D.K. Foreman – Personal Blog

Story Behind the Song: We Will Stand

by on Nov.19, 2016, under 2016 Year, Revival In America

The Imperials
Shari MacDonald

In the early ’80s, Russ Taff was enjoying a new solo career, having recently left The Imperials. But he found himself troubled by evidence of racism in the church. He was particularly influenced by a story he had heard several years earlier, shared by black gospel singer Archie Dennis, Jr. As Taff remembers the story, Archie had been invited to sing at a church in Alabama, but the church leaders did not realize he was black. On the agreed-upon Sunday, Archie went to the church to set up, where he was met by a very surprised pastor.

The Late Archie Lee Dennis Jr. (1935 - 2001)

The Late Archie Lee Dennis Jr. (1935 – 2001)

Taff recalls, “The pastor came to him and very apologetically said, ‘This is not gonna work here.’” He then explained to Archie that a black gospel singer would not be welcomed at his all-white church and asked him to leave.

“Archie said that as he was walking out, he was crying and he said, ‘You know, Jesus, You saved me. You’ve brought me to You. Why won’t a lot of the churches in America let me in?’ And the Lord spoke to him and said, ‘Archie, they won’t let Me in, either.’”

Late one night, still haunted by this story, Taff found himself sitting at his kitchen table, unable to sleep.

Russ Taff

Russ Taff

“At about two o’clock I just started writing; at four o’clock I pretty much had the first verse and chorus together. I ran in and woke my wife Tori up and said, ‘Honey, look at this!’ And she looked at it and said, ‘That’s really good,’ and rolled over and went back to sleep! I think the next day we got together and finished it, and James Hollihan, my guitar player, put some music to it.”

“You’re my brother, you’re my sister/So take me by the hand/Together we will work until He comes/There’s no foe that can defeat us/When we’re walking side by side/And as long as there is love/We will stand.”

Today “We Will Stand” is a classic, and its message is as vital as it was two decades ago.

“The song accomplished in a degree what I wanted‚” Taff says, “and that is bringing people together and letting go of labels. There’s still this huge line, I feel, between blacks and whites and Hispanics, and every once in awhile you come across a church that has really reached out to the community at large. All I know is, the song had an effect on me, and after all these years it’s still singable and still sung, and the message is still relevant.”

“We can change the world forever,” Taff says confidently, “if we’ll all stand together.”

We Will Stand – Lyrics by Russ Taff

Sometimes it’s hard for me to understand
Why we pull away from each other so easily,
Even though we’re all walking the same road
Yet we build dividing walls between
Our brothers and ourselves.
But I, I don’t care what label you may wear
If you believe in Jesus you belong with me.
The bond we share is all I care to see
And we’ll change the world forever
If you will join with me,
Join and sing, sing,

You’re my brother, you’re my sister,
So take me by the hand
Together we will work until He comes.
There’s no foe that can defeat us
When we’re walking side by side.
So long as there is love,
We will stand.

The day will come when we will be as one,
And with a mighty voice together
we will proclaim that Jesus
Jesus is King.
It will echo through the earth;
It will shake the nations,
And the world will see,
See that you’re my brother, you’re my sister
So take me by the hand
Together we will work until He comes.
There’s no foe that can defeat us
When we’re walking side by side.
So long as there is love,
We will stand.

Take me by the hand,
Join with me.
Join and see – yeah.
You’re my brother, you’re my sister,
So take me by the hand.
Together we will work until He comes.
There’s no foe that can defeat us
When we’re walking side by side.
As long as there is love,
We will stand


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