Gospel Evolution: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”- Mahalia Jackson to “Can’t Give Up Now” – Mary Mary

“He's Got the Whole World in His Hands”

Mahalia Jackson released “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” in 1958, though it was originally from 1927. In her slow rendition of the song, Jackson’s powerful voice rocks the house and soothes the soul. Jackson’s version made the Billboard top 100 singles chart, topping at number 69. This was notable at a time when Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, and Jerry Lee Lewis had major singles on the chart. She has piano and violin accompaniment behind her version. 

“Can’t Give Up Now”

Mary Mary, a Christian/Gospel music duo, released “Can’t Give Up Now” in 2000, as part of their Album Thankful. Thankful is their best seller and debut album. The album peaked at number one on the Gospel Album Chart and climbed to 59 on the overall Top 200 chart.  “Can’t Give Up Now” has rhythmic clapping, drums, and piano.

Both of these songs are widely recognized in the gospel industry. “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” is slower than  “Can’t Give Up Now,” which is a more upbeat gospel song. Jackson is also singing solo, and Mary Mary is made up of two sisters, Erica Atkins-Campbell and Trecina Atkins-Campbell. “Can’t Give Up Now” includes ad-libbing while “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” does not. Both songs include a large vocal range. 

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Alix Swann

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