• Word Records comes home to Baylor/Waco roots to celebrate 60th anniversary

    Sidewalk Prophets perfom at Word's 60th Anniversary CelebrationIn 1951, a Baylor student named Jarrell McCracken, BA ’50, MA ’53, recorded “The Game of Life,” a play-by-play account of an imaginary football game that pitted Jesus’ team vs. Satan’s team. The song proved popular enough that he printed 100 records; a friend suggested he label them “WORD,” after the fictional radio station in the recording.

    Thus was the beginning of Word Records, which would go on to become a bedrock in the world of contemporary Christian music (CCM). Over the years, the label would feature such artists as the Imperials, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Amy Grant, Petra, Sandi Patty, Point of Grace and BarlowGirl, among many. Even as it grew to become an industry leader nationwide, Word’s headquarters remained in Waco until the mid 1990s, when the company relocated to Nashville.

    To celebrate its 60th anniversary, Word returned to its roots in Waco, celebrating its own homecoming yesterday during the week of Baylor’s Homecoming 2011. Music and entertainment marketing majors had a chance to share lunch with many of the label’s top executives Wednesday, after which the execs visited the original Word Records building downtown and toured the Mike Curb Music & Entertainment Marketing Learning Lab in the Hankamer School of Business.

    To conclude the day, current Word artists Sidewalk Prophets and Chris August (the 2010 and 2011 Dove Award winners for New Artist of the Year, respectively) held a free concert on Fountain Mall in conjunction with the Homecoming Wednesday Worship service. (Click here for a photo gallery of the day’s events.)

    McCracken is not the only Baylor standout in the world of contemporary Christian music — just the beginning of a long line of Bears in the industry, both on the business side and the artist side, that continues today with groups like the David Crowder Band, Addison Road and Dutton.

    Sic ’em on your 60th, Word!