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Mary, Did You Know?

"Mary, Did You Know?" is a Christmas song with lyrics written by Mark Lowry and music written by Buddy Greene. It was originally recorded by Christian recording artist Michael English on his self-titled debut solo album in 1991 (English and Lowry were both members of the Gaither Vocal Band at the time). It reached No. 6 on CCM Magazine's AC Chart.[1] Lowry would record the song several times himself, most notably with the Gaither Vocal Band on their 1998 Christmas album Still the Greatest Story Ever Told.

The song has since gone on to become a modern Christmas classic, being recorded by many artists over the years across multiple genres.



"Mary, Did You Know?" is originally in the key of E minor, with a tempo of 53 beats per minute based around a chord progression of Em–D–Am–B7sus4–B7 and is in the 4

Kenny Rogers & Wynonna Judd versionEdit

"Mary, Did You Know?"
Single by Kenny Rogers & Wynonna Judd
from the album The Gift
ReleasedDecember 1996
FormatCD single
Songwriter(s)Mark Lowry, Buddy Greene
Producer(s)Brent Maher, Jim McKell
Kenny Rogers singles chronology
"I'll Be There for You"
"Mary, Did You Know?"
"The Greatest"

A duet version recorded by Wynonna Judd and Kenny Rogers on Rogers' holiday album The Gift peaked at No. 55 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in 1997.[3]

Chart positions

Chart (1997) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4] 55

Clay Aiken versionEdit

"Mary, Did You Know?"
Single by Clay Aiken
from the album Merry Christmas with Love
FormatDigital download
GenreContemporary Christian music, Latin Pop
Songwriter(s)Mark Lowry, Buddy Greene
Producer(s)Walter Afanasieff
Clay Aiken singles chronology
"Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
"Mary, Did You Know?"
"Without You"

"Mary, Did You Know?" is Clay Aiken's fifth single for his Christmas album Merry Christmas with Love. Aiken performed the song on The Tyra Banks Show.[5]

Chart positions

Chart (2005) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 35
U.S. Billboard Hot Christian Songs 32

Cee Lo Green versionEdit

"Mary, Did You Know?"
Song by Cee Lo Green
from the album Cee Lo's Magic Moment
FormatDigital download
Songwriter(s)Mark Lowry, Buddy Greene
Producer(s)Adam Anders, Peer Åström

"Mary, Did You Know?" is the eleventh track on Cee Lo's Christmas album Cee Lo's Magic Moment. On December 15, 2012 the song appeared on the US R&B Songs chart at number 22. This version is the slowest of all. It also served as the closing credits song to the 2014 20th Century Fox movie Son of God.

Chart positions

Chart (2012) Peak
U.S. Billboard R&B Songs[6] 11
U.S. Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop Songs[6] 44

Pentatonix versionEdit

"Mary, Did You Know?"
Song by Pentatonix
from the album That's Christmas to Me
ReleasedOctober 17, 2014
FormatDigital download
GenreAmbient, a cappella
Songwriter(s)Mark Lowry, Buddy Greene
Music video
"Mary, Did You Know?" on YouTube

"Mary, Did You Know?" is the sixth track on Pentatonix's second Christmas album, That's Christmas to Me.[7] The song both debuted and peaked at No. 26 on the weekly Billboard Hot 100 chart for the week ending December 6, 2014.

Chart positions

Chart (2014) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[8] 47
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[9] 44
Hungary (Single Top 40)[10] 39
US Billboard Hot 100[11] 26

Jordan Smith versionEdit

In 2015, Jordan Smith performed the song on The Voice's season nine finals. This version debuted and peaked at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and at No. 2 on the Billboard Holiday 100 chart on the week ending January 2, 2016.


The song was also used as the basis for a stage musical, also titled Mary, Did You Know and written by Bruce Greer, that won the 1999 Dove Award for Musical of the Year.[12]


"Mary, Did You Know?" remains a popular piece of Christmas music, although some criticize it for what they perceive as a lack of scriptural or theological depth.[13][14] For example, Lutheran writer Holly Scheer, in addressing the rhetorical-question title of the song writes that those familiar with "the biblical account of Christ’s conception and birth shouldn’t need to ask if Mary knew, because the Bible plainly tells us she did."[15] On the other hand the Roman Catholic author Karl Erickson implored people to praise "Mary, Did You Know?" as a "beautiful expression of God’s love for all of us" and responded to criticism of the piece, stating that "Mary, Did You Know is a song and not a theological essay. Even as simple Christmas music, however, it does a fine job conveying the beauty and profound mystery of the Incarnation. Yes, there is some poetic license taken within the lyrics, but much less than is taken within innumerable other songs we are asked to sing regularly—Sing a New Church, for example."[16]


  1. ^ Brothers, Jeffrey Lee (2003). Hot hits : adult contemporary charts, 1978-2001 (1st ed.). Bloomington, IN: 1stBooks Library. p. 86. ISBN 9781410732941.
  2. ^ "Mary Did You Know sheet music by Clay Aiken (Piano, Vocal & Guitar (Right-Hand Melody) – 120067)". Retrieved September 13, 2018.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Kenny Rogers Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  5. ^ Clay Aiken - Mary Did You Know - The Tyra Banks Show on YouTube
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ Official Video - Mary, Did You Know? - Pentatonix on YouTube
  8. ^ " – Pentatonix – Mary, Did You Know?" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "Pentatonix Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 28, 2018.
  10. ^ "Archívum – Slágerlisták – MAHASZ" (in Hungarian). Single (track) Top 40 lista. Magyar Hanglemezkiadók Szövetsége. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  11. ^ "Pentatonix Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  12. ^ Cusic, Don (2010). Encyclopedia of contemporary Christian music: pop, rock, and worship. ABC-CLIO. pp. 141–. ISBN 978-0-313-34425-1. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  13. ^ McTeigue SJ, Fr. Robert. "The Problem With "Mary Did You Know"". Aleteia. Aleteia. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  14. ^ "Mary, Did You Know?". EWTN. EWTN. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  15. ^ Scheer, Holly (21 December 2016). "Why 'Mary Did You Know' Is The Most Biblically Illiterate Christmas Tune". The Federalist. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  16. ^ Erickson, Karl (30 December 2015). "What Did Mary Know?". Catholic 365. Retrieved 27 November 2017.

External linksEdit