Beginning of Hillsong United’s journey
Hillsong United is an Australian band whose music is a blend of mainstream rock and contemporary Christian music. They took their start as the youth ministry band from the Hillsong Church in Australia and were initially named, United Live which was led by Marty Sampson and Reuben Morgan. United Live released their debut Extended Play, ‘One’ in 1998 after the worship pastor, Darlene Zschech gave the suggestion to Reuben Morgan to make an album.
Making a mark
After the success of the EP, United Live put out their first live record, ‘Everyday’ which was certified gold by the Australian Recording Industry Association. It also received positive reviews from the critics as Tim Roberts of Cross Rhythms gave the album ten out of ten and stated, “quality songs, first class musicianship and an exemplary live recording, but above all it draws you into the presence of God.” The band released three more live albums, ‘Best Friends,’ ‘King of Majesty’ and ‘To the Ends of the Earth’ with Reuben Morgan before the name was changed to Hillsong United in 2002. Reuben was later replaced by Joel Houston, the son of the church’s senior pastor, Brian Houston. The group continued to release hits and also toured a number of countries.
The era of Hillsong United
Hillsong United put out eight more live albums after 2002. They released, ‘United We Stand’ in 2006 which became the bestselling album in Canada at Christian retail stores and also reached twenty eighth spot on the ARIA Albums chart. Other releases including, ‘Unidos Permanecemos,’ ‘The I Heart Revolution: With Hearts as One,’ ‘Across the Earth’ and ‘Live in Miami.’ These records also performed well on the charts. The record, ‘The I Heart Revolution: With Hearts as One’ enjoyed great success and reached the eighth and twenty second spot in Australia and New Zealand. It included a whopping thirty tracks that they recorded over the span of two years while touring across the globe.
Hillsong United’s rise to the top
Apart from live albums, Hillsong United also treated their fans to four studio albums. They put out their debut record, ‘All of the Above’ in 2007 which reached sixth position on the Aus Albums chart. It also picked first spot on the Billboard’s Top Christian/Gospel Albums, iTunes Christian Music Digital Album sales and Nielsen Christian SoundScan chart.
The record also earned them a nomination at the 39th GMA Dove Awards for ‘Praise & Worship Album of the Year.’ Four years later, the band came out with their second studio album, ‘Aftermath’ which was an even bigger hit then their previous album. It received positive reviews from the critics as Jared Johnson of AllMusic gave it four stars out of five and stated, “Aftermath shows that Hillsong continue to set the bar high and blur the lines between studio albums and live worship.”
Zion and following success
Hillsong United released their third studio album, ‘Zion’ in 2013 which went as high as the first and fifth spot on the AUS Albums and the US Billboard 200 respectively. It featured two singles, Scandal of Grace and Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) with the latter becoming a massive hit as it spent forty eight weeks at first spot on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs chart. The single also went platinum in the US.
That was followed by the release of their fourth album, ‘Empires’ in 2015 which received favorable reviews from the critics and was also mentioned in the list of Worship Leader’s ‘Top 20 Albums.’ These recipients of the Billboard Music Award are now going to hit the road for their tour. If you want to catch them perform their latest and biggest hits, then get your Hillsong United tickets and enjoy the show live.