Gospel in the 1950s

Gospel in the 50s was known as the Golden age gospel. The Jubilee quartets still had a huge influence on music and Gospel in

this time had a similar sound and syncopation as the groups. Some groups that flourished in this time include the Dixie hummingbirds, Pilgrim Travelers, Soul Stirrers, Swan Silvertones,Caravans and many more. The lead singers of these groups created a conjunct melody, which marked the difference between the two genres.  The conjunction evoked spiritual emotion that crashed over the musicians and audience.

        During this era solo artists stood out creating “hard gospel” .These soloists such as Ira Tucker Sr. and Paul Owens from the hummingbirds amplified the emotional and musical intensity of their music by shouting in falsetto and coming back down to a bass, this was known as “trickeration”.  In this era, women singers were coming into the spotlight such as, Roberta Martin, Bessie Griffin and Mahalia Jackson. Women in this era used an overpowering technique to establish themselves. These women and many more opened the door for women in gospel for decades to come.

Interest in black gospel music gripped the country and every city and town in the South staged gospel music programs in churches and auditoriums. New artists such as the Dixie Hummingbirds and Shirley Caesar emerged, initially as second line acts, then later on as headliners. Soloists such as Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds and Claude Jeter of the Swan Silvertones became well known among devotees. With widespread appeal, groups could afford extravagant costumes and could travel in comfort. Local nonprofessional black gospel groups copied the dress and singing styles of more popular musicians and even adopted their names.

This increasing popularity and professionalism ultimately turned some of the more conservative church members away from contemporary gospel music. By the mid to late 1950s there was something of a backlash against “secularization,” most clearly manifested in the opulent manner in which some singers lived.

Popular songs in this era include:

This Little Light of Mine by The Clara Ward Singers (1952)

Jesus Is a Friend by The Swan Silvertones (1954)

Alex bradford – Im too Close(1953)

Soul Stirrers- Touch the Hem of his Garment

The Dixie Hummingbirds- Mercy Lord


The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi- Our Father


Professor Johnson – Where shall i be


Mahalia Jackson- Move on up a little higher



Utibe Ikoiwak IME

Introduction Hello! My name is Utibe Ikoiwak. I am a third year biology major at Spelman College on the Pre-med track . I am an

Read More »

The Negro Spiritual Music Genre

From its name “Negro-spiritual”, this kind of music describes christian or spiritual songs created by African Americans. This music emerged during the period of slavery.

Read More »


I started off this class with little knowledge of black music or music in general. I must say this was a very entertaining and informative

Read More »


This poster describes the evolution of hip hop and some of its pioneers. It shows artist from the 1970s- till date(2018). Hiphop became very popular

Read More »
WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.