Sept 13, 2013
ELVIS PRESLEY GOSPEL CLASSICS —-HIS HEART WAS GOSPEL MUSIC
There is no question Elvis Presley’s favorite music was Gospel. He warmed up for story sessions with gospel songs, and when not on tour was repeatedly at his residence piano knocking out his favorite hymns. Elvis quite often sought-after to listen to Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel.
When Elvis was growing up, the Presley family attended the First Assembly Of God church in Tupelo and subsequently in Memphis. Elvis’s music was greatly influenced by attending these churches, but reglious music came to Elvis in many shapes and forms. Religious songs were often part of the repertoire for country stars on the Grand Ol’ Opry – a syndicated radio Nashville broadcast that the Presley’s almost always tuned into on Saturdays. As a teen, Elvis and his friends would sneak into churches in the black neighborhoods to catch the lively music of a different musical heritage. The welcoming congregation and uplifting sound opened up Elvis’s understanding of the multiple facets of reglious music.
During his celebrated career it was Gospel, and Gospel music alone, that earned him the coveted Grammy awards – 1967 winner ‘Best Sacred Performance’ for his “How Great Thou Art” album.
In the 1970’s Elvis Presley sang Gospel songs more and more in his concerts and had the “Imperials” and the “Sweet Inspirations” as well as “JD Sumner & the Stamps” as his Gospel backing group singers. Elvis also sometimes read passages from the Bible on stage during his concerts and insisted that audiences were respectfully quiet while “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” was sung by his backup group.
In 1972 the gospel album “He Touched Me” is released to favorable reviews, and wins Elvis his 2nd Grammy Award. Elvis’s live recording of “How Great Thou Art” in 1975 receives the Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance.
Elvis was a Christian and many believed that Elvis knew he was called by God to be an evangelist. In the last year of his life he sang more Gospel songs on stage, and was even known to read from the Bible on stage.
Predominantly, Elvis took gratification in listening to gospel. Elvis passionately believed that there was nothing as powerful or touching than the commendable gospel music. When traveling he would carry around a case of a hundred or so albums-most of them were gospel music.
Listening to his preferred gospel music was a means for Elvis to get in touch with his bloodline; he frequently used this music for giving praise to the Lord when feeling modest and grateful, which he constantly did. The Word of God says to sing praise and lift your voice to Him.
1- YOU NEVER WALK ALONE (IMAGE SLIDESHOW) 0:00
2- HOW GREAT THOU ART (CBS TAPES 1977) 03:17
3- LIGHTHOUSE – LEAD ME GUIDE ME (HOLLYWOOD C. A. MARCH 31, 1972) 06:15
4- 68 GOSPEL MEDLEY (68 COMEBACK SPECIAL) 09:55
5- IF I CAN DREAM (STAND UP SHOW 68 COMEBACK SPECIAL) 17:34
6- I JOHN (HOLLYWOOD C. A. MARCH 31, 1972) 21:00
7- PEACE IN THE VALLEY (ED SULLIVAN PERFORMANCES) 23:22
8- BOSON OF ABRAHAM (HOLLYWOOD C. A. MARCH 31, 1972) 25:19
9- LET US PRAY (CHANG OF HABIT) 26:06
10- SWEET DOWN SWEET CHARIOT (THE TROUBLE WITH THE GIRLS 1969) 29:13
11- SOMEBODY BIGGER THAN YOU AND I (IMAGE SLIDESHOW) 31:35
12- OH HAPPY DAY (AUGUST 7 1970 REHEARSAL SHOWROOM INTERNATIONAL HOTEL) 33:05
13- WHERE NO ONE STANDS ALONE (MONTGOMERY FEB 16, 1977) 34:55
14- AN AMERICAN TRILOGY (JAN, 14, 1973 ALOHA FROM HAWAII) 37:22
15- HELP ME (1974 FOOTAGE) 41:59
16- WHY ME LORD (1974 FOOTAGE) 44:43
17- HOW GREAT THOU ART & SWEET, SWEET SPIRIT (VIRGINIA APRIL 9, 1972) 47:37
18- IF I CAN DREAM (68 COMEBACK SPECIAL) 53:18