Gospel Music in History

Gospel: Hymnists

Events in Music

  • 1971-09-28 NY Times reports growing interest of white youth in black gospel music
  • 1988-03-24 "Gospel at Colonus" opens at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC for 61 performances
  • 1988-05-15 "Gospel at Colonus" closes at Lunt Fontanne Theater NYC after 61 performances

Music Concert

2007-07-07 Worldwide charity concert event "Live Earth" takes place at 12 venues on seven continents; performers include: Genesis, Keith Urban; Foo Fighters; John Legend; Melissa Etheridge; Dave Matthews Band; The Police; Roger Waters; Madonna; Alicia Keys; Garth Brooks; Crowded House; Jack Johnson; Shakira; Soweto Gospel Choir; Angélique Kidjo; UB40; Jack Johnson; Linkin Park; Rihanna; Pharrel Williams; Yusef Islam; Sarah Brightman; and Nunatak


Birthdays in Music

  • 1820-03-24 Fanny Crosby, American hymnist known as the "Queen of Gospel Song Writers", born in Brewster, New York (d. 1915)
  • 1840-08-28 Ira D. Sankey, American evangelist, composer and singer (Gospel hymns), born in Edinburg, Pennsylvania (d. 1908)
  • 1851-07-07 Charles Tindley, American gospel music composer (I'll Overcome Someday), and Methodist minister, born in Berlin, Maryland (d. 1933)
  • 1856-08-18 Charles H. Gabriel, American Gospel composer, born in Wilton, Iowa (d. 1932)
  • 1889-09-28 D P "Dad" Carter, American gospel singer (Chuck Wagon Gang), born near Columbia, Kentucky (d. 1963)
  • 1895-03-31 Lizzie Miles [Elizabeth Landreaux], Creole American jazz, blues and gospel singer ("Man O'War"), born in New Orleans, Louisiana (d. 1963)
  • 1897-01-22 "Blind" Willie Johnson, American gospel blues singer and guitarist ("Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground"), born in Pendleton, Texas (d. 1945)
  • 1899-07-01 "Georgia" Tom [Dorsey], American blues and gospel pianist, songwriter ("Peace In The Valley"), and evangelist, born in Villa Rica, Georgia (d. 1993)
  • 1902-10-15 William Edmonson, American bass harmony and gospel vocalist (Southernaires), radio, stage and screen actor (Thirty Years Later), born in Spokane, Washington (d. 1979)
  • 1902-12-14 Viola Wells [Evans], American jazz, blues, and gospel singer, born in Newark, New Jersey (d. 1984)
  • 1903-11-01 Don Robey, American record label executive (Peacock; Duke) and record producer, born in Houston, Texas (d. 1975)
  • 1904-06-23 Willie Mae "Mother" Smith (née Ford), American gospel singer, evangelist, and folk artist, born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi (d. 1994)
  • 1909-02-01 George Beverly Shea, Canadian-American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer (Billy Graham Crusades, 1947-2013), born in Winchester, Ontario (d. 2013)
  • 1911-01-23 Dan Smith, English singer-songwriter, born in London, United Kingdom
  • 1911-06-07 Silas Roy Crain, American gospel singer (founder of The Soul Stirrers Gospel Quartet), born in Augustine, Texas (d. 1996)

Mahalia Jackson

1911-10-26 Mahalia Jackson, American gospel singer ("Whole World In His Hands"), born in New Orleans, Louisianal; (d. 1972)

  • 1914-02-11 Josh White, Blues, folk and gospel musician, born in Greenville, South Carolina (d. 1969)
  • 1914-10-26 Claude Jeter, American gospel music singer (The Swan Silvertones), born in Montgomery, Alabama (d. 2009)
  • 1915-03-20 Sister Rosetta Tharpe [Nubin], American gospel and R&B singer, songwriter, and electric guitarist ("This Train"; "Down By The Riverside"), born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, (d. 1973)
  • 1915-04-30 Mabel Scott, American gospel and R&B vocalist (Boogie Woogie Santa Claus), born in Richmond, Virginia (d. 2000)
  • 1915-12-28 Roebuck "Pops" Staples, American gospel singer (The Staple Singers), born in Winona, Mississippi (d. 2000)
  • 1916-01-21 (James Woodie) J.W. Alexander, American gospel and soul music songwriter, singer, and producer (Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls, Solomon Burke), born in Hamilton, Mississippi (d. 1996)
  • 1917-09-05 Art Rupe [Goldberg], American gospel, R&B, and early rock record producer and label executive (Specialty Records - Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Lloyd Price), born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania (d. 2022)
  • 1923-05-21 Doris Mae Akers, American gospel singer-songwriter (Sky Pilot Choir - Sweet, Sweet Spirit), born in Brookfield, Missouri (d. 1995)
  • 1926-06-01 Andy Griffith, American actor, comedian, television producer (Andy Griffithe Show; Matlock), Southern gospel singer, and writer, born in Mount Airy, North Carolina (d. 2012)
  • 1927-08-29 Marion Williams, American gospel singer (Stars of Faith), born in Miami, Florida (d. 1994)
  • 1928-05-22 Roscoe Robinson, American gospel and soul singer, born in Dermott, Arkansas
  • 1928-11-25 James "Jimmy" Johnson, American gospel and blues singer and guitarist, born in Holly Springs, Mississippi
  • 1929-02-09 Willem Kersters, Flemish composer (Parwati, Gospel Song), born in Antwerp, Belgium (d. 1998)
  • 1929-08-14 Lorez Alexandria [Taylor] American jazz and gospel singer (Alexandria the Great), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 2001)
  • 1929-11-28 Clarence Fountain, American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer (The Blind Boys of Alabama), born in Tyler, Alabama (d. 2018)
  • 1930-11-03 Mable John, American blues, R&B, and gospel vocalist (Tamla-Motown; Ray Charles; "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)"), and minister, born in Bastrop, Louisiana (d. 2022)
  • 1932-03-22 Leo "Bud" Welch, American gospel and Delta blues singer-songwriter and guitarist ("You Can't Hurry God"; "Cadillac Baby"), born in Sabougla, Mississippi (d. 2017)
  • 1932-12-05 James Cleveland, American gospel singer, born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1991)

James Brown

1933-05-03 James Brown, American R&B, gospel, soul and funk singer and songwriter known as 'The Godfather of Soul' ("Sex Machine"; "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag"; "Hot Pants"), born in Barnwell, South Carolina (d. 2006)

  • 1933-09-30 Emily "Cissy" Houston [née Drinkard], American soul and gospel singer, and Whitney's mother, born in Newark, New Jersey
  • 1934-02-16 Ted Taylor, American gospel and R&B-singer ("Be Ever Wonderful"), born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, (d. 1987)
  • 1934-03-02 Joyce "Dottie" Rambo (nee Luttrell), American gospel singer and songwriter, born in Madisonville, Kentucky (d. 2008)
  • 1934-12-25 McKinley Mitchell, American gospel, blues, and R&B singer ("The Town I Live In"), born in Jackson, Mississippi (d. 1986)
  • 1935-11-18 Pervis Staples, American gospel vocalist (The Staple Singers -"Uncloudy Day"), born in Drew, Mississippi (d. 2021)
  • 1937-11-05 Jackie Verdell, American gospel singer (The Davis Sisters, 1955-66), pop singer-songwriter ("Why Not Give Me A Chance") and session vocalist (Wilson Picket; Van Morrison), born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (d. 1991)
  • 1938-03-13 Erma Franklin, American gospel and R&B singer ("Piece Of My Heart"), born in Shelby, Mississippi (d. 2002)
  • 1938-09-12 Judy Clay [Guions], American soul and gospel singer, born in St Paul, North Carolina (d. 2001)
  • 1938-10-15 Marv Johnson, American R&B pianist, songwriter, and singer ("You Got What It Takes"; "(You've Got To) Move Two Mountains"), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 1993)
  • 1939-07-10 Mavis Staples, American gospel singer (The Staple Singers - "I'll Take You There"), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1939-12-20 Kim Weston, American soul singer (with Marvin Gaye - "It Takes Two"), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1940-01-08 Cristy Lane, American country music and gospel singer, born in Peoria, Illinois
  • 1940-03-13 Candi [Canzetta Maria] Staton, American gospel singer ("Young Hearts Run Free"), born in Hanceville, Alabama
  • 1941-06-21 Mitty Collier, American gospel and R&B singer ("I Had A Talk With My Man"), and church pastor, born in Birmingham, Alabama
  • 1941-11-16 Dan Penn, American songwriter, producer and gospel singer (Out in Left Field), born in Vernon, Alabama
  • 1942-02-11 Otis Clay, American gospel, soul, and R&B-singer ("That's How It Is (When You're In Love)"), born in Waxhaw, Mississippi (d. 2006)
  • 1942-03-07 Tammy Faye Bakker (Messner), American Christian singer and former wife of Jim Bakker (The PTL Club), born in International Falls, Minnesota (d. 2007)
  • 1942-04-21 Bobby McClure, American gospel (The Soul Stirrers) and soul singer ("Don't Mess Up A Good Thing"), born in Chicago, Illinois (d. 1992)
  • 1942-05-22 Calvin Simon, American funk and gospel vocalist (Parliament/Funkadelic - "Livin' the Life"), born in Beckley, West Virginia (d. 2022)
  • 1942-06-13 James Carr, American soul singer ("To Love Somebody"; "Dark End of the Street"), born in Coahoma, Mississippi (d. 2001)
  • 1942-07-01 Andraé Crouch, American gospel singer (The Color Purple; The Lion King), born in San Francisco, California (d. 2015)
  • 1942-07-01 Sandra Crouch, American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, drummer and songwriter, born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1943-08-19 Edwin Hawkins, American gospel musician, choir master and composer ("Oh Happy Day"), born in Oakland, California (d. 2018)
  • 1943-11-30 (James Jay) "J.J." Barnes, American R&B and soul singer-songwriter ("Please Let Me In"; "Baby Please Come Back Home"), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1944-05-08 Dorothy Combs (Morrison), American gospel, session and touring singer (Edwin Hawkins Singers - "Oh Happy Day"; The Combs Sisters; Blues Broads), born in Longview, Texas
  • 1945-03-09 Laura Lee, American soul and gospel singer (Dirty Man, Women's Love Rights), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1945-03-21 Vernon Guy, American R&B and gospel singer (Cool Sounds, Sharpees), born in St. Louis Missouri (d. 1998)
  • 1945-10-19 Jeannie C. Riley (née Stephenson), American Grammy and CMA Award-winning pop-country and gospel singer ("Harper Valley P.T.A."), born in Stamford, Texas
  • 1946-10-13 Dorothy Moore, American blues, gospel, and R&B singer ("Misty Blue"), born in Jackson, Mississippi
  • 1947-06-17 Rev. Timothy Wright, American gospel singer (Been There Done That), and pastor, born in Brooklyn, New York City (d. 2009)
  • 1947-08-08 Brenda Lee Eager, American gospel and soul singer and songwriter, born in Mobile, Alabama
  • 1948-11-20 Rance Allen, American gospel singer and musician (Rance Allen Group - Miracle Worker), born in Monroe, Michigan (d. 2020)
  • 1948-12-25 Merry Clayton, American soul, gospel, and session singer (Ray Charles; Rolling Stones - "Gimme Shelter"; Ringo Starr - "Oh My My") and actress (20 Feet From Stardom), born in Gert Town, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1950-08-19 Margie Joseph, American soul and gospel singer of ("What's Come Over Me"), born in Gautier, Mississippi
  • 1956-06-30 Ronald Winans, American gospel singer (Winans), born in Detroit, Michigan (d. 2005)
  • 1959-01-03 Rusty Golden, American pop, country, and gospel singer-songwriter and musician (The Boys Band; The Goldens), born in Brewton, Alabama

Randy Travis

1959-05-04 Randy Travis [Traywick], American country and gospel music singer ("Diggin' Up Bones"; "Forever and Ever, Amen"), and actor, born in Marshville, North Carolina

  • 1959-06-05 Michael Winans, American gospel singer (Winans), born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1959-09-20 Al Goodah [Carlo Goedhart], Surinamese gospel, Caribbean, and pop vocalist and composer, born in Paramiribo, Suriname
  • 1960-10-19 Jennifer Holliday, American Grammy and Tony Award-winning stage actress, and pop, R&B, and gospel singer (Dream Girls), born in Houston, Texas
  • 1960-11-25 Amy Grant, American gospel and rock singer (Glory of Love, Baby Baby), born in Augusta, Georgia
  • 1962-06-04 John P. Kee, American gospel singer, born in Durham, North Carolina
  • 1964-08-24 Pebbles [Perri Reid (née McKissack)], American pop singer ("Girlfriend"), minister, and gospel singer, born in Oakland, California
  • 1964-10-08 (Priscilla) "CeCe" Winans (Love), American 23-time Dove and 12-time Grammy Award-winning gospel singer, born in Detroit, Michigan
  • 1970-01-26 Kirk Franklin, American gospel singer, choir director, and 16 time Grammy Award-winner, born in Fort Worth, Texas
  • 1973-04-03 Kelly Price, American R&B and gospel vocalist ("Friend of Mine"), born in Queens, New York
  • 1976-10-02 Mandisa [Hundley] American gospel and contemporary Christian singer (Overcomer), born in Citrus Heights, California
  • 1977-02-02 Heather Martin, American gospel singer
  • 1979-07-18 Jermaine Paul, American gospel and R&B singer, winner of "The Voice" (2012), born in Harriman, New York
  • 1979-11-20 Ericson Alexander Molano, Colombian gospel singer, born in Pereira, Colombia
  • 1980-01-22 (Elizabeth) "Lizz" Wright, American jazz and gospel vocalist ("Dreaming Wide Awake"), born in Hahira, Georgia
  • 1981-03-29 P.J. Morton, American singer-songwriter and musician (Maroon 5; Gospel According to PJ), born in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1989-09-17 Jonathan McReynolds, American gospel musician (Make Room), born in Chicago, Illinois
  • 1998-08-25 China Anne McClain, American actress and singer (The Gospel; Daddy's Little Girls), born in Decatur, Georgia

Weddings in Music

Deaths in Music

  • 1908-08-13 Ira D. Sankey, American evangelist, singer, composer and publisher (Gospel Hymns and Sacred Songs), dies at 67
  • 1924-09-15 Anthony Johnson Showalter, American gospel composer, dies at 66
  • 1932-09-15 Charles H. Gabriel, American gospel composer, dies at 76
  • 1933-07-26 Charles Tindley, American gospel music composer (I'll Overcome Someday), and Methodist minister, dies at 82
  • 1945-09-18 "Blind" Willie Johnson, American gospel blues singer and guitarist ("Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground"), dies of malarial fever, syphilis and blindness at 48
  • 1963-03-17 Lizzie Miles [Elizabeth Landreaux], Creole-American jazz, blues and gospel singer ("Man O'War"), dies of a heart attack at 68
  • 1969-09-05 Josh White, American blues, folk and gospel musician, dies at 55
  • 1973-10-09 Sister Rosetta Tharpe [Nubin], American gospel and R&B singer, songwriter, and electric guitarist ("This Train"; "Down By The Riverside"), dies of a stroke at 58
  • 1975-06-16 Don Robey, American record label executive and record producer, dies at 71
  • 1978-02-15 Alex Bradford, American gospel composer and singer (Your Arms Too Short To Box With God), dies of a stroke at 51
  • 1979-05-28 William Edmonson, American bass harmony and gospel vocalist (Southernaires), radio, stage and screen actor (Thirty Years Later), dies at 76
  • 1984-12-22 Viola Wells [Evans], American jazz, blues, and gospel singer, dies at 82
  • 1991-02-09 James Cleveland, American gospel singer, dies at 59
  • 1991-08-03 Jackie Verdell, American gospel singer (The Davis Sisters, 1955-66), pop singer-songwriter ("Why Not Give Me A Chance") and session vocalist (Wilson Picket; Van Morrison), dies at 53
  • 1992-06-21 Thomas Whitfield, American gospel vocalist, dies of heart attack at 38
  • 1992-11-13 Bobby McClure, American gospel (The Soul Stirrers) and soul singer ("Don't Mess Up A Good Thing"), dies from a stroke at 50
  • 1993-01-01 "Georgia" Tom [Dorsey], American blues and gospel pianist, songwriter ("Peace In The Valley"), and evangelist, dies at 93
  • 1994-02-02 Willie Mae "Mother" Smith (née Ford), American gospel singer, evangelist, and folk artist, dies at 89
  • 1994-07-02 Marion Williams, American gospel singer (Stars of Faith), dies of diabetes at 66
  • 1994-09-22 Mattie Moss Clark, American gospel singer, and music minister, dies of diabetes complications at 69
  • 1994-11-16 Dan Smith, harmonica/gospel singer, dies at 83
  • 1994-11-16 Harvey Watkins, gospel Singer, dies at 64
  • 1995-07-27 Doris Mae Akers, American gospel singer-songwriter (Sky Pilot Choir - "Sweet, Sweet Spirit"), dies at 72
  • 1995-09-21 Vernell Townsend, American blues and gospel singer, dies at 64
  • 1995-10-20 Raymond Rasberry, American gospel pianist and singer, dies at 65
  • 1996-07-08 (James Woodie) J.W. Alexander, American gospel and soul music songwriter, singer, and producer (Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls, Solomon Burke), dies of prostate cancer at 80
  • 1996-09-13 Silas Roy Crain, American singer, Founder of Soul Stirrers Gospel Quartet, dies at 85
  • 1998-09-10 Vernon Guy, American R&B and gospel singer (Cool Sounds; Sharpees), dies in a car accident at 53
  • 2000-07-20 Mabel Scott, American gospel and R&B vocalist (Boogie Woogie Santa Claus), dies at 85
  • 2000-12-19 (Roebuck) "Pops" Staples, American gospel singer (The Staple Singers), dies at 85
  • 2001-05-22 Lorez Alexandria, American jazz and gospel singer (Alexandria the Great), dies at 71
  • 2001-07-19 Judy Clay [Guions], American soul and gospel singer, dies from complications from a car accident at 62
  • 2002-09-07 Erma Franklin, American gospel and R&B singer ("Piece Of My Heart"), dies at 64

Ray Charles

2004-06-10 Ray Charles [Robinson], American singer and pianist who pioneered soul music ("Georgia On My Mind"; "Mess Around"; "Hit The Road, Jack"), dies at 73

  • 2005-06-17 Ronald Winans, American gospel singer (Winans), dies at 48
  • 2006-01-08 Otis Clay, American gospel, soul, and R&B-singer ("That's How It Is (When You're In Love)"), dies at 73

James Brown

2006-12-25 James Brown, American R&B, gospel, soul and funk singer known as 'The Godfather of Soul' ("Sex Machine"; "Papa's Got A Brand New Bag"; "Hot Pants"), dies of heart failure at 73

  • 2007-03-17 Roger Bennett, American Southern Gospel performer (b. 1959)
  • 2008-05-11 Dottie Rambo, American gospel singer, dies when her tour bus crashes at 74
  • 2009-01-06 Claude Jeter, American gospel music singer (The Swan Silvertones), dies at 94
  • 2009-04-24 Rev. Timothy Wright, American gospel singer (Been There Done That), and pastor, dies from injuries sustained in a car crash at 61
  • 2010-07-11 Bishop Walter Hawkins, American gospel music singer (Edwin Hawkins Singers; Love Center Choir), dies of pancreatic cancer at 61
  • 2011-08-02 DeLois Barrett Campbell, American gospel singer (Barrett Sisters), dies at 85
  • 2012-07-03 Andy Griffith, American actor, comedian, television producer, Southern gospel singer, and writer (Andy Griffith Show, Matlock), dies from a heart attack at 86
  • 2013-04-16 George Beverly Shea, Canadian-American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer (Billy Graham Crusades, 1947-2013), dies at 104
  • 2015-01-08 Andraé Crouch, American gospel singer (The Color Purple, The Lion King), dies at 72
  • 2017-12-19 Leo "Bud" Welch, American gospel and Delta blues singer-songwriter and guitarist ("You Can't Hurry God"; "Cadillac Baby"), dies at 85
  • 2018-01-15 Edwin Hawkins, American gospel musician, choir master and composer ("Oh Happy Day"), dies of pancreatic cancer at 74
  • 2018-06-03 Clarence Fountain, American Grammy Award-winning gospel singer (The Blind Boys of Alabama), dies of complications of diabetes at 88
  • 2020-10-31 Rance Allen, American gospel singer and musician (Rance Allen Group - Miracle Worker), dies at 71
  • 2021-05-06 Pervis Staples, American gospel vocalist (The Staple Singers -"Uncloudy Day"), dies at 85
  • 2022-01-06 Calvin Simon, American funk and gospel vocalist (Parliament/Funkadelic - "Livin' the Life"), dies at 79
  • 2022-04-15 Art Rupe [Goldberg], American gospel, R&B, and early rock record producer and label executive (Specialty Records - Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Lloyd Price), dies at 104
  • 2022-08-26 Mable John, American blues, R&B, and gospel vocalist (Tamla-Motown; Ray Charles; "Your Good Thing (Is About to End)"), and minister, dies at 91