This well know gospel song was written by Stuart Hamblen, who’s regarded as one of radio’s first “singing cowboys.” He was the son of a Methodist minister in Texas who had a lot of trouble handling his newfound fame. Much like others before and after him, Hamblen’s drinking and the destructive behavior that followed, would often land him in jail.
His troubles changed shortly after meeting Billy Graham. They were both appearing on Hamblen’s show to publicize the event. While on the show, Graham invited Hamblen to attend his crusade, and he accepted. After the show Graham asked if they could meet together and talk. It was then, Hamblen committed his life to Jesus Christ.
After a period of time, one of Hamblen’s Hollywood friends asked him about the rumor going around that Hamblen had changed his ways. Hamblen then replied, it was no secret what God had done for him and what God could do for his friend. That friend’s name was John Wayne, who then encouraged Hamblen to turn those lines into a song. Following Wayne’s advice, Hamblen wrote “It Is No Secret,” becoming the first song to reach #1 on the Gospel, Country, and Pop charts. Later, it was recorded by such greats as Mahalia Jackson and Elvis Presley.
Coming from his own painful experience of too much whiskey and women, George Jones recorded my personal favorite of Hamblen’s gospel gem.