Our list of ten best gospel songs of all time might surprise you. Some are inspirational, some are thought-provoking and they all offer praise to a higher power. However the mix of soul, hip hop, blues and kicking guitar shows that the depth of gospel recordings goes beyond what you might hear from your church choir.
- "How I Got Over" by Mahalia Jackson The list of ten best gospel songs of all time would not be complete without a song from one of the best gospel singers of all time. Many gospel singers have recorded this one, but none sing it as well as Jackson, whose powerful voice brings this stirring Negro spiritual to life.
- "Amazing Grace" by Jeff Beck It is hard to find someone who has never heard "Amazing Grace" and it is likely not surprising to see this song on our list of ten best gospel songs of all time. What makes this song great is how the former Yardbirds guitarist gives this hymn his own spin with this beautiful instrumental. Beck may not sing with his voice, but he makes his guitar sing.
- "Wholy Holy" by Marvin Gaye This gospel song is on the classic Gaye album from 1971, "What's Going On." While the title track and the album's other hit, "Mercy, Mercy Me," question the tumultuous state of the nation, "Wholy Holy" encourages people to put aside hate and live with love.
- "How Great Thou Art" by Elvis Presley The King of Rock and Roll returns to his roots with one of the ten best gospel songs of all time. Presley's voice soars in this beautiful rendition of this classic hymn.
- "You Grow Closer" by Aretha Franklin This is not a complex gospel song, but it is one of the best. Franklin, who was still just a teenager when it was recorded, makes it one of the best gospel songs of all time with her soulful interpretation of lyrics about growing closer to God through prayer.
- "Stomp" by Kirk Franklin Hip hop gospel? Yes, and Franklin makes it work with this gospel hit. It may not be traditional gospel, but this song is just as uplifting and inspirational as a 100 year-old hymn. As an added bonus, you can dance to it, too.
- "Come, Let Us Go Back to God" by Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers The Soul Stirrers have had many singers in their seven years of singing gospel, but none were better than Sam Cooke. Thoughtful lyrics about trouble in the world with a plea to seek refuge in God, combined with Cooke's smooth tenor, make this one of the ten best gospel songs of all time.
- "God in Me" by Mary Mary Kirk Franklin is not the only one who can mix gospel and hip hop. The singing duo Mary Mary brings a fresh sound to gospel with this hit about thanking God for the goodness in your life.
- "You Gotta Serve Somebody" by Shirley Caesar This gospel song, written and first recorded by Bob Dylan, says that we all have to decide if we are going to serve the devil or serve the Lord. With all due respect to Dylan, Caesar's bluesy version is better than his and shows why she is the First Lady of Gospel.
- "Hallelujah" by k.d. lang This is not only one of the ten best gospel songs of all time, it is quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs of all time. The exact meaning of Leonard Cohen's lyrics are up for debate and lang could sing the ingredients from a cereal box and make them sound good, but the combination of his poetry and her incredible vocal range is truly moving.
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