GLAD is one of the pioneers of Christian pop/rock and a cappella music, having formed as a progressive rock group in 1972 and discovered a large audience for their a cappella music in 1988. Today, with over 1.5 million albums sold, they continue to perform concerts and release occasional recordings. As Contemporary Christian Music (CCM Magazine) described it, "GLAD's elegant vocals helped set them apart from other pioneers of Contemporary Christian music. That vocal sound has since evolved into a complex, self-sustaining life form of its own..." The GLAD sound is known for its tight harmonies and intricate arrangements with classical and jazz overtones. Some of their hits over the years have included "Be Ye Glad," "Maker of My Heart," "God is My Rock," "The Easter Song," "You Put This Love in My Heart," and "Color Outside the Lines."
GLAD formed on the campus of West Chester State University of Pennsylvania when singer Ed Nalle auditioned for a new Christian band. Nalle along with Bob Kauflin would write and produce much of GLAD's early material in addition to his role as lead vocalist. The other members (from Temple University in Philadelphia) were Bob Kauflin (keyboards, vocals), T. Coble (bass, vocals), John Bolles (guitar, vocals), and Brad Currie (drums). The group's name was chosen from a poll taken at a shopping mall. (interestingly enough, GLAD was not the winner of the shopping mall poll). Playing over 200 dates annually at college campuses, churches and concert halls throughout the United States, GLAD released their first two albums on Myrrh Records: GLAD (1978) and Beyond a Star (1980). Brothers Wayne Scott Farley (guitar, vocals) and Mark Farley (drums) briefly joined the group to record the latter album, Beyond a Star.
In 1981, the groups signed with Benson Records (on their Greentree label) and began releasing albums with different inflections: Captured in Time (1982) was markedly jazzy, Champion of Love (1985) was big and brassy, and Who Do You Love? (1987) offered driving synth rock.
"The Reason" (on Beyond a Star) was their first a cappella song, which they subsequently re-recorded for their watershed 1988 album, The Acapella Project. That album was released with some trepidation because there was no track record in the genre for the Christian market, but it proved tremendously popular (selling over 400,000 copies), and received a Dove Award nomination and a Billboard Critic's Choice Award. Since that time, GLAD has alternated a cappella recordings with more subdued Adult Contemporary albums, the notable exception being 1995's lively Color Outside the Lines, co-produced by industry veterans Mark Baldwin and Joe Hogue for Light Records.
GLAD made a venture into the mainstream later that year with A Cappella Gershwin (featuring arrangements by the legendary Gene Puerling), which helped introduce their music to a wider audience. The Charleston Gazette wrote, "GLAD has long been Christian pop music's most sophisticated ensemble... The singing, built around Ed Nalle's uncanny high tenor, has the elegance and sophistication the source material demands."
To date the group has produced twenty-three albums and performed thousands of concerts; additionally, since 1985 they have helped to secure sponsors for thousands of needy children in Third World nations through Compassion International and trips to countries such as Haiti, Mexico, Ecuador, Kenya, Brazil and Indonesia.
GLAD's current lineup includes Nalle and longtime members Chris Davis (a musician with a background in classical and electric guitar, plus session work in the Northwest) and John Gates (an experienced studio percussionist who backed Gladys Knight & the Pips, Frankie and the Knockouts, and others), plus alternating keyboardists Paul Langford and Don Pardoe. Kauflin and Don Hart are the group's primary a cappella arrangers. Recently, the group has released recordings inspired by the writings of John Piper and the worship music of Sovereign Grace Ministries (formerly PDI).
- Receive the Glory (A Cappella Project IV) (2005)
- God Of All Comfort (2003)
- Pure and Holy Passion (2002)
- Voices of Christmas (2000)
- A Cappella Worship 2 (1999)
- A Cappella Worship (1998)
- The A Cappella Project III (1996)
- A Cappella Gershwin (1995)
- Color Outside The Lines (1995)
- Acapella Hymns (1993)
- Floodgates (1992)
- The Symphony Project (1991)
- An Acapella Christmas (1991)
- The Acapella Project II (1990)
- Romans (1989)
- The Acapella Project (1988)
- Who Do You Love? (1987)
- Champion of Love (1985)
- No Less Than All (1983)
- Captured in Time (1982)
- Beyond a Star (1980)
- GLAD (1978)
- Live at the Kennedy Center (1984)
- Simply GLAD (2005)
- Signature Songs (2000) (includes "I Find Your Love Again" and "Always")
- GLAD: Collector's Series (2 x disc set, 1998) (includes "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty")
- GLAD: Right Price (1995)
- The Acapella Collection (1991) (includes "Prelude 19")
- GLAD: Radio Anthology (1987)
Other album appearances
- Kenny Rogers: The Gift (1996) (background vocals on "Sweet Little Jesus Boy")
- No Compromise: Remembering the Music of Keith Green (1993) ("How Can They Live Without Jesus?")
- Master Pieces: Classic Christian Songs Made New (1992) ("Rise Again")
- Generation 2 Generation (1992) ("A Simple Song of Praise" featuring the Children of Compassion)
- The Stingers: My Home Isn't In This World (1989) ("Psalm 113; 1-3")
- Al Denson: "Al Denson" (1988) (Background Vocals)
- Scott Wesley Brown: Songs and Stories (1977) (Instruments and background vocals)
- Sonship: It Shall Be (1977) (Background vocals)
- "Color Outside the Lines" (1995)
- The Video Project (1990) - Includes "A Might Forgtress", "Easter Song", "Just As I Am", "That Hymn Thing", "I Am Not Ashamed", "In the First Light", "Be Ye Glad", "Still on the Side of Love"
- "Who Do You Love?" (1987)
- GLAD's harmonies often take advantage of the eleventh and major ninth chords.
- Their a cappella arrangements typically have four to eleven parts.
- They have published several SATB-adapted songbooks, accompaniment tracks, and original Studio Series Charts.
- In 1987, GLAD established the 21st Street Recording studio with JDK Music (whose clients include Disney World, Bell Atlantic, and The Learning Channel) in Purcellville, Virginia.
- The group performed at the 2002 Easter sunrise service at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
- Debby Boone recorded Bob Kauflin's [Sing] "A New Song" (featured on Beyond a Star and The Acapella Project II) on her 1980 album With My Song. She also recorded Michael Kelly Blanchard's "Be Ye Glad" on her 1987 album Friends for Life.
- Kauflin recorded an all-piano instrumental album, Heroic Piano (1988).
- GLAD backed up some of Scott Wesley Brown's early recordings.
- GLAD members have assisted on several Sovereign Grace Music albums.
- Kauflin also recorded in 1991 (released 1992) an Integrity's Hosanna! Music album called "Chosen Treasure".
- Kauflin and Nalle contributed production and vocals to the People of Destiny "Arise and Worship II" CD in 1989.
- Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 363–364. ISBN 1-56563-679-1.
- "Frequently Asked Questions". glad-pro.com. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- "A Brief History of Glad". glad-pro.com. Retrieved 2011-10-29.
- Official homepage
- "Primarily A Cappella"
- RARB review of "A Cappella Gershwin"
- RARB review of "The A Cappella Project III
- RARB review of "A Cappella Worship: The Highest Glory"
- mp3: "Variations on a Hymn" (1983)
- Interview with Bob Kauflin and Don Nalle
- One-Way.org with OOP early samples
- Read about Glad's involvement with Compassion and the children they sponsor.