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Jul 13, 2020 · So, who are the best gospel singers? Any list of gospel artists has to include male gospel singers like Kirk Franklin, Marvin Sapp, BeBe Winans, and Fred Hammond, as well as female Christian singers like CeCe Winans, Yalonda Adams and Shirley Caesar.
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- Reverend Gary Davis
- Thomas A Dorsey
- Mahalia Jackson
- Sallie Martin
- Sister Rosetta Tharpe
- James Cleveland
- Sam Cooke
- Elvis Presley
- Shirley Caesar
- Aretha Franklin
- Andraé Crouch
- Yolanda Adams
- Kirk Franklin
Gospel blues has a long tradition of notable performers – including Son House, Blind Willie Johnson and Skip James – and perhaps the most distinguished was Reverend Gary Davis. Davis, who began as a street musician, was a powerful gospel singer whose simplicity of playing and deep pathos in his vocals brought out the mournful qualities of gospel songs such as ‘I Heard The Angels Singing’. The beauty and spirituality of this blind singer inspired countless musicians, including Bob Dylan and Ry...
Thomas A Dorsey was widely known as the father of gospel music, writing many of the world’s greatest gospel songs. Moments before Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, in 1968, he asked to have Dorsey’s best-known song, ‘Take My Hand, Precious Lord’, performed. In the following days it almost became the anthem of black America. Dorsey, a former jazz pianist and composer, helped create the first gospel chorus and added tabernacle song material and blues touches to his spiritual material. H...
Mahalia Jackson’s soulful renditions of gospel music thrilled fans the world over, including Presidents and royalty. Her powerful and melodious voice brought tears to the eyes of listeners. With the 1947 release of ‘Move On Up A Little Higher’, Jackson became the first gospel artist to sell one million copies, putting the genre into the mainstream. In 1960, Jackson sang the US national anthem at the inauguration of President Kennedy. She inspired countless singers to take up gospel, including...
Georgia-born Sallie Martin was a contemporary of Dorsey and Jackson, and her show singing earned her the title of The Mother Of Gospel Music. She started singing in a Baptist church and later teamed up with Dorsey in Chicago. She founded a gospel publishing house and, with the Sallie Martin Singers, helped discover Ruth James, who became better known as Dinah Washington.
Rosetta Tharpe, raised by her mother, a travelling evangelist with The Church Of God In Christ, was performing from the age of six. She was spotted by John Hammond – who included her with Count Basie in his celebrated From Spirituals To Swing concert at Carnegie Hall – and soon after that she recorded ‘Gospel Train’. In 1945, her song ‘Strange Things Happening Every Day’ became the first gospel record to reach the R&B Top 10. Though she was also a guitarist and pioneer rock’n’roller, Tharpe’s...
The Reverend James Cleveland, who taught Aretha Franklin to sing gospel, was hailed as the Crown Prince Of Gospel. As well as his heartfelt baritone gospel singing, he was a pianist, composer, arranger and producer. He won three Grammy awards and was credited with writing and arranging more than 400 gospel songs, including ‘Everything Will Be All Right’, ‘The Love Of God’ and ‘Peace Be Still’, and he was the first gospel artist to receive a star on Hollywood’s Walk Of Fame. Cleveland also fou...
Like one or two others in this list of the best gospel singers, Same Cooke easily made the leap from spiritual to secular music. He learned his trade as a boy singing with the gospel group The Highway QCs, but he really made his name with The Soul Stirrers, with whom he recorded gems such as ‘Touch The Hem Of His Garment’. Cooke’s smooth and soulful voice suited narrative gospel songs, some of which he wrote. Cooke later moved from gospel to pursue a solo with popular hits such as ‘(What A) W...
Elvis Presley may have been the rightful King Of Rock’n’Roll, but he could also take his place among the best gospel singers, and even won a Grammy for his version of ‘He Touched Me’, written by Andrea Crouch. Swedish musician Per-Erik Hallin, who toured with Presley for several years, said, “Elvis had a special relationship to gospel music. Elvis was exposed to an idolatry that had no limits, and gospel singing became a refuge for him. I also think it’s pretty touching to think that a person...
Shirley Caesar’s singer father, Jim, died when she was 12. She followed in his footsteps and became a singer. After performing with the legendary Caravans, she launched a solo career that saw her become the first black female gospel singer to win a Grammy. She subsequently won ten more Grammys and landed three Gold albums. As well as a great gospel voice, she is knowledgeable about the music and, in 2008, gave a speech on the evolution of gospel music to the US Treasury Department.
Aretha Franklin was just 14 when she recorded the 1956 album Songs Of Faith at the New Bethel Baptist Church, where her father was the reverend. Before crossing over into the world of mainstream entertainment, Franklin was a talented gospel singer (in the same way as Amy Grant, for example) and her voice was able to cope with the demands of the high and powerful notes needed to become one of the best gospel gospel singers on record. Franklin’s 1972 Amazing Grace album was one of her best-sell...
Andraé Crouch was just 13 when he composed ‘The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power’. Known as The Father Of Contemporary Gospel, Crouch was easily one of the best gospel singers of his generation, and was also a successful vocal arranger, songwriter and choir leader. His choral work for Michael Jackson and Madonna – and his work on the soundtrack for the movie The Lion King – brought him global fame. Crouch stammered as a child but said that gospel singing helped him overcome this, and he went o...
Adams said that, when she was starting out, successful gospel singers – especially Tramaine Hawkins and Shirley Caesar – gave her great encouragement. Adams, who has also gained fame as an actress, used to host her own nationally syndicated gospel radio show. She has sold nearly eight million records worldwide and is known as The Queen Of Contemporary Gospel. Just don’t confuse her ‘Yes, Jesus Loves Me’ with the Whitney Houston gospel hit ‘Jesus Loves Me’.
By merging hip-hop with gospel, Kirk Franklin has created some controversy on his way to becoming perhaps the best-selling gospel artist of all time, with more than 13 million album sales. He has won 12 Grammys and enjoyed success leading urban gospel choirs such as The Family, God’s Property and One Nation Crew (1NC). Franklin is just one example of how spiritual music is evolving at the hands of the 21st Century’s best gospel singers. Stars such as Kim Burrell and Richard Smallwood, and you...
This incomplete list is specifically for Christian music performers in the gospel music genres who have either been very important to the genre, or have had a considerable amount of exposure, such as in the case of one that has been on a major label.
Jun 22, 2015 · The biggest gospel artists of all time are the torch bearers of gospel music who have popularized the genre more than ever! Their work has brought gospel music to the forefront and what originally ...
- Sam Cooke. Famous As: Singer-songwriter. Birthdate: January 22, 1931. Sun Sign: Aquarius. Nationality: American. Died: December 11, 1964. The King of Soul Sam Cooke is best remembered for his hits A Change is Gonna Come, You Send Me, and Wonderful World.
- Mary J. Blige. Famous As: Singer-songwriter. Birthdate: January 11, 1971. Sun Sign: Capricorn. Nationality: American. Mary J. Blige is a popular singer-songwriter and actress.
- Shirley Jones. Famous As: Singer. Birthdate: March 31, 1934. Sun Sign: Aries. Nationality: American.
- MC Hammer. Famous As: Hip-Hop Artist. Birthdate: March 30, 1962. Sun Sign: Aries. Nationality: American. Rap legend MC Hammer, a pioneer of the pop-rap genre, became the first hip-hop artist to earn the “diamond” status.
The most famous gospel & christian music artists in America according to YouGov Ratings. Fame is based on millions of responses from the American public and YouGov's innovative survey methodology.
- Chris Tomlin. It’s almost impossible to make a list of top Christian songs without mentioning Chris Tomlin. With over 7 million albums sold, he has become a superstar in the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) genre.
- Michael W. Smith. Michael W. Smith is a Contemporary Christian artist whose songs have topped the music charts in both CCM and mainstream categories. He has sold over 18 million albums and his biggest hit song, “Place in this World,” reached No. 6 on the Billboard charts.
- MercyMe. MercyMe is a popular CCM band from Edmond, Oklahoma. The band includes lead vocalist Bart Millard, percussionist Robby Shaffer, bassist Nathan Cochran and guitarists Michael Scheuchzer and Barry Graul.
- Third Day. Third Day is a veteran Christian rock band from Marietta, Georgia. They rose to stardom during the 1990s and continued to produce amazing Christian music until 2018.
Yolanda Adams, who was born in Houston, Texas, in 1961, is one of the most influential gospel singers around – partly down to the 10 million record sales she has racked up around the world, but...
- related to: Who are the most famous gospel music performers?
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