Vocal music is an important part of gospel music, and there are some truly great tracks out there. Here are our top five picks for the best gospel vocal music tracks of all time.
When it comes to gospel music, there are few voices as powerful, moving, and influential as Mahalia Jackson. Born in New Orleans in 1911, Jackson began her singing career at the local church where her mother was a minister. She quickly gained a reputation as a talented vocalist, and by the 1930s she had begun touring with gospel legend Theodore Frye.
In 1950, Jackson recorded her first album, “Mahalia Jackson Sings,” which included two of her most famous tracks: “Amazing Grace” and “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” These songs would go on to become some of the most well-known and beloved gospel tracks of all time.
Over the course of her career, Jackson would go on to release dozens of albums and singles, both religious and secular. However, it is her gospel music that she is most remembered for. Here are five of her most legendary gospel tracks:
“Amazing Grace” – This track is perhaps Jackson’s most famous song, and for good reason. It is a beautifully rendered tribute to the grace of God that has the ability to touch even the hardest of hearts.
“Will the Circle Be Unbroken” – Another one of Jackson’s best-known tracks, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” is a joyful celebration of faith and family.
“Blessed Assurance” – This hymn is a lovely ode to God’s faithfulness, and Jackson’s rendition is truly stunning.
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord” – This track is a touching plea for guidance and strength from the Lord. It is one of Jackson’s most personal and emotive performances.
“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” – This upbeat track is a joyous reminder that no matter what happens in life, God is always in control.
“Oh Happy Day”
“Oh Happy Day” is a 1967 gospel music arrangement of a 18th-century hymn by clergyman Philip Doddridge. Recorded by the Edwin Hawkins Singers, it became an international hit in 1968, reaching No. 4 on the US Singles Chart and No. 1 in several other countries.
“Amazing Grace” is a Christian hymn published in 1779, with words written by the English poet and Anglican clergyman John Newton (1725–1807). Newton wrote the words from personal experience. He grew up serving as a sailor in the Royal Navy, and he was involved in the slave trade. In 1748, he was converted to Christianity and began participating in the Methodist movement. After leaving the service, he became a preacher, joining the Church of England.
“Amazing Grace” was first published in Newton’s hymnbook Olney Hymns (1779). It has been called “one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world” and has been translated into many languages. The hymn’s message of God’s grace and forgiveness has inspired singers from Gospel, Jazz, soul, folk, rock, and country music genres.
The original Olney Hymns version did not include a musical score; however, several versions were created over the years that included musical notation. One of these early versions was published in John Wyeth’s Repository of Sacred Music in 1813. This version likely influenced later versions that included musical notation
“He Touched Me”
The song “He Touched Me” was written by Bill Gaither and Gloria Gaither in 1963. The song was popularized by Elvis Presley in 1972 and has been recorded by many other artists. The lyrics of the song tell the story of a man who is transformed by the touch of Jesus Christ.
The song has been called “one of the most exuberant, joyful expressions of faith ever put on record.” It has been a favorite among gospel music fans for generations and is widely considered to be one of the greatest gospel songs of all time.
“The Old Rugged Cross”
Written in 1912 by evangelist and song-leader George Bennard, “The Old Rugged Cross” is a classic of the Christian faith with a hauntingly beautiful melody. The hymn reflects on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and how his love for us endures through all trials and tribulations. This track, sung by legendary Gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, is simply one of the most beautiful and moving pieces of Gospel music ever recorded.
“How Great Thou Art”
The origin of this well-known hymn can be traced back to 1885 when it was written by Swedish poet Carl Boberg. The title of the original poem was “O Store Gud” which translates to “O Great God.” The hymn experienced its first wave of popularity outside of Sweden when English Baptist preacher George Stebbins translated it and introduced it in North America in the early twentieth century. Since then, it has been recorded by countless artists across a variety of genres and has become a staple in both religious and non-religious settings.
There are many reasons why this hymn has remained popular for over a century. The lyrics are simple yet profound, and the melody is both easy to remember and beautiful to listen to. It is also a reminder of the power and majesty of God, which is something that resonates with people of all faiths.
Some of the most popular versions of “How Great Thou Art” include those by Elvis Presley, Carrie Underwood, and Alan Jackson. However, there are literally hundreds of other versions that are also worth checking out. So whether you’re looking for a traditional hymn or something with a more contemporary sound, there’s sure to be a version of “How Great Thou Art” that you’ll love.