All 50 of Steven Curtis Chapman’s Historic No. 1s

Posted on Friday, March 24, 2023 by Lindsay Williams

Steven Curtis Chapman

Since the beginning of his career, Steven Curtis Chapman has made headlines. Sometimes the bold print publicized his unprecedented achievements, other times the lead delivered a story marred by tragedy. Whether on top of the mountain or down in the valley, Chapman’s songs never changed, and perhaps that’s why he remains one of the greatest storytellers of our day.

RELATED CONTENT: Steven Curtis Chapman Becomes First Artist in Christian Music History to Earn 50 No. 1s

Repeatedly told he didn’t have a strong singing voice, the aspiring artist initially rose to prominence on the strength of his songwriting. Respected acts like Sandi Patty and The Imperials recorded Chapman’s songs before he ever had a record deal of his own. His debut single, “Weak Days,” from 1987’s “First Hand” peaked at No. 2, but the following year, Chapman released an unassuming track called “His Eyes” from his sophomore effort, “Real Life Conversations.” When “His Eyes” became the newcomer’s first No. 1 hit, it planted a seed that would reap an unimaginable harvest. Fast forward nearly four decades, and Chapman now holds more No. 1 songs to his credit than any other artist in Christian music. In fact, he recently made history when “Don’t Lose Heart” became his 50th No. 1, placing him in the ranks of an elite group of musicians that includes Madonna, George Straight and Conway Twitty.

RELATED CONTENT: Steven Curtis Chapman Surprises Fellow Artists Coby James and Joseph O'Brien

From his tear-inducing ballads to his fist-pumping anthems, Chapman’s catalog is filled with undeniable hit after hit, revealing a prolific songwriter, an unwavering family man and an incredibly gifted vocalist. Furthermore, his celebrated discography showcases him as the finest of storytellers. Above all, Chapman’s 50 No. 1 songs unearth the depth of his faith — even amidst his doubts and questions. Long after the Christian music pioneer lays down his guitar, perhaps the only thing that will outlive his hits will be his tremendous character. 

RELATED CONTENT: Thirty-Five Years In, Steven Curtis Chapman Still Has Songs to Sing

A true songwriter’s songwriter, Steven Curtis Chapman’s chart-topping tracks have helped shape numerous eras in Christian music, continuously raising the bar and leading the way for his peers and countless others who have followed in his footsteps. From “His Eyes” to “Don’t Lose Heart,” here are all of Chapman’s 50 historic No. 1s.

1. “His Eyes”

The gentle “His Eyes” became Chapman’s very first chart-topper, providing an early glimpse at the man who — track by track — morphed into a masterful storyteller. The song that speaks of how God’s watchful eyes are always upon His children served as a single from the award winner’s sophomore effort, “Real Life Conversations,” which released in the spring of 1988.

2. “My Turn Now”

Chapman’s second No. 1, “My Turn Now,” kicked it up a notch with its head-bopping, finger-snapping hook and barber shop quartet worthy harmonies. A musical profession of faith, the “Real Life Conversations” track, which he wrote with Brent Lamb, found the singer following in the footsteps of biblical giants and relinquishing his life to Christ.

3. “More To This Life”

Co-penned by Chapman and Phil Naish, the title-cut of the Christian music icon’s third studio set, “More To This Life,” previewed a bit of the American Music Award winner’s future pop sensibilities as he pondered the meaning of life. Clocking in at over five minutes, it’s a wonder “More To This Life” made it to radio at all, let alone all the way to the top of the charts.

4. “I Will Be Here”

I Will Be Here” remains one of Chapman’s signature songs, despite the fact it was released so early in his career. After his parents unexpectedly divorced, and shortly after the singer himself got married, the 59-time GMA Dove Award winner declared his lifelong commitment to his wife, Mary Beth, in what has become one of the sweetest love songs in Christian music history.

WATCH NOW: "I Will Be Here" Live at the 1991 Dove Awards

5. “Love You With My Life”

Chapman followed the declaration of commitment to his wife with a declaration of commitment to the Lord in the form of “Love You With My Life,” his third No. 1 hit from “More To This Life.”  On the soulful, upbeat selection, the legendary singer/songwriter let his life do the talking with an assist from a Gospel choir and some spirited horns.

WATCH NOW: "Love You With My Life" Front Row

6. “Treasure Island”

The bright, imaginative “Treasure Island” captured Chapman’s uncanny ability to paint an entire world with his poetic words. Crafting a metaphor for diving into God’s Word and buoyed by a happy guitar, “Treasure Island” made the Bible feel like a trove of riches just waiting to be explored.

LISTEN NOW: "Treasure Island" Official Audio

7. “For The Sake of the Call”

Chapman opened a fresh decade with one of the most memorable songs in his early discography, “For The Sake of the Call.” The namesake of his fourth studio album, the 1990 hit had the five-time GRAMMY® winner recalling the time Jesus called the 12 disciples and boldly pledging his own devotion to Him as a Christ follower.

WATCH NOW: "For The Sake of the Call" Video

8. “When You Are A Soldier”

The piano-led “When You Are A Soldier” was the second single from “For The Sake of the Call” to summit the charts. The BMI Icon Award winner wrote his eighth No. 1 for his dad when he was walking through a particularly difficult time. Chapman performed the classic cut on the Ryman stage in 2015 during a special edition of “Sam’s Place,” alongside Bear Rinehart, who said the established artist inspired the music he made with his band, NEEDTOBREATHE.

WATCH NOW: "When You Are A Soldier" With NEEDTOBREATHE

9. “No Better Place”

“For The Sake of the Call’s” third chart-topper, “No Better Place,” was a quintessential ’90s pop jam. The autobiographical track reflected on the narrow road that is the Christian life. But when Chapman sang about it, he made you want to walk it with him.

WATCH NOW: "No Better Place" Live Performance

10. “Busy Man”

Chapman didn’t achieve 50 No. 1s by resting on his laurels. Fifty No. 1s required a lot of hard work, but regardless, the family man has always prioritized his wife and six kids — even as his career exploded. Reflecting his personal ethos, the quirky “Busy Man” wove a tale of central character “Billy,” who placed value on his job and wealth versus time with his loved ones. Less a song about Jesus and more a song based on biblical principles, “Busy Man” became Chapman’s tenth radio offering to reach No. 1.

WATCH NOW: "Busy Man" Live Performance

11. “What Kind of Joy”

What Kind of Joy” marveled at the kind of rare gladness and peace certain people possess in the face of suffering, persecution and injustice. On the fifth and final single from “For The Sake of the Call,” Chapman proclaimed that this kind of joy can only come from a heart hidden in Jesus.

LISTEN NOW: "What Kind of Joy" Official Audio

12. “The Great Adventure”

By 1992, Chapman might have already garnered 11 No. 1s, but when “The Great Adventure” — co-written with his longtime friend, Geoff Moore — dropped ahead of his fifth studio album by the same name, Chapman skyrocketed into another stratosphere. “The Great Adventure” captured a Dove Award for Song of the Year in 1993, and suddenly, the unassuming blonde-haired songwriter from Kentucky was a veritable superstar. Chapman was doing more than simply saddling up his horses; he was blazing a trail in Christian music.

WATCH NOW: "The Great Adventure" Official Music Video

13. “Where We Belong”

Where We Belong” rode the coattails of “The Great Adventure” with its whispers of Eden, the Fall and the long-awaited Messiah. Only Chapman could pack all of history into a four-minute song. He established our place in the story of God with the passionate mid-tempo track.

LISTEN NOW: "Where We Belong" Official Audio

14. “Go There With You”

Keeping with his tradition of writing songs for Mary Beth, “Go There With You” was another renewal of his vow of unwavering commitment to their marriage. With an unrivaled passionate delivery, the Christian music pioneer promised to love his wife with the same kind of sacrificial love shown to him through Jesus.

WATCH NOW: "Go There With You" Live Performance

15. “Still Called Today (feat. BeBe Winans)”

The last of “The Great Adventure” era singles came in the form of “Still Called Today,” a soulful duet with Bebe Winans challenging listeners to say the things they need to say before time slips away. Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed, so Chapman encouraged his fans to find the courage to forgive in this cleverly written selection.

LISTEN NOW: "Still Called Today" Official Audio

16. “Heaven In The Real World”

If “The Great Adventure” catapulted Chapman to superstar status, “Heaven In The Real World”  cemented him as an unmatched hitmaker. The Platinum-certified record led with the hope-filled title track, which opened with an unforgettable, spine-tingling intro from Chuck Colson. As Chapman acknowledged the headlines of the day, he also recognized where our help comes from in a countercultural offering that fans rallied to the top of the charts.

WATCH NOW: "Heaven In The Real World" Official Music Video

17. “King of the Jungle”

Chapman brought a little heaven into his real-world craziness with “Heaven In The Real World’s” sophomore single, “King of the Jungle.” The fun-loving offering showcased the husband and father’s real-life regular-guy-next-door personality with its highly relatable lyrics that left every ’90s youth group kid rocking out to the K-I-N-G of the J-U-N-G-L-E.

LISTEN NOW: "King of the Jungle" Official Audio

18. “Dancing With The Dinosaur”

Staying true to the jungle theme, Chapman’s 18th No. 1, “Dancing With The Dinosaur,” opened with a killer guitar intro and harkened back to prehistoric times with a lighthearted metaphor about living life with convictions based on biblical truth instead of cultural trends. While some might have easily discarded the cleverly veiled tune, a closer look reveals “Dancing With The Dinosaur” to be one of Chapman’s most creative and profound tracks.

LISTEN NOW: "Dancing With The Dinosaur" Official Audio

19. “The Mountain”

Chapman followed the rock-heavy “Dancing With The Dinosaur” with the more straightforward, mid-tempo “The Mountain.” The easy, winding track meandered through another analogy of finding rest in Christ. As Chapman so poetically asserted, “The Mountain” preps us for life’s inevitable valleys.

LISTEN NOW: "The Mountain" Official Audio

20. “Heartbeat of Heaven”

Filled with an unforgettable refrain ticking off the Fruits of the Spirit, “Heartbeat of Heaven” detailed Chapman’s chance encounter with a homeless man at a stop sign in the first verse before it revealed the decorated artist wrestling with his own pride and sinful tendencies in verse two. The breezy single capped an even 20 No. 1s for the singer, further establishing him as one of the genre’s best songwriters.

LISTEN NOW: "Heartbeat of Heaven" 

21. “Sometimes He Comes In The Clouds”

“Sometimes He Comes In The Clouds” was Chapman’s first No. 1 single not associated with an album of his own since signing a record deal as an artist. The rainbow-after-the-rain ballad was released to radio from “My Utmost For His Highest,” a GRAMMY®-nominated, Dove Award-winning compilation inspired by the celebrated devotional written by Oswald Chambers. The popularity of the unique 11-song collection additionally spawned a multi-artist tour that also featured Chapman.

LISTEN NOW: "Sometimes He Comes In The Clouds" Official Audio

22. “Christmas Is All In The Heart”

Chapman’s 22nd chart-topper, “Christmas Is All In The Heart,” arrived as a holiday selection. The autobiographical title-cut from his first seasonal effort, 1995’s “The Music of Christmas,” found Chapman reflecting on Christmases spent with his brother as a boy growing up in Kentucky, first Christmases as a poor newlywed and more recent Christmases as a dad to his own “blond-haired dreamers” — a nod to his oldest three children: Emily, Caleb and Will. The songwriter, of course, tied it all back to the greatest gift of Love that will never be found under a tree.

WATCH NOW: "Christmas Is All In The Heart" Exclusive K-LOVE Performance

23. “Lord of the Dance”

Lord of the Dance” introduced Chapman’s 1996 album, “Signs of Life.” With its memorable tribal beats and complex guitar work, the signature track quickly ascended the charts and become a highly anticipated moment each night during Chapman’s larger-than-life arena tour. The landmark single also continued his untouchable streak at radio.

WATCH NOW: "Lord of the Dance" Official Music Video

24. “Signs of Life”

The moody “Signs of Life” made its way up the charts through a web of creative lyrics, layered vocals and textured guitars as Chapman wondered, “Where are the signs of life?” As he descriptively detailed his real-life yard and home filled with the ever-present remnants of his young children, he pondered the meaning of life and the attributes he hoped he was reflecting.

WATCH NOW: "Signs of Life" Live Performance

25. “Let Us Pray”

Containing one of Chapman’s hookiest refrains, “Let Us Pray” had youth group kids of the ’90s bowing their heads and folding their hands with this contagious earworm that taught us God wants to hear from us all day, every day, 24/7.

WATCH NOW: "Let Us Pray" Official Music Video

26. “Free”

From the pure sunshine of “Let Us Pray,” the award-winning songwriter sharply transitioned to “Free,” a dark, serious-toned single that told the somber story of an incarcerated man who finds freedom in Christ. The powerful, sobering selection was inspired by Chapman’s partnership with Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship. While somewhat of a sonic departure for the pop-friendly hitmaker, “Free” showcased Chapman’s ability to transport listeners to unlikely settings to witness the Spirit of God at work — even a jail cell.

LISTEN NOW: "Free" Official Audio

27. “Hold On To Jesus”

The poignant “Hold On To Jesus” closed out the “Signs of Life” chapter with Chapman reiterating the most important treasure in his life. “I will hold on to the hand of my Savior, and I will hold on with all my might,” he vowed in the song. “I will hold loosely to things that are fleeting and hold on to Jesus for life.”

LISTEN NOW: "Hold Onto Jesus" Official Audio

28. “Not Home Yet”

The hope-affirming “Not Home Yet” bridged the gap between two career-defining albums — “Signs of Life” and “Speechless.” The warm and friendly single opened his 14-track “Greatest Hits” collection that bowed in 1997. The expectant, piano-laced selection was one of four previously unreleased offerings that debuted on the retrospective, which curated all of Chapman’s biggest songs to date.

WATCH NOW: "Not Home Yet" Official Music Video

29. “I Will Not Go Quietly”

Borrowing a similar sonic feel to “Lord of the Dance,” Chapman penned “I Will Not Go Quietly” for 1997’s theatrical release, “The Apostle,” starring Robert Duvall, Farrah Fawcett and Billy Bob Thornton. The film followed the story of a preacher-turned-radio-evangelist attempting to outrun secrets buried in his past. The bluesy “I Will Not Go Quietly” appeared on the movie’s official soundtrack and during the ending credits.

WATCH NOW: "I Will Not Go Quietly" Live Performance

30. “Speechless”

Three years after “Signs of Life,” Chapman returned with a soaring worship-filled masterpiece — “Speechless.” The awe-inspiring opus — complete with a full choir and strings recorded by the London Session Orchestra — served as the title track of his acclaimed 1999 album, largely regarded as one of the icon’s best efforts. The Platinum-certified collection produced more No. 1 songs (seven) than any of Chapman’s other records.

WATCH NOW: "Speechless" Live Performance

31. “Dive”

Dive” quickly became one of Chapman’s most celebrated songs. With its quirky electronic elements, spit-fire chorus and enough “Ohs” to satisfy an epic live concert singalong, “Dive” was a jumping-into-the-deep-end moment of surrender that can be described as nothing short of quintessential SCC. Although it was released as the second single from Chapman’s ninth studio recording, “Dive” ultimately defined the “Speechless” era.

WATCH NOW: "Dive" Official Music Video

32. “Be Still and Know”

One of Chapman’s most poignant songs, the hymn-like “Be Still and Know” served as the closing track on “Speechless.” On the simple piano refrain, Chapman invited listeners into a time of rest rooted in Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

LISTEN NOW: "Be Still and Know" Official Audio

33. “Great Expectations”

Borrowing a title from Charles Dickens’ acclaimed novel, Chapman implored listeners to “believe the unbelievable” on “Great Expectations.” Filled with his urgent vocal and a dark, haunting melody, the track climbed the charts thanks to the established artist’s thoughtful, biblical take on approaching God boldly in prayer.

LISTEN NOW: "Great Expectations" Official Audio

34. “The Invitation”

Co-written with his longtime friend and collaborator, Geoff Moore, “The Invitation” painted a vivid portrait of royalty as a King sends His Son to die for the beggar, the broken and the weary. “This is your invitation. Come just the way you are,” Chapman beckoned. “Come find what your soul has been longing for. Come find your peace. Come join the feast. Come in, this is your invitation.” Bursting with lush strings, the warm mid-tempo selection unraveled an artistically framed metaphor for the Gospel. 

LISTEN NOW: "The Invitation" 

35. “Fingerprints of God”

Dedicated to the singer’s daughter, Emily, “Fingerprints of God” was a retro-tinged pop offering that lovingly reassured the eldest Chapman, who had just turned 13, she was “a living, breathing priceless work of art.” The hand-clap-backed track was the sixth single sent to radio from Chapman’s career-defining work, “Speechless.”

36. “The Change”

The Change” — the electric final single from his ninth studio release — tackled the WWJD, fish bumper sticker mentality of the late ’90s where a bracelet or T-Shirt publicly pledged your allegiance to God. Yet, on “The Change,” Chapman gently bucked this trend asserting that these expressions should simply be an outward representation of an inward transformation. Additionally, his kids made a cameo on the bridge, quoting 2 Corinthians 5:17.

LISTEN NOW: "The Change" Official Audio

37. “Live Out Loud”

Heralding 2001’s “Declaration,” “Live Out Loud” definitely did “wake the neighbors” with Chapman’s iconic shout-out to Regis Philbin. Encouraging listeners to boldly proclaim their faith, the explosive pop jam lit up the charts, notching the legendary artist his 37th No. 1. The jangly chorus of “La-La-La, La-La-La-La” created an unforgettable live moment ready-made for his 70-city tour in 2002 that featured Nichole Nordeman as an opening act and introduced the powerful story of late missionary Nate Saint.

WATCH NOW: "Live Out Loud" Official Music Video

38. “God Is God”

The simultaneously lush and rhythmic “God Is God” packaged a massive truth into a four-minute chant-filled offering that’s both soul-stirring and theatrical. Back in the early 2000s, Chapman could never know how much he would lean on his own lyrics eight years later when he would bury his daughter, Maria: “God is God and I am not. I can only see a part of the picture He’s painting. God is God and I am man. So I’ll never understand it all. For only God is God.”

WATCH NOW: "God Is God" Live Performance 

39. “Magnificent Obsession”

Magnificent Obsession” showcased Chapman’s ongoing wrestling with all the things he doesn’t understand this side of heaven, and on the sprawling confessional, he returned to his first love. More than a recommitment, the urgent, prayerful plea saw Chapman standing on the same firm foundation upon which he’s built his life, family and career.

LISTEN NOW: "Magnificent Obsession" Official Audio

40. “All About Love”

Ahead of his 19th wedding anniversary, Chapman unveiled his 11th record, “All About Love,” in early 2003. Aptly titled, “All About Love” was dedicated solely to Mary Beth with an album full of love songs written and recorded for his bride, as well as originals filled with Chapman’s love for his kids and his Creator. The catchy title-cut celebrated not just his love for Mary Beth, but also the love the Father lavishes on His children.

WATCH NOW: "All About Love" Official Music Video

41. “Moment Made For Worshipping”

Also culled from the 16-track ode to his wife, “Moment Made For Worshipping” was an underrated SCC single that still made its way to the top of the charts, despite the original version clocking in at over six minutes. The abbreviated radio edit was a slice-of-life selection that took listeners through the oft-overlooked everyday moments that are worthy of our gratitude in the form of praise to God.

LISTEN NOW: "Moment Made For Worshipping" Official Audio

42. “All Things New”

Chapman’s 42nd chart-topper prefaced his “All Things New” album. The revered recording artist leaned heavily on piano for the GRAMMY®-winning collection. Even the expansive title track began with a notable key-laden intro before morphing into textured territory as wide and as brilliant as a sunrise cresting over the horizon. The opening selection also featured the subtle vocals of Lifehouse lead singer Jason Wade.

LISTEN NOW: "All Things New" Official Audio

43. “Much of You”

Chapman returned to his signature instrument on the guitar-heavy “Much of You,” also bringing in a backdrop of strings — a sonic element he greatly employed throughout “Speechless.” The expertly crafted song featured Chapman in fine form. “Much of You” took the focus squarely off the successful singer and placed it on the fame of the One he’s sung about from the very beginning.

LISTEN NOW: "Much of You" Official Audio

44. “Believe Me Now”

“Believe Me Now,” the third and final single from “All Things New,” was shared from the perspective of God speaking directly to His children, reminding us He is who He says He is. Chapman skillfully penned the lyrics in the midst of a proverbial storm as if God was asking us, “So, do you believe My promises are true now?” In addition, Chapman enlisted then Third Day frontman Mac Powell to join him on the song’s final refrain.

LISTEN NOW: "Believe Me Now" Official Audio

45. “Yours”

The globally-minded “Yours” became something of an outlier as Chapman took listeners to London, Uganda, Nashville and beyond — all in a matter of minutes. One of three songs to release to radio from his 14th studio set, “This Moment,” “Yours” was the only one of the trio to reach the chart’s summit. Ironically, “Yours” even bested Chapman’s now signature Top 10 hit, “Cinderella,” which he wrote after a nightly bedtime ritual shared with his youngest daughters, Stevey Joy and Maria Sue.

WATCH NOW: "Yours" Live Performance

46. “Do Everything”

An excruciating four years elapsed between Chapman’s 45th and 46th chart-toppers. His 2009 offering, “Beauty Will Rise,” was an album the Gospel Music Association’s most-awarded artist never wanted to write. A therapeutic outlet for the grief-stricken father, following the tragic loss of his five-year-old daughter, Maria, the raw “Beauty Will Rise” was never meant to be radio-friendly, let alone commercially viable. Meanwhile, 2011’s “re:creation” album helped to buy the singer more time as he pondered what the future of his career would even look like in the wake of such unimaginable loss. “Do Everything” — rooted in Colossians 3:23 — opened the hit-filled collection that boasted eight remixes of beloved songs and a handful of new tracks. 

WATCH NOW: "Do Everything" Official Music Video

47. “Christmas Time Again”

Chapman offered up thanks to God for His gift of love on the campy “Christmas Time Again,” an original single found on 2012’s “Joy.” The Kentucky native mainly rocked around the Christmas tree on the quirky selection that packed a nostalgic doo-wop punch, recounting relatable memories that mark the holidays as a time of family, tradition and faith.

WATCH NOW: "Christmas Time Again" Acoustic Performance 

48. “Love Take Me Over”

Love Take Me Over” returned Chapman to the top of the charts in 2013 and to the pop formula that has been the bedrock of his career. Part prayer, part anthem, the upbeat “Love Take Me Over” memorably called out Starbucks as “the little lady in green” and featured a notable bridge with a wait-for-it whistle. A significant addition to his catalog, “Love Take Me Over” came from Chapman’s 12-track “The Glorious Unfolding.”

WATCH NOW: "Love Take Me Over" Exclusive K-LOVE Performance

49. “Dive (featuring Ricky Skaggs)”

Dive” is Chapman’s only song to crown the charts twice. The monster hit got the full Kentucky treatment on “Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows,” a nod to his rural upbringing and the award winner’s second bluegrass project, which featured both his dad and his brother. The banjo-filled version of “Dive” boasted country/bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs. The hitmaker performed the reimagined edition of his classic song, alongside acclaimed bluegrass duo Dailey & Vincent and members of his family, at the 2019 K-LOVE Fan Awards.

50. “Don’t Lose Heart”

Although Chapman was already considered a Christian music legend long before he released “Don’t Lose Heart,” his latest No. 1 affirms the icon’s impressive longevity. When the lead single from his most recent record, “Still,” topped the charts in February of 2023, Chapman became the first artist in the history of the genre to accrue 50 No. 1s. The decorated songwriter might be a seasoned veteran of his craft, but if anything, the lyrical brilliance and melodic hook of “Don’t Lose Heart” prove that Chapman’s songs remain timeless.

WATCH NOW: "Don't Lose Heart" Official Music Video

BeBe WinansHistoryMac PowellNEEDTOBREATHENumber OneSteven Curtis ChapmanThird DayMusic

You Might Also Like