Marvin Sapp Song Continues to Break Records

NEW YORK (AP) - Marvin Sapp's single "Never Would Have Made It" is a record-breaking phenomenon far beyond the world of gospel.

The track from his seventh album, "Thirsty," is in its 42nd week at No. 1 on Billboard's gospel radio charts. It is a crossover success with its perch at No. 1 on the urban adult contemporary chart, and has become the longest running No. 1 single at radio across all genres in the history of Billboard analysis.

Sapp, who is the founder and senior pastor of Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Grand Rapids, Mich., wrote the song on the Sunday after he eulogized his father. It's built upon a simple refrain: "Never would have made it, never could have made it, without you."

But Sapp, 41, said the single never would have made it onto the album had it not been for the encouragement of his wife and a staffer.

"It was a song that was really therapeutic for me, to get me through probably one of the most traumatic and traumatizing experiences in my life, and I said, 'I'm not putting it on the album because it's for me,'" he told The Associated Press in a recent interview.

But he did. And since then, Sapp, who considers himself a "double-barrel shotgun" because he has both a strong music and preaching ministry, says his engagement requests have "shot through the roof," going from a monthly average of about 50 requests per month to about 150 per month.

"Thirsty," released last July, is now certified gold and has been No. 1 on gospel album sales charts for 27 weeks.

"I'm absolutely enjoying the success that we've experienced, but at the same token I'm very thankful that this happened when I was old enough to handle it," Sapp said.

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