The Evolution of Gospel Music (from 1975 to 2014)

This is an examination of the evolution of Gospel Music across the span of several decades. This article will execute this by comparing "Take Me Back", gospel song by Andraé Crouch, and "Perfect People" song by gospel group the Walls Group.

Interesting Facts about the Gospel Genre

There are considered to be two types of gospel music: African American and Anglo American gospel music. The elements of African American gospel music was brought to the United States from West Africa during the slave trade. African Americans introduced syncopation and the rhythm and stretched out the spiritual music from the Europeans during the Christianity Great Awakening in the 1700s. This was when blacks song spirituals and participated in invisibles churches and ring shouts And, in the 1800s, during the Age of Reason, the process of religion in First Baptist Churches started to become shaped by a common idea that if black people acted more like white people then they would be accepted. This robbed the expression of spirituality in the African American community. Eventually the Pentecostal church emerged at the realization that the practices at the 1st Baptist church had grown to stringent in their spiritual practices. This church utilized spiritual music elements such as shouting and call and response. During the Great Migration in the 1920s, when African Americans started to move into the cities worship songs were framed into the genre of gospel as it touched on the struggles of everyday people in the midst of true worship.
Gospel Music

"Take me Back" by Andrae Couch

“Take Me Back” was released in the year of 1975 along with other songs in the  Couch’s gospel album, which took on the same title.  This song utilized common elements of gospel music including call and response and stuck true to this common notion that gospel music changed and was heavily influenced by the style of secular music that was popular during the time. This can be said because this song reflects that of a soulful tone, although soul music prevailed in the 1950s and 1960s, soul music utilized repetition, call and response, and instrumentation. And Couch’s Song does just this as there is repetition of the call and response phrase “Take Me Back”, there is also a combination the trumpet, drums, piano, stringed instruments, and other instruments as well. 

Pictures of Andrae Couch and the Walls Group

"Perfect People" The Wall's Group

Nearly 35 years after “Take Me Back” was released, the song “Perfect People” was released in 2014 by gospel group The Walls Group. It was a part of their debut album Fast Forward. As mentioned above this song, also incorporated musical elements that were reflected in popular secular songs of the time. In 2014, music was heavily influenced by  contemporary R&B, Pop and Hip-Hop music.  Some elements of Hip-hop are instrumental tracks; eleme

Looking At Them Both

These two songs definitely showcase how the evolution of gospel music. Although, they both use different musical elements to convey their lyrical messages, their messages and musical styles are similar in that they were meant to reflect what their audiences need to hear during their respective time frames. 

Author Reflection

I enjoyed this deep study about the history and the evolution of gospel music. If I had not commenced this research, I would I never thought to examine the way in which gospel music has changed. I would not have realized that gospel music change in accordance to the time period. Because of this study I have not only grown a more in depth knowledge about the history of gospel music, but I also have developed a deeper appreciation.

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