Gospel Through the Decades


God Holds The Future In His Hands by James David Vaughan 


        This hymn discusses even though we don’t know what the future holds but God does. The chorus reminds of this with the lyrics “God Holds the Future in His Hands, and every heart he understands”.Despite the challenges we go through the Future remains bright. We have to trust God and put our future in his hands. The hymn was originally written by James David Vaughan sometime during the twentieth century. The earliest recording of the song was in 1988 by the Ebenezer Mass Choir. The hymn has been sung in numerous churches throughout the years.


Take My Hand, Precious Lord by Thomas A. Dorsey


        Dorsey is considered the leader of the Gospel movement. He produced his first Gospel Blues singer in the late twentieth century entitled If You See My Savior, Tell Him That You Saw Me. Blues was condemned by the church so his Gospel Blues saw little success. In the early, 1930’s the new gospel style began to gain popularity. After the death of his wife and son, Dorsey wrote his most famous song entitled Take My Hand, Precious Lord. This song helped sparked the popularity of Gospel music throughout the Black community in the United States. 


Noah by The Jubalaires 


        This Gospel song is a Quartet style song where each singer had a specific part in the song. The group sings with a band behind them that helps add a more soulful touch to the song. Despite the band behind them, the band does not overpower their voices. The bass singers hold down the rhythm which helps the lead singers voice stand out. This song discussed the story of Noah’s Ark which is a popular story in the Bible. 


You’ve Got to Live so God Can Use You by The Dixie Hummingbirds



        The Dixie Hummingbirds was an influential gospel group since the 1920’s. Their style has changed throughout the ages. They had a more Jubilee Quartet style in the 20’s, a “hard gospel” sound during the 50’s and 60’s and a more electric pop sound during modern day times. A popular song by them in the 50’s includes You’ve Got to Live so God Can Use You. This song includes the classic Jubilee elements. Each singer has a particular part in the song that comes together to create something beautiful. The song does include instruments that are mixed in with the voices and doesn’t overpower them so much.


How I got Over by Clara Ward 


This Gospel song was written by Clara Ward. However, I’m going to discuss the version performed by Mahalia Jackson. She performed the song during the 1963 March on Washington. She performed this song after Martin Luther King’s iconic I have Dream speech.  Through this song and many others that she sung during this time period, was meant to represent her Christian belief in the struggle for Civil Rights.  The song is meant to represent how Jesus called for Justice for All.


Amazing Grace by Aretha Franklin


        Aretha Franklin was a singer, songwriter, actress and civil rights activist from 1960 – 2017( years active). She sang many notable songs such as Respect, I Never Loved a Man(The Way I Love You) and A Natural Woman. She was inducted into the Gospel Hall of Fame in 2012. For this reason, I decided to include a song she sang on her 2nd album Amazing Grace. This album includes many different gospel hits. 


You’ve Brought the Sunshine by The Clark Sisters



        The Clark Sisters is a gospel group consisting of 5 sisters. They are often credited for bringing gospel music into mainstream media and are considered the pioneers for contemporary gospel. Their song You’ve Brought the Sunshine reached unprecedented success during its release. The song was played in churchers and on dance floors all across the United States.


 Well, Alright by CeCe Winans 

       Cece Winans is a gospel artist who was originally a part of her family gospel group The Winans. After being a part of this group for a while her and her brother became a group. Bebe and Cece Winans reached much success in their gospel career. However, in 1995 she released her solo album entitled Alone in His Presence.  


Shackles by Mary Mary


        Mary Mary is an urban contemporary gospel group consisting of two sisters. Erica Atkins Campell and Trecina Atkins Campell have created many gospel hits throughout their career. One of their most popular songs being Shackles that was released on their debut album. My personal favorite song from them is Go get it which remains my favorite song by them. Their style of music featured a more R&B sound which was popular at the time.

2010 to Present

Smile – Kirk Franklin


        I grew up listening to Kirk Franklin. He is one of my favorite gospel artist.Arugubably he has one of the biggest impacts on gospel music in the modern day. My favorite song by him is Smile which was released in 2011. Compared to the songs released almost 100 years older, this song is upbeat and makes you want to get up and dance. It celebrates the love God has for us while also discussing the trials and tribulations we may go through.

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