WOW series

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"WOW" is a series of annual compilation albums featuring contemporary Christian music. The birth of the WOW record project can be traced Grant Cunningham, A&R Director at Sparrow Records. In November 1994 Grant made a business trip to EMI Limited in London, which at the time was the parent company of Sparrow Records. There he noticed that several British record labels were issuing an annual CD of top-rated songs, known as the NOW series, containing collections of pop songs. Grant brought the idea back to Sparrow. Sparrow executives suggested a similar project be developed for Christian pop music and Grant was assigned the task of getting the project off the ground. The WOW franchise represents the most successful collections of Christian music ever issued.

Released in late 1995, "WOW 1996" was the first in the WOW series and the first recording put together by the three major Christian record companies of the time: Word Records (now Word Entertainment), Sparrow Records (now part of EMI Christian Music Group), and Reunion Records (now part of Sony's Provident Label Group). Still today, after each submitting label agrees to a reduced master royalty, the final decision on the tracks to be included is made by committee. Production, marketing, and distribution for the "WOW Hits" series is handled by EMI Christian Music Group.

In 1999, the annual "WOW Worship" series was launched. Rather than using the year, each release is identified by the color of the cover. The worship series and hits series are today among the bestselling members of the product brand.

Comprising songs submitted by each partner label, the annual "WOW Hits" releases have typically been double CD sets. Beginning in 2008, however, "WOW" began releasing separate single-disc collections spread throughout each year, rather than a two-disc collection toward the end of each year. In addition to "WOW Hits," which focuses on the most popular pop and pop-rock music, plans call for edgier single-disc "WOW Rock Hits" and "WOW Pop Hits" collections released twice a year.

Released annually[edit]

WOW Essentials[edit]

WOW Essentials was first released in August 2008. It contains twelve songs that are "essential to Christian music life." The first album features songs from Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, and many others. The focus of this series is to showcase favorite and well-known songs picked from the most recent years.

WOW Essentials consists of the following albums:

Title Details Peak chart positions
US Christ
WOW Essentials
  • Release date: August 5, 2008
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
13
WOW Essentials 2 24

WOW Hits[edit]

WOW Series is the first and most successful series of WOW collections.[1] It contains the following albums:

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
US
US Christ
WOW 1996
  • Release date: November 7, 1995
  • Label: Sparrow, EMI
  • Formats: CD
144 7
WOW 1997
  • Release date: October 29, 1996
  • Label: Sparrow, EMI
  • Formats: CD
71 1
  • US: Platinum[3]
WOW 1998
  • Release date: November 4, 1997
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
52 2
WOW 1999
  • Release date: October 20, 1998
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
51 2
  • US: 2× Platinum[6]
  • CAN: Gold[7]
WOW 2000
  • Release date: October 26, 1999
  • Label: Sparrow, EMI
  • Formats: CD
29 1
  • US: 2× Platinum[8]
  • CAN: Gold[9]

WOW Hits is the second and also the most successful series of WOW collections.[1] In the year 2000, it was rebranded from WOW Series to WOW Hits. It contains the following albums:

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
Sales
US
US Christ
WOW Hits 2001
  • Release date: October 24, 2000
  • Label: Sparrow, EMI
  • Formats: CD
36 1
  • US: 2× Platinum[10]
WOW Hits 2002
  • Release date: October 23, 2001
  • Label: Sparrow
  • Formats: CD
52 2
WOW Hits 2003
  • Release date: October 1, 2002
  • Label: Chordant
  • Formats: CD
34 1
WOW Hits 2004
  • Release date: October 7, 2003
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
51 1
WOW Hits 2005
  • Release date: October 5, 2004
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
39 1
WOW Hits 2006
  • Release date: October 4, 2005
  • Label: Chordant
  • Formats: CD
42 1
WOW Hits 2007
  • Release date: October 3, 2006
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
38 1
WOW Hits 2008 56 2
WOW Hits 1
  • Release date: April 8, 2008
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
99 4
WOW Hits 2009
  • Release date: October 7, 2008
  • Label: Word
  • Formats: CD
31 1
WOW Hits 2010
  • Release date: October 6, 2009
  • Label: Word
  • Formats: CD
33 1
WOW Hits 2011
  • Release date: October 5, 2010
  • Label: Word
  • Formats: CD
26 1
WOW Hits 2012
  • Release date: September 27, 2011
  • Label: Provident
  • Formats: CD
35 1
WOW Hits 2013
  • Release date: September 25, 2012
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
39 1
WOW Hits 2014
  • Release date: September 24, 2013
  • Label: EMI
  • Formats: CD
29 1
WOW Hits 2015
  • Release date: September 30, 2014
  • Label: EMI CMG
  • Formats: CD
23 1
WOW Hits 2016 55 1
WOW Hits 2017
  • Release date: September 23, 2016
  • Label: Capitol Christian Music Group
  • Formats: Digital download, CD
64 1

In 2008, the WOW series contemplated releasing three single discs per year instead of the annual double discs fans of the series were used to. Only one disc was ever released in the spring of 2008 before reverting to the annual format. That disc was WOW Hits 1. It is not known why the publishers decided to return to the annual format instead of the three-disc format, which was inspired by the Now That's What I Call Music! series, which releases 3 discs annually.[citation needed]

WOW Gospel[edit]

The WOW Gospel are released annually, beginning with WOW Gospel 1998. The focus of this series is gospel. The compilation has been issued every year since 1998.[30]

The series consists of the following albums:

Since the release of WOW Gospel 2003, a major metropolitan city that has been influential in the field of gospel music has been honored on the album cover. For instance, New York, NY was honored due in part to the September 11, 2001 tragedy, and so on. The exception is WOW Gospel 2009 in which the United States of America was honored due to the previous year's election. Another exception was when Atlanta was honored twice - first in 2007 and 2013.

However, for Wow Gospel 2014 and Wow Gospel 2015, they did not recognize a city, however used a different background for the cover.

WOW Worship[edit]

The WOW Worship series was released annually beginning with WOW Worship Blue in 1999. The focus on this series is praise and worship. The first album featured songs performed by the worship leaders who wrote them, such as Darlene Zschech's "Shout to the Lord". It is a partnership between Integrity Music, Maranatha Music and Vineyard Music.[31]

After several years, they switched to a contemporary Christian music format, where CCM recording artists perform praise and worship songs in their style.

The series consists of the following albums:

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
US
US Christ
US Gospel
WOW Worship: Blue
  • Release date: June 15, 1999
  • Formats: CD & Cassette
  • Label: Word (Christian Market) & Word/Epic (General Market)
144 2
  • US: 2× Platinum[32]
  • CAN: Platinum[32]
WOW Worship: Orange
  • Release date: March 28, 2000
  • Formats: CD & Cassette
  • Label: Word (Christian Market) & Word/Epic (General Market)
65
WOW Worship: Green
  • Release date: March 20, 2001
  • Formats: CD & Cassette
  • Label: Word (Christian Market) & Word/Epic (General Market)
78
WOW Worship: The Platinum Collection
  • Release date: 2002
  • Formats: CD (6-discs)
  • Label: Word
WOW Worship: Yellow
  • Release date: March 18, 2003
  • Formats: CD
  • Label: Provident
WOW Worship: Red
  • Release date: March 9, 2004
  • Formats: CD
  • Label: Word
62
WOW Worship: Aqua
  • Release date: April 4, 2006
  • Formats: CD
  • Label: Provident
75
WOW Worship: Purple
  • Release date: March 2, 2010
  • Formats: CD
  • Label: Word
93 3
WOW Gospel Worship
  • Release date: August 23, 2011
  • Formats: CD
  • Label: Capital CMG
16
WOW Worship: Lime
  • Release date: March 11, 2014
  • Formats: CD
  • Label: Provident
76 4

Released occasionally[edit]

WOW Christmas[edit]

WOW Christmas is released sporadically, beginning in 2002. It is a series of compilation albums featuring Christmas music as recorded by contemporary Christian music artists.[37]

The series consists of the following albums:

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
Sales
US
US Christ
US Holiday
WOW Christmas: Red
  • Release date: October 1, 2002
  • Label: Word
  • Formats: CD
45 1
WOW Christmas: Green
  • Release date: October 4, 2005
  • Label: Word
  • Formats: CD
54 2
WOW Christmas
  • Release date: September 27, 2011
  • Label: Word
  • Formats: CD
61
WOW Christmas: Blue
  • Release date: September 24, 2013
  • Label: Word
  • Formats: CD
49 2 3

Released once[edit]

WOW The 90s[edit]

WOW The 90s was released in 1999. All of the songs in this collection were contemporary Christian music hits during the 1990s. Marketing and distribution responsibilities for this title was delegated to Word Entertainment.

WOW Gold[edit]

WOW Gold was released in 2000. It was a single 2-CD/2-cassette collection of contemporary Christian music from the 1960s to the time it was released. Marketing and distribution responsibilities for this title in the WOW Hits series was relegated to Brentwood Records (now Provident Music Group).

WOW for the Children[edit]

A single disc released in the year 2000, a special issue for Feed the Children.

WOW #1s[edit]

Title Details Peak chart positions Certifications
US
US Christ
WOW Number 1s
  • Release date: April 5, 2005
  • Label: Provident
  • Formats: CD
58 1
WOW Number 1s: Yellow
  • Release date: March 1, 2011
  • Label: Word
  • Formats: CD
9

WOW Gospel No. 1s[edit]

Smooth Jazz Tribute WOW Gospel[edit]

WOW Gospel Christmas[edit]

  • WOW Gospel Christmas (2007)
  • WOW Gospel Christmas - Single Disc Edition (2013) (To Be Released on September 24, 2013)

WOW Next 2007[edit]

WOW Next 2007 was a free ten-song CD given to anyone who bought any WOW compilation CD.

WOW Hymns[edit]

WOW Hymns was released in March 2007. It is a two-disc compilation album of thirty modern and classic hymns that were recorded by popular Christian musicians. The album features songs by Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin, Nichole Nordeman, David Crowder Band, and many other well-known groups and singers. An accompanying songbook was also released by Word Music.

WOW Gospel Essentials[edit]

WOW Gospel Worship[edit]

  • WOW Gospel Worship

WOW Gospel the 90s[edit]

  • WOW Gospel the 90s

WOW Gospel the 2000s[edit]

  • WOW Gospel the 2000s

WOW New & Next[edit]

WOW New & Next (2010) and WOW New & Next (2011) were 12-song CDs showcasing new artists that was sold, or given free to anyone who bought any WOW compilation CD.

WOW Hits Party Mix[edit]

Released: March 10, 2015. This album features 30 (36 in the Deluxe Edition) remixed versions of some of the top Christian songs included in previous WOW albums.

WOW Hits 20th Anniversary[edit]

Street date: March 18, 2016. This special anniversary album features 30 of the top Christian songs included in previous WOW albums.

WOW the videos[edit]

The WOW the Videos series was released annually, in conjunction with the annual CD releases, beginning with WOW 1997-1998 - Top 25 Videos; it consists of DVDs of music videos for the previous year's top Christian music hits. The video series was also released on VHS through 2003. The final WOW Hits DVD release was 2012, and postings on the WOW Facebook page indicate there are no plans for future DVD releases.[citation needed]

WOW Hits[edit]

  • WOW 1997-1998 - Top 25 Videos
  • WOW Hits: The Videos 1999
  • WOW Hits: The Videos 2000
  • WOW Hits: The Videos 2001
  • WOW Hits 2002
  • WOW Hits 2003
  • WOW Hits 2004
  • WOW Hits 2005
  • WOW Hits 2006
  • WOW Hits 2007
  • WOW Hits 2008
  • WOW Hits 2009
  • WOW Hits 2010
  • WOW Hits 2011
  • WOW Hits 2012
  • WOW Hits 2013
  • WOW Hits 2014
  • WOW Hits 2015
  • WOW Hits 2016
  • WOW Hits 2017

WOW Gospel[edit]

  • WOW Gospel 1998
  • WOW Gospel 1999
  • WOW Gospel 2000
  • WOW Gospel 2001
  • WOW Gospel 2002
  • WOW Gospel 2003
  • WOW Gospel 2004
  • WOW Gospel 2005
  • WOW Gospel 2006
  • WOW Gospel 2007
  • WOW Gospel 2008
  • WOW Gospel 2009
  • WOW Gospel 2010
  • WOW Gospel 2011
  • WOW Gospel 2012
  • WOW Gospel 2013
  • WOW Gospel 2014
  • WOW Gospel 2015

Other WOW DVDs[edit]

  • WOW British Gospel 2004
  • WOW Music Trivia Game (2007)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "WOW Online". 
  2. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW 1996". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  3. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW 1997". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  4. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW 1998". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  5. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Various – WOW 1998". Music Canada. 
  6. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW 1999". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  7. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Various – WOW 1999". Music Canada. 
  8. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW 2000". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  9. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Various – WOW 2000". Music Canada. 
  10. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2001". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  11. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2002". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  12. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2003". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  13. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2004". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  14. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2005". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  15. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2005". Music Canada. 
  16. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2006". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  17. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2007". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  18. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2008". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  19. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2009". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  20. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2010". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  21. ^ "WOW 2010 sales". USA Today. April 7, 2010. 
  22. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2011". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  23. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2012". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  24. ^ Mansfield, Brian (2012-06-06). "Carrie Underwood blows past 500,000". Idol Chatter. USA Today. Retrieved June 6, 2012. 
  25. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2013". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  26. ^ Mansfield, Brian (2013-05-08). "'Idol' sales: Jessica Sanchez, David Cook, more". Idol Chatter. USA Today. Retrieved May 8, 2013. 
  27. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Hits 2014". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  28. ^ a b "Music in 2014: Taylor Takes the Year, Republic Records on Top, Streaming to the Rescue". 
  29. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on August 29, 2016. 
  30. ^ WOW Gospel
  31. ^ "WOW Online". 
  32. ^ a b "American album certifications – Various – WOW Worship Blue". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  33. ^ a b "American album certifications – Various – WOW Worship Orange". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  34. ^ a b "American album certifications – Various – WOW Worship Green". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  35. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Worship Yellow". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  36. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Worship Aqua". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  37. ^ "WOW Online". 
  38. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Christmas Red". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  39. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Christmas Green". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  40. ^ Brian Mansfield (December 5, 2012). "'Idol' album sales: Phillip Phillips stays in the Top 5". Idol Chatter. USA Today. Retrieved December 5, 2012. 
  41. ^ WOW #1s official website Archived March 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  42. ^ "American album certifications – Various – WOW Number 1s". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

External links[edit]