Album: The Michael W. Smith Project (1983)
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  • Michael W. Smith wrote the music for this, while his wife, Debbie, wrote the lyrics. Debbie has always had a knack for writing poetry and after they married, he helped transform her gifting into an ability for penning lyrics. She co-wrote most of his debut album, including the popular praise song "Great Is the Lord" as well as this tune. Debbie also has a credit on "There's Still Time" on Kathy Troccoli's 1982 Stubborn Love album. After the birth of their first son Ryan, Debbie's energy was directed away from songwriting to being a mother.
  • Michael W. Smith told American Songwriter magazine July/August 1987: "I've gotten tons of response from that song. And it's a song that relates to kids who have lost friends in car accidents, in death, or even going to summer camp and having to leave new friends. The chorus says, 'friends are friends forever.' When I sing it in concert, everybody cries - I still get choked up when I sing it."
  • This was written for a friend who was moving out of town. Michael told us the story of the song: "He was part of a group that we had a little bible study we had that he's moving away," he said. "And we were all having a get together that night and she said, 'Man, we should write, we should do something for Bill.' Bill Jackson was his name. 'And we should write him a song.' I said, 'Great, we'll write him a song and send it to him.' And she said, 'I think we should write it this afternoon.' And I thought she was had lost her mind."

    And then 30 minutes later I was outside, she walked out and handed me this lyric," Michael continued. "And it was the words to 'Friends.' And I went inside to the piano and in three and a half minutes wrote the melody and we played it for Bill that night, and everybody cried. And I got up the next day and looked at my wife, and I said, 'Deb,' I said, 'I think we might have something here.' And so that was on the very first album, it was also on Change the World. It's been recorded several times over these last three decades. And I'm still singing it. Little did I know it I'd have to sing it the rest of my life."
  • Michael told us that this was unusual for him as he's written very few songs with the lyric in front of him, trying to write a melody to it. He added that, "say 95 percent of my songs, it's been a melody thing first."
  • Michael W. Smith became close to George H. W. Bush after meeting the US president in 1989. He sang this song at Bush's state funeral service at the National Cathedral in Washington, DC on December 5, 2018.

Comments: 12

  • Paulie from Springfield XyI think this song is really overrated and I think there are better songs about friends and also songs about god I wish people devoted themselves to those songs like they did this one MAKES YOU THINK Beautiful lyrics
  • Ron from Fort WorthThis song is in the American/Korean film Menari 2021. It is featured in the church scene.
  • JenniferI liked this song since the first time I heard it, it came out the same year That's What Friends Are For came out, at least as far as I can remember. Beautiful song true words.
  • AnonymousLiked the song "friends" since yes back 1984 I was in high school choir I asked my choir director bouts using the song for my 1985 gradation & never knew I would ever meets up with Michael w.smith (I was the caregiver for my stepdaddy whenever we went too Tennessee outdoor fleamarkets where he was walking through the crowd) always have listened too uplifting contemporary Christian music!never dreamed of living during years of lifestyles as the 1920s as told by my granddad& our u.s.a.this 2020& 21 I say going through 1920 golden olden days WHERE CITIZENS NEEDS TOO CHOOSE JOY
  • Casey Andrea from ZimbabweHe's an awesome voice and I love his music
  • Fatch from Blantyre, MalawiI liked the song the first time I heard it; great song.
  • Sandra W Armstrong from Florida Beautiful words!!
  • Kathy from Wonder Lake IlOne of my favorite songs my niece and husband sang it and at his celebration of life we played The version they had done it was beautiful. Whenever I need to hear his voice I play it. It gives me hope
  • Dale from FloridaThe song, “Friends” has had a profound impact on me from the first time I heard it. Though I’d never met Michael W. Smith, I met Amy Grant when she was still in college and singing in various venues (I think it was her first trip to Hawaii), promoting her album, “My Father’s Eyes”.
  • Don from Sevierville, TnI never did like this song!
  • Kaytee from Melbourne, FlI am using this song for my baccularate this year. What a great song.
  • Bryan from Spring, TxGreat song! We used to sing this at the end of church camp every summer when I was a kid.
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