Don Francisco (born February 28, 1946) is an independent American singer, songwriter, and musician, specializing in the field of contemporary Christian music. He has won two Dove awards, 1980 song of the year (for “He’s Alive”), and 1980 Songwriter of the Year.
He was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of a Christian seminary professor Clyde T. Francisco. Francisco’s early career centered on the secular folk-rock music common during the mid 1960s, but after an experience Francisco believed was supernatural, he rededicated his life to God and changed his personal, musical direction. Francisco is married and lives in Colorado with his wife, Wendy, also a recording artist, as well as a graphic artist.
In 1977 Don Francisco recorded “I Don’t Care Where You’ve Been Sleeping” for the album Forgiven. According to the members website: “We get more letters about the healing impact of this song than any other except ‘He’s Alive.’“ It is one of the most uncompromising songs he has ever written and it is considered by many to be one of his best songs.
According to Daniel Melius (Rocky Mountain Ministries Staff), Benson re-released the original album Forgiven along with Got to Tell Somebody, and put them both on one CD in 1988. They left that song off in order to fit both albums on one 70-minute CD. However, they did release the Forgiven album in the early ‘90s with that song on it, along with all others, on their “Right Price” line of CDs. This may be the source of the rumor that “the recording company he was with at that time was worried by the content of the song (that it might offend people because it was “too radical”) so they deleted it.”
Eventually, Don Francisco opted to operate independently, which, while affording him more control, seems to have had no ill effect on his musical output or quality. On the contrary, albums released after have gradually gained the use of further session work and demonstrate an even greater range of styles.
In 2003 Francisco released The Promises, which consists almost entirely of selected and paraphrased readings from the Bible. The disk is a collaboration between Don and Wendy Francisco and is available under the Airlift Recordings label.
Even among Christian musicians, Francisco’s style is fairly distinctive. He tends to focus on acoustic instruments barren of modern production techniques and concentrate on the narratives of the songs, using ballad styles or speaking through the music that interprets Scriptural events or Biblical lessons, specifically with respect to the teachings of Jesus Christ and his messages of “unconditional love” (“I Don’t Care Where You’ve Been Sleeping”), salvation (“Give Your Heart a Home”), and even a lesson against religious self-righteousness and pharisaic condemnation (“Beautiful To Me”). As is the case with many singer-songwriters advocating a specific religious belief or philosophical viewpoint through music, Francisco uses his adaptations and interpretations as the means to convey what he feels are the most important teachings of the Judeo-Christian scriptures.
Some of Don Francisco’s songs deal with what his site calls Churchianity where the habit of church life replaces actual Christianity. Such songs include: “Stand Up” (“Only Love is Spoken Here”, 2004), “Steeple Song”, “Everybody Else But Me” and “Beautiful to Me” (“Beautiful to Me”, 1998), “The Rule of the Spirit” and “Call Nobody Teacher Here, my child” (“Grace on Grace”, 1999) and “Pushin On” (“That I May Know You”, 2005).
Don Francisco retains full copyright on all his work but provides chord charts and lyrics for most of his songs. In addition to this, many of his albums have been recorded sans-lyrics so that an enthusiastic fan might sing them for themselves.
In addition to this rather liberal approach to the base material, his site actively encourages its visitors to create CDs for friends that might appreciate (the site actually says “...might be blessed...”) a custom Don Francisco and Friends CD, with the limits against sale and so forth and the simple requirement that the website URL be written on each CD.
Towards the end of 2006 the member’s area was opened to the public with the same access that had previously been reserved for members now available to anyone. While fans are now asked to donate should they wish, it is now entirely optional and separate from access to the base material.