NASHVILLE, TN—All it took was for a KLOVE radio intern’s finger to slip, and a classic power ballad by Journey became an unlikely worship sensation overnight.
The incident reportedly occurred Tuesday evening, as new intern Kyle Criswell attempted to queue up Michael W. Smith’s song “Open Arms,” but mistakenly selected hit rock band Journey’s 1981 power ballad of the same name instead.
Criswell realized his mistake as the sappy love lyrics “Lying beside you, here in the dark / Feeling your heartbeat with mine / Softly you whisper, you’re so sincere / How could our love be so blind” began pumping into his headphones. Horrified, the young assistant immediately signaled the on-duty DJ to come over and help him figure out how to correct his mistake.
But then, something amazing happened, as thousands of new listeners began to tune into the station to hear the hit new worship song, calling in and demanding the station replay the track.
“I’ve never had a more powerful time of worship than singing along with a godly worship leader like Steve Perry to my sweet Savior Jesus,” one listener wrote on the station’s Facebook page. “So here I am, with open arms, hoping you’ll see what your love means to me, Jesus!” she continued, quoting the chorus from the intimate worship song.
The buzz surrounding the rediscovered worship ballad instantly spread across the country like wildfire, as KLOVE and Air1 affiliates from around the nation began aggressively playing the Journey tune in their song rotations. By Wednesday morning, the worship song had risen to number one on all contemporary Christian music charts, prompting CCLI to license the song’s sheet music on its download site for worship leaders, where it instantly rocketed to the top.
At publishing time, Capitol Records had announced a new worship compilation album capitalizing on Christians’ newfound love for power ballads to Jesus. The record will reportedly contain powerful worship songs like “Open Arms,” Skid Row’s “I Remember You,” and Foreigner’s “I Wanna Know What Love Is.”