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Anthony J. Showalter
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Songwriter
    (May 1, 1858-September 14, 1924)
    Born in Cherry Grove, Virginia
    Birth name was Anthony Johnson Showalter (also known as AJ Showalter)
    American gospel music composer, teacher and publisher
    Formed the Showalter Music Company of Dalton, Georgia (1885)
    Best known as the author of 'the Showalter Hymn' or 'the Communion Anthem,' better known as 'Leaning on the Everlasting Arms' (1887)
    Elder of the First Presbyterian Church of Dalton, GA
    Editor of the music journal, 'The Music Teacher' (c. 1890)
    He was divorced.
    He published Gospel Music for profit (sort of like an early prototype of the televangelist).
    He changed his music journal's original name, 'Our Musical Visitor,' after it sold only a handful of issues.
    His school charged '50 dollars and expenses' for a five-day singing program and '90 dollars and expenses' for a nine day program (back when that was a large amount of money).
    He raked in so much from his gospel music that he was able to purchase a 20,000 tree peach orchard near his property.
    His most famous song, 'Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,' was a collaborative effort but he gets all the credit (not only were the song's lyrics and title were by Rev. Elisha Hoffman, but the song's music was written by Showalter's student and nephew).
    Thanks to Robert Mitchum, his 'most comforting song' has been known to royally creep out generations of moviegoers whenever they hear it (it was the theme song for his sociopathic preacher in 'Night of the Hunter).
    He was a child prodigy; teaching in singing schools by the age of 14.
    His associates attested to his arriving at the office before breakfast each day and having at least two songs completed by noon.
    He was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
    Twenty years into his career, he had sold close to 2 Million copies of his sixty different gospel songbooks.
    His publishing company was called the second-most important publishing house in the South.
    He got the idea to compose 'Leaning' when he invoked a passage from Deuteronomy to comfort two men from South Carolina who had just lost their wives within days of each other, in a letter to them ('the eternal God is your refuge/and underneath are the everlasting arms).
    His song so resonates in the black community that the phrase commonly uttered in black churches, 'I'm leaning on the Lord' was coined from it.
    'Leaning' remains one of the most widely recorded hymns in gospel tradition, including by Mahalia Jackson, Alan Jackson, Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, George Jones, Iris Dement, Roy Rogers, and Sam Cooke.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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