No, not the gathering in the cathedral, this lot ….
The Congregation, titled The English Congregation in the US to avoid confusion with another group, was a UK outfit put together by Roger Greenaway and Roger Cook, formerly the duo known as David and Jonathan (a biblical reference) who had had two early sixties top ten hits. Greenaway and Cook were succesful song writers for others but not so successful for themselves in the long term. They wrote for the Hollies, Bobby Goldsboro and others. Greenaway and Cook formed The Congregation in 1970 and they used their own song ‘Softly Whispering I Love You’ to launch in 1971. The song did moderately well across the world, and was their only charting song in the US.
In another sense this is radical, combining a formal choral backing with pop style. Note the fashion. And keep in mind that Jimmy Hendrix had recently died, The Beatles had come to an end, it’s only just pre-glam rock, heavy rock was in the ascendant, and along comes The English Congregation. It was a topsy turvey world. But then – that was the 60s and 70s – genre bending and progressive, and set the example for later creativity.
The song is catchy, and melodic, if whimsical, yet charming, and typical of pop.