Variations on a Hymn (That Hymn Thing)

A number of people have sent this video to me recently. I’m not sure if it’s to torment me, mock me, or encourage me. I’ll let you be the judge.

I was a member of the group GLAD from 1976 to 1984 and continued to write/arrange for them until 2008. Early in our history we developed a “history” of contemporary Christian music, although the accuracy and thoroughness of our research should be severely questioned.

And even though I was married to my dear wife, Julie, when this video was recorded, I don’t remember checking in with her about my wardrobe. Obviously.

Note: The original video for this post is no longer available. This is a video that contains only the music.

38 Responses to Variations on a Hymn (That Hymn Thing)

  1. Tim Challies March 1, 2011 at 5:56 PM #

    I’d go with “it’s done in love,” Bob. You may as well laugh at yourself, because we’re all laughing along. :)

  2. Dan March 1, 2011 at 5:59 PM #

    As an old Glad fan from ’79 on, it was great to hear that again. Thanks for your humility in sharing! Just curious, Bob…what would you add to / correct regarding the version off the history of hymnody reflected in the routine?

  3. Laurie March 1, 2011 at 6:01 PM #

    The “back hills of Ohio”? I didn’t know we Ohioans had hills that far back!

  4. Dave Hollandsworth March 1, 2011 at 6:03 PM #

    Bob, ya never know what will come back to haunt you! Love it!

  5. Matt Papa March 1, 2011 at 6:29 PM #


  6. John Jordan March 1, 2011 at 7:07 PM #

    wow. I feel old. I remember seeing this done at my very first CCM concert ever…I think I was in the 6th grade.

  7. Ramona Doyle March 1, 2011 at 8:03 PM #

    Worship through the ages and stages! We’ve seen Glad perform variations on hymns many times through the years … always our favorite part of the concert! Thanks for posting this fun memory! As for your wardrobe, if you still have your duds from that night… could come in handy for the “If this song was written in the 80’s…” variation :-).

  8. Michael Sciarra March 1, 2011 at 8:47 PM #

    that was great! haha quite interesting;)

  9. Phil Mershon March 1, 2011 at 9:21 PM #

    It’s too funny that you would post that song this week. I’ve recently commissioned a friend of mine to something with the Old One Hundredth (aka Doxology). We’ll be starting earlier in music history with Gregorian Chant and coming all the way to rap. Should be fun!

    The interesting thing is that your arrangement was in the back of mind as we conjured up this project. Thanks for the inspiration!

  10. adam March 1, 2011 at 11:03 PM #

    Wow. I have not seen that in over 20 years. I was a kid. Really. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  11. Mark Knox March 1, 2011 at 11:18 PM #

    Bob, I first saw Glad in 1978 at an all-day festival/concert in Canton, Ohio. I was blown away by your musicianship and creativity, and “That Hymn Thing” was part of it. It will always be one of my best memories of Glad. Often copied, but never duplicated.

    I even have a photo of the band from that day. I should email it to you.

    • Bob Kauflin March 1, 2011 at 11:44 PM #

      Mark, I’d love to see that picture! I remember Canton. Amazed that you do!

  12. Richard Lee March 2, 2011 at 12:53 AM #

    While I admit I was laughing, I gotta say, that was so creative! I really enjoyed watching that. I kept looking for you in the performance, but couldn’t see you…that wasn’t you on the keys was it?

    • Bob Kauflin March 2, 2011 at 8:09 AM #

      @Richard, no that was Tom Beard, who was my replacement right after I stopped touring with GLAD in 1984.

  13. David Miller March 2, 2011 at 5:42 AM #

    Great video – and it’s always good to remind ourselves how very culturally conditioned we all are – and to be prepared to laugh at ourselves as a reminder of how very gracious God is in bearing with us.

  14. David Santistevan March 2, 2011 at 7:26 AM #

    This video is absolutely priceless. Don’t ever lose it :)

  15. Joey March 2, 2011 at 9:26 AM #

    I gotta admit, I actually enjoyed listening to this with all the style changes. It reminds me of when my brother-in-law and I used to jam out to different P&W songs and yell out a style to change to mid song. Fun times! I vote for more “Beach Boy’s” style music lol

    Thanks for sharing Bob!

  16. Bill Slack March 2, 2011 at 10:24 AM #

    My wife and I saw Glad at the Christian Cinema in Ambler PA shortly after we were saved.. It was a “Bob DeMoss” concert – a friend from New Life.. You guys were such a blessing… Thank you for being such a great part of our early Christina lives, and for being such a part of my life now as I pastor and lead worship..

  17. Carol March 2, 2011 at 10:29 AM #

    That was a bit of a shocker. The only GLAD album I have is “Acapella Project II.” I’d forgotten that that was not GLAD’s usual style. I enjoyed the video. Thanks for sharing it.

  18. Genie March 3, 2011 at 11:08 AM #

    What great memories this brings up! heard Glad do this number years before we were part of a Sovereign Grace church! God has been so good over the years, hasn’t he?

  19. Drew Scott March 3, 2011 at 2:00 PM #

    Is that the “Heroic Worship” shirt you’re wearing?

  20. TroyP March 4, 2011 at 3:01 PM #

    Good stuff! For me, this started a long and pleasant journey from very conservative music to the crazy rebel that I apparently am today (volunteer worship leader at my church since before we called ourselves worship leaders).

  21. Matt Blick March 5, 2011 at 4:57 PM #

    I’m glad nothing we’re doing right now will be that cheesy in 20 years time…


  22. Miguel March 6, 2011 at 5:31 PM #

    This video is awesome. Bob, you are my idol. If I thought there was a chance in hades I’d get away with it, I’d do this kinda stuff in church every Sunday. Or at least I’d try.

    Think of how many genres have been invented since this came out. I think it’s time for a new one. Ska, metal, emo, and hick hop.

    @Matt Blick: Good luck with that one. Think about how much the emo scene has influence the way worship leaders dress these days. There will be a reckoning on somebodies blog in the year 2040. And hopefully we’ll still be as cool as this cat.

  23. B. J. Barlow March 21, 2011 at 11:21 PM #

    I think I unknowingly shared thoughts on this clip recently…and didn’t mean to offend when making the destinction between “Fellowship Music” verses “Worship Music”. This would definitely go over much better with a glass of wine in hand than a church bulletin. :) Crazy creative!!!! Thanks for this.

  24. Cara (Nalle) Wilcox March 23, 2011 at 4:18 PM #

    As one of the official “Glad babies,” just thought I would offer a correction… the keyboardist in this video was Rob Neal, who replaced Tom Beard. :)

    I used to have every word and note of this whole schtick memorized. Always loved it, always will.

  25. Carri April 2, 2011 at 4:59 PM #

    DANG!!!!!!!!!!! Your lead guitarist is smoking!!!!!!!

  26. yankeegospelgirl April 12, 2011 at 9:46 AM #

    Bob, which one were you? I didn’t realize you were actually a singing member, though I knew you arranged for the group.

    The wardrobe is snazzy. Thumbs up. :-D

    • Bob Kauflin April 13, 2011 at 6:52 AM #

      Yankeegospelgirl, I’m not in the videos of the song. I’m the guy in the striped shirt at the start. The videos were made after I left the band in 1984.

  27. yankeegospelgirl April 14, 2011 at 3:32 PM #

    Ah, okay. :)

    The bluegrass rendition is by far my favorite, besides the acapella one at the beginning.

  28. Joel May 5, 2011 at 8:32 PM #

    That. was. amazing. in so many different ways ;p but I must agree with Carri, that guitar player is killer. You don’t see that much talent any more in a lot of churches…which is sad. The bass player was killing it too.

  29. Gary December 1, 2014 at 11:41 AM #


    Shame on ‘Glad’ for advancing a myth with their ‘That Hymn Thing’ propaganda. It has been a stumbling block for me and my friends:

    “We Praise the O God” employs a tune from Adrianus Valerius’ primary individual opus, the collection of folk poems and melodies on the Dutch Wars (1555–1625) Nederlandtsche gedenck-clanck, which he had collected and edited for thirty years until his death in 1625. The posthumous collection, published by his son François in 1631, gained instant popularity. The work, steeped in Protestant moralization and chiliastic attitudes, was both anti-Catholic and anti-Spanish and was studied in Zeeland both at home and Church as part of familial religious edification. The collection contained 76 songs, and unusually for the time the songs were printed in musical notation (many similar collections named well-known tunes to which a printed text should be sung)” –wikipedia

    Given its source, it doesn’t seem likely that the tune was a drinking song, but whether someone sang the Dutch tune in a bar room in 1625 is not relevant to a hymn written in 1902 in NYC.

    And in a similar vein…
    Did they use “Bar tunes”? (Wesleys and Martin Luther) No!

    United Methodist Church:

    Lutheran Seminary

    No music is created in a vacuum. Like the Wesleys and Luther, the culture that redeemed music promotes is the sacred sound of Christ’s Kingdom in stark contrast to the world/flesh/Devil:

    “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” Col 1:13

    • Bob Kauflin December 1, 2014 at 5:39 PM #

      Gary, thanks for stopping by. I agree that GLAD didn’t research the topic very well when we started singing That Hymn Thing in the late 70s. I’m sorry that it was a stumbling block for you and your friends.

      We never said that the melody for “We Praise Thee, O God” was an actual bar tune. We were using the tune simply to illustrate a practice that has existed for quite some time. The Psalmists borrowed poetic forms from pagan nations, and the disagreement about what music is “appropriate” to use for the church has been going on for centuries. What is clear is that some musical styles are definitely more suited for congregational singing than others and as you said, music isn’t created in a vacuum. Leaders need wisdom and discernment. But songs don’t say the same things to everyone, and there is no one style of music that can effectively communicate the glories of God or enable us to express the range of proper responses to God.

      • Gary February 28, 2016 at 9:31 AM #

        Need to come clean on “I once met a girl and her name was Matilda, she hugged like a bear and she looked like one too”. being the source of a hymn. It’s most certainly a lie. It is still damaging our worship service this morning.

        • Bob Kauflin February 28, 2016 at 8:05 PM #

          Gary, I did “come clean” in my response to your previous comment. If you’re interested, I found Harold Best’s book Music Through the Eyes of Faith helpful in this discussion. Grace to you.

          • Nancy Jones March 17, 2018 at 12:28 PM #

            Bob, I love Glad’s music and still listen to it to this day!
            I was in a college singing group and our girls quartet did Be Ye Glad. We took it a bit slower than your version, but it was just beautiful! To this day it’s my favorite acapella song tg at we sang.
            By the way. We used to goof around and sing Amazing Grace to the Gilligan’s Island theme song! 😂😂😂

  30. Ron Basye June 18, 2018 at 1:33 PM #

    I have listened to Glad since its beginning and this song was a source of inspiration for many in the churches I served in. It allowed me to share about Contemporary Christian Music in so many ways. Music should be fun, reflect the times and always draw people to the Lord advancing who He is and what we are. I don’t understand the trials some have had in this song being a stumbling block. While I revere Hymns and long for those that have gone missing in this day, I enjoy the writers of today and how some have tuned into the process of prompting to worship of our Great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Thank you.


  1. WORSHIP & Did Pub Songs Lend Their Tunes to Wesley Hymns? No, but popular songs did. | - April 15, 2017

    […] Kauflin December 1, 2014 at 5:39 PM retrieved from: Gary, thanks for stopping by. I agree that GLAD didn’t research the topic very well when we […]

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