The Best Gospel Music of All Time

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,

Check out our list of the best gospel music of all time. From old school gospel to contemporary Christian music, these are the best gospel songs of all time.


Gospel music is a genre of Christian music. The creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of gospel music varies according to culture and social context. Gospel music is composed and performed for many purposes, including aesthetic pleasure, religious or ceremonial purposes, and as an entertainment product for the marketplace.

The earliest gospel songs were written in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War. A number of artists have since then written and recorded their own versions of these and other gospel classics. Here are just a few examples of the best gospel music of all time:

-“Amazing Grace” by John Newton
-“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” by Wallace Willis
-“I’ll Fly Away” by Albert E. Brumley
-“The Old Rugged Cross” by George Bennard
-“Just a Closer Walk with Thee” by Traditional

The Best Gospel Songs of All Time

If you’re looking for the best gospel music of all time, you’ve come to the right place. This list includes some of the most popular and well-known gospel songs of all time. From classic hymns to modern worship songs, these gospel songs will inspire and uplift you.

“Amazing Grace” by John Newton

“Amazing Grace” is a gospel song written by Englishman John Newton. The lyrics of the song reflect on Newton’s personal experience of God’s grace and mercy, and have helped the song to become one of the most popular gospel songs of all time.

“How Great Thou Art” by Carl Boberg

“How Great Thou Art” is a Christian hymn based on a Swedish poem written by Carl Boberg (1859–1940) in Mönsterås, Sweden in 1885. The melody was composed by Gustaf Nordqvist (1886–1949). It was translated into English from the Swedish text “O Store Gud” by British missionary Stuart K. Hine (1899–1989), who also added two original verses of his own. The composition was first published in the style of a folk song as “O Store Gud” in the 1925 supplement to Nordqvist’s Sions Harpan hymnal.

The hymn achieved widespread popularity when it was recorded by George Beverly Shea and Cliff Barrows during Billy Graham’s 1957 New York Crusade, which was televised live; this performance caused a significant increase in sheet music sales. It is printed in many hymnals and has been recorded by many artists from various genres.

The original Swedish text included nine stanzas, but only six of them were set to music by Nordqvist. The English translation omits stanzas seven and eight, instead ending with Hine’s two additional stanzas; these are sometimes referred to as the “Hine stanzas”.

“In the Garden” by C. Austin Miles

This song was written in 1912 by C. Austin Miles, a pharmacist turnedsongwriter who was inspired by a Sunday sermon. The hymn quickly gained popularity and has been recorded by dozens of artists over the years, including Elvis Presley, who included it on his 1968 album “How Great Thou Art.”

“The Old Rugged Cross” by George Bennard

First written and performed in 1912, “The Old Rugged Cross” is a classic gospel song that has been recorded by hundreds of artists over the years. Though it was originally written as a ballad, its simple, moving lyrics and powerful message have made it a staple of gospel music.

“The Old Rugged Cross” tells the story of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross and how his love can provide hope and comfort in the midst of suffering. The song has been covered by both secular and religious artists, including Josh Turner, Barbara Mandrell, Johnny Cash, and Amy Grant. It remains one of the most popular gospel songs of all time.

“Peace in the Valley” by Thomas A. Dorsey

One of the most prolific gospel songwriters of all time, Thomas A. Dorsey was responsible for composing some of the genre’s most well-known and cherished tunes. “Peace in the Valley” is certainly one of his most enduring compositions, having been recorded by everyone from Mahalia Jackson to Elvis Presley. The song speaks to the hope and comfort that can be found in Jesus Christ, even in the darkest of times. With its simple yet powerful message, it’s no wonder that “Peace in the Valley” has become one of the best-loved gospel songs of all time.

The Best Gospel Albums of All Time

When it comes to gospel music, there are a lot of different directions you can go in. You can find gospel albums that are focused on inspiring the listener and getting them through tough times. You can also find gospel albums that are more upbeat and celebratory.

Amazing Grace by Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace is the best-selling gospel album of all time. Recorded over two nights at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Watts, Los Angeles, in January 1972, the double album features Franklin on vocals backed by the Reverend James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir. The live recording was released in June 1972 to critical acclaim, and became a commercial success, selling over two million copies in the United States. In 2003, it was ranked number 38 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Uncloudy Day by The Staples Singers

Uncloudy Day is a 1972 album by The Staples Singers. It peaked at No.22 on Billboard’s “Black Albums” chart and at No.92 on the “Pop Albums” chart. The album features the title track, which peaked at No.16 on Billboard’s “Black Singles” chart and at No.55 on the “Hot 100”.

The album was released on May 1972, by Warner Bros. Records. It was produced by Al Bell, Mavis Staples, Yvonne Fair, and Roebuck “Pops” Staples. Uncloudy Day features soul, gospel, and R&B-styled tracks. The lead vocals are sung by Mavis Staples with support from her father and the other members of the group. The album’s artwork was designed by Efram Wolff.

The album was certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.

He Touched Me by Elvis Presley

He Touched Me is a 1972 gospel music album by American singer and musician Elvis Presley. It earned him his second of three Grammy Awards for gospel music, and was certified Gold on March 27, 1992 by the RIAA. The album was recorded in March 1972 at Stax Recording Studios in Memphis, Tennessee, and released the following month on Presley’s 40th birthday.

Amazing Grace by Mahalia Jackson

The album Amazing Grace by Mahalia Jackson is one of the best gospel albums of all time. The album was released in 1972 andit peaked at number one on the Billboard Top Gospel Albums chart. The album was recorded live at the New Bethel Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California. Amazing Grace features Jackson’s renditions of traditional gospel songs such as “Amazing Grace”, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, “I’ve Been Buked and I’ve Been Scorned”, and “Oh Happy Day”.

Swing Down, Chariot by The Staple Singers

The Staple Singers were an American gospel, soul and R&B group who became one of the best-known and influential groups of the 1960s and ’70s. Their music integrated rhythm and blues, country, pop and folk with positive messages of love, faith and social consciousness. The group was led by “Pops” Staples on guitar and includes his children Mavis, Cleotha and Pervis.

Swing Down, Chariot was released in 1962 and is considered one of the best gospel albums of all time. The title track was a hit single that reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Gospel Songs chart. Other standout tracks include “This Old Town (Is All Going Down)”, “Uncloudy Day”, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and “We Shall Not Be Moved”.


What is the best gospel music of all time? That’s a loaded question, and one that is sure to evoke a wide range of opinions. But there are certain gospel songs that have stood the test of time and have been performed by some of the genre’s most legendary artists.

Here are ten of the best gospel songs of all time:

“Amazing Grace” – Mahalia Jackson
“Oh Happy Day” – Edwin Hawkins Singers
“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” – Paul Robeson
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord” – Mahalia Jackson
“Walk With Me, Lord” – Sister Rosetta Tharpe
“We Shall Overcome” – Mahalia Jackson
“I’ll Fly Away” – Albert E. Brumley
“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” – Mahalia Jackson
“Down by the Riverside” – Traditional
“Lord, I Want to Be a Christian” – Traditional

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