of his early solo work.

    That being said, southern gospel saw a huge shift in the early 80’s. Prior to then, the biggest seller was a screaming tenor and rumbling bass. Groups took advantage of this by widening their harmonies – instead of the lead singing the harmony note immediately below the ridiculous tenor note, they’d drop down to the baritone part. The baritone would then sing the missing “lead” note an octave lower, so the two middle parts wouldn’t be killing themselves vocally (the Kingsmen did this quite often).

    Then Mike English came along, and the rules changed. Here we had a lead singer who could sing in a tenor range consistently. All the lead singers had to jump up to compete. Ivan was likewise a lead who could sing in the tenor range, so when English joined the GVB and left the SG world, Ivan became the “it” guy, and everyone else had to follow to keep up. It even resulted in the Cathedrals shifting their approach, moving Glen Payne (who was always the “lead”) to a comfortable baritone range while Mark Trammell’s job was to keep up with Danny Funderburk. They continued this with Scott and Ernie, as well.

    When English left the GVB, Bill ultimately wound up bringing in Guy Penrod, who could likewise belt out freakishly high notes for a lead singer, so the pattern continued well into the 90’s and early 2000’s.

    The problem is, some of these singers were pushing themselves beyond a normal, comfortable vocal range. That’s all well and good for a few songs, but to do it song after song, night after night, they are eventually going to damage their voices. It’s no different than athletes who retire in their mid-30’s and spend the rest of their lives with arthritis and joint replacements. Ivan, for all of his talent, seems to have done irreparable damage to his voice after years of hard singing (as have several other lead singers from that era), which is not lost on a lot of listeners.

    (SIDE NOTE: Compare that to baritone singers who could still sing solid notes well into their 60’s and 70’s. Glen Allred was as smooth as ever when the Florida Boys retired, and of course, Glen Payne was reliable as always because of the shift in vocal arrangements)

    But again, as mentioned, southern gospel thrives on nostalgia. If you asked a room of southern gospel fans if they’d rather hear a weak singer they saw 30 years ago or a strong singer they’ve never heard of, they’ll pick the weak one 90% of the time.

  4. Really, now a s Christians we have o have an overrated catagory,I have always enjoyed his music and concerts..so if you think he is overrated don’t go to see him but let those who love it, enjoy it ,Really

    1. Please Shirley give me a break already. If this were the case then maybe we should do away with the SG Awards Shows put on by Singing News & Absolutely Gospel then. Also don’t give any SG album reviews because we don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings. Grow Up!

  5. Sad to see such a series. Can not believe any good can come out of this. I am so disappointed in your choice of topics that will discourage and demean good people instead of encouraging. Not one of us is immune to the passing of time. I agree with Shirley.

  6. You couldn’t be more right, although I’d argue his first few solo albums with Chapel (pre-Spring Hill) were his best and found him in best voice. Things one chooses to do affect one’s voice holding up.
    It probably took him 7-8 years as a soloist to find favor with radio. When he started covering CCM hits like Imagine and Redeemer, I found them very lackluster and came across as trying to ride the fame of great songs into the SG market.
    The beauty if SG is if you can ever find favor among fans, they’re crazy loyal regardless of the quality of music you put out 20-30 years down the road. He and these comments are proof.

  7. See, what I find troubling is how this process works. Where a particular artist falls on a particular scale is purely subjective. I suppose charting can somewhat be measured but how did you (Steve) determine where this artist would fall on your “popularity” chart. This appears to be strictly your opinion. Others can agree with you or take exception to your opinion and then the battle is joined and the nasty comments will fly e.g. Jeff’s above, hence my comment that nothing good will come of this. When all is said and done, what has been accomplished? My answer is nothing of value but anger for some and maybe hurt feelings and if the artist in question should read this…. we’ll do I need to go on? It’s good for clicks though, right? I will leave you all to it but I for one have had my fill of wrangling and divisiveness this week.

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