Zondervan Corporation of Grand Rapids, Michigan said, "Elmo
Mercer is one of America's favorite gospel songwriters." The
"Singing News" calls him "one of the top ten great
composers of gospel music and one of the most dominating forces
in gospel music today."
Elmo wrote his first song, "A Glimpse Of Jesus"
at age fourteen, later contracted and published by the John T. Benson
Publishing Company of Nashville, Tennessee. To date he has written
over 1,600 songs and arranged thousands more for top singers, groups
and publishers nationwide. He was church pianist for Park Avenue
Baptist Church in Nashville for over 38 years.
After being a Benson Company staff writer for ten years (in the
50s), he became Music Editor and on New Years Day 1961, moved his
family to Nashville. In 1981 he retired from full-time duties, but
continued to do special projects for Benson, along with many other
publishers as well. He has compiled and edited more than 200 gospel
songbooks, including several in the popular "New Songs of Inspiration"
series. His choral book, "Crusade Choir Vol 1" sold over
500,000 copies in twenty-two years. His instrumental books were
also very popular. Many denominational hymnals include his various
At nineteen he composed "Each Step I Take",
which has been recorded by hundreds of artists in many languages,
including Slim Whitman and George Beverly Shea. While participating
in evangelistic crusades in South Korea in 1981, he discovered the
song to be a favorite among Christians there. It is loved and sung
around the world. His song "What A Glad Reunion Day"
is in the 20th Century Fox 1998 movie "The Thin Red Line".
Elmo and his wife, Marcia, traveled over 30 years in church music
evangelism, going into all fifty states and various denominations.
Having become an ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and
Publishers) member in 1957, he was honored at a Dove Awards banquet
at the Nashville office for being a 40-year member back in 1997.
He receives annual awards from ASCAP for outstanding work in the
gospel music field.
Elmo and Marcia's life-purpose is expressed in the opening song
of all concerts - "We've Come To Lift Up Jesus".