The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley

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

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Elvis Presley’s gospel music was the soundtrack to many people’s lives. It was a way for him to connect with his fans and let them know that he was thinking of them.

Elvis Presley’s musical roots

Many people think of Elvis Presley as a rock ‘n’ roll singer, but his musical roots are actually in gospel music. Elvis grew up listening to gospel music and singing in the church choir. He even recorded a gospel album, “How Great Thou Art,” which won a Grammy Award in 1967. Gospel music was a big part of Elvis’s life, and it had a big influence on his musical style.

His family’s musical background

Elvis’s parents, Vernon and Gladys, were devout members of the Assembly of God church, and Elvis himself would later cite gospel music as a major influence on his style. His family often listened to black gospel music on the radio; some of his favorite artists included Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Mahalia Jackson. Elvis also attended gospel concerts with his family. At one point, he even considered becoming a gospel singer himself.

However, Elvis’s career would ultimately take a different path. He became a rock ‘n’ roll icon, and his music would come to be defined by that genre. Nevertheless, gospel remained an important part of his life and work. He would go on to record several gospel albums, including How Great Thou Art (1967) and Amazing Grace (1972). He also continued to perform gospel songs throughout his career, most notably in his legendary “comeback” TV special in 1968.

In many ways, then, Elvis Presley can be seen as a product of both the secular and sacred traditions of American music. His unique style was shaped by both black gospel and white country music, two genres that were often at odds with each other in the 1950s. But through Elvis’s musical fusion of these styles, he helped create a new sound that would change popular music forever.

His love for gospel music

Gospel music played a huge role in Elvis Presley’s life, even though he is best remembered as a pop and rock ‘n’ roll icon. Presley grew up singing gospel tunes at his local church in Tupelo, Mississippi, and he continued to sing gospel music throughout his career. In fact, some of Presley’s most iconic recordings are gospel songs, including “Peace in the Valley,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Crying in the Chapel.”

While Presley was undoubtedly influenced by the gospel music he heard as a child, he was also influenced by other genres of music, including blues, country, and pop. However, it was gospel music that really spoke to him on a personal level. In an interview with Time magazine in 1957, Presley said that gospel music was “the only kind of music that has soul to it--that has real spirituality.” He went on to say that when he sang gospel songs, he felt like he was “saying something for God.”

Presley recorded several gospel albums throughout his career, including Elvis Presley Gospel Songs (1960), Amazing Grace: His Greatest Hits (1972), and He Touched Me (1972). He also frequently performed live concerts featuring gospel songs. In 1972, he even staged a special concert called “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii – A Tribute to American Gospel Music” which was broadcast live via satellite around the world.

If you want to experience the musical roots of Elvis Presley, be sure to check out some of his greatest gospel hits.

Elvis Presley’s gospel recordings

Elvis Presley’s gospel recordings are some of the most beautiful and moving recordings he ever made. Presley’s passion and soul shine through on these recordings, making them some of his most memorable.

His early recordings

Elvis Presley’s first recordings were made on July 18, 1953, at Sun Studio in Memphis. These were country songs he had learned from Hank Snow’s “Lonesome Traveler” radio show and used as an audition for Sam Phillips of Sun Records. Phillips played the demo for local DJs who thought the singer had potential but did not fit the traditional country mold. If he wanted to keep recording, Phillips told Presley that he would have to switch to a different style of music.

Presley began his recording career with a gospel song, “That’s All Right,” which was released as his first single in July 1954. The b-side was “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” another gospel song that had been a hit for Bill Monroe and His Bluegrass Boys. Phillips wasn’t sure how to market Presley’s new sound, but the record was a success on local radio stations. In January 1955, Presley made his first appearance on national television when he performed “Shake, Rattle and Roll” on the Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show.

His more famous recordings

Elvis Presley’s gospel recordings are some of the most successful and well-received of his career. His more famous recordings include “Peace in the Valley” (1957), “Crying in the Chapel” (1965), and “How Great Thou Art” (1967), which won a Grammy Award for Best Sacred Performance. Elvis’ gospel recordings were immensely popular, and helped to revive interest in traditional gospel music.

The impact of Elvis Presley’s gospel music

Elvis Presley’s gospel music had a profound impact on the world of music. It popularized the genre and inspired other artists to pursue their own musical careers. Elvis’ gospel music also had a significant impact on race relations. It showed the world that people of all colors could come together and enjoy the same type of music.

On his career

Elvis Presley’s gospel music had a profound impact on his career. It not only helped to fuel his massive popularity, but also shaped his musical evolution and creative growth.

Presley was exposed to gospel music from an early age and sang in the church choir. He later credited gospel music for helping him to develop his own style and said that it was the music that he always turned to when he needed inspiration.

Gospel music played a major role in Presley’s career during the 1950s and 1960s, when he recorded a number of gospel songs, both traditional and contemporary. These recordings helped to broaden his appeal and cement his status as a superstar.

In the later years of his career, Presley continued to explore gospel music, both in live performances and in the studio. His commitment to this genre of music remained strong until his death in 1977.

Elvis Presley’s gospel music had a profound impact on popular culture. His recordings of gospel songs reached the Top 40 on the Billboard pop singles chart, and his concerts and movies featuring gospel music were wildly popular. Presley’s fusion of gospel, rock, and R&B made him a global superstar, and his performances of gospel music helped to break down racial barriers in the United States. In addition, Presley’s passion for gospel music helped to renewed interest in the genre, and his recordings of gospel songs have been hugely influential in the development of contemporary Christian music.

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