My Favorite Gospel Songs by Elvis Presley

When you hear Elvis sing gospel music, his love for Jesus is quite apparent. He sang gospel from his heart, with so much passion and conviction! No one can come close to him in gospel music, except for Mahalia Jackson. Elvis recorded dozens of gospel songs, in this post are 7 of my favorites! I hope you are as touched by them as I have been.

Songs

Take My Hand, Precious Lord

Take My Hand, Precious Lord recorded by Elvis on Sunday, 13 January 1957; written by Thomas Dorsey. Originally recorded by Heavenly Gospel Singers in 1937.

This song was written out of grief by Dorsey when he lost his wife giving birth to his son who died later that night.

He had just turned 22 less than a week before he recorded this, and to me, he sings it like he would with the mastery of something he might have done in the 70s. His voice is pristine in this and gives me goosebumps every time. Elvis sang gospel straight from his heart

Lyrics

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

In my way grows drear precious Lord linger near
When my light is almost gone
Hear my cry, hear my call
Hold my hand lest I fall
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

When the darkness appears and the night draws near
And the day is past and gone
At the river, I stand
Guide my feet, hold my hand
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I’m tired, I’m weak, I’m lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home

In The Garden

In The Garden recorded by Elvis on Friday, 27 May 1966; RCA Studio B – Nashville. Written by Miles. Originally recorded by Rodeheaver and Asher in 1916.

Lyrics

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The song of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

He speaks and the sound of His voice
Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
And the melody that He gave to me
Within my heart is ringing

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known

(They’ll Be) Peace in the Valley (For Me)

The song achieved mass coverage during Elvis Presley‘s third and final appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on January 6, 1957. Before an audience estimated at 54.6 million viewers, Presley closed the show by dedicating the song to the 250,000 refugees fleeing Hungary after the 24 and 31 October 1956 double-invasion of that country by the Soviet Union. Because he also requested that immediate aid be sent to lessen their plight, the appeal in turn yielded contributions amounting to US$6 million, or the equivalent of US$49.5 million in today’s money. Over the next 11 months, the International Red Cross in Geneva, with the help of the US Air Force, organized the distribution of both perishables and non-perishables purchased with the above-mentioned funds (Swiss Francs 26.2 million, at the then 4.31 CHFR-US$ exchange) to the refugees in both Austria and England where they settled for life. On October 15, 1957, Presley’s first Christmas album, containing a master studio recording of the song, was released, topping the Billboard Charts for four weeks and selling in excess of three million copies, as certified by the RIAA on July 15, 1999. Because of these developments, István Tarlós, the Mayor of the city of Budapest, in 2011 and as a gesture of belated gratitude, named a park after him, as well as making him an honorary citizen. This song was requested by Elvis’ mother Gladys who was watching on TV. Elvis promised he would sing it just for her. That was her favorite song.

Lyrics

Oh well, I’m tired and so weary
But I must go alone
Till the lord comes and calls, calls me away, oh yes
Well the morning’s so bright
And the lamp is alight
And the night, night is as black as the sea, oh yes

There will be peace in the valley for me, someday
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me, for me

Well the bear will be gentle
And the wolves will be tame
And the lion shall lay down by the lamb, oh yes
And the beasts from the wild
Shall be lit by a child
And I’ll be changed, changed from this creature that I am, oh yes

There will be peace in the valley for me, someday
There will be peace in the valley for me, oh Lord I pray
There’ll be no sadness, no sorrow
No trouble, trouble I see
There will be peace in the valley for me, for me

How Great Thou Art

How Great Thou Art” is a Christian hymn based on an original Swedish hymn entitled “O Store Gud” written in 1885 by Carl Boberg (1859–1940). The English version of the hymn and its title are a loose translation by the English missionary Stuart K. Hine from 1949. his hymn was the title track of Elvis Presley‘s second gospel LP How Great Thou Art, which was released in March 1967. The song won Presley a Grammy Award for “Best Sacred Performance” in 1967, and another Grammy in 1974 for “Best Inspirational Performance (Non-Classical)” for his live performance album Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis (Released: June 1974) recorded on 20 March 1974 at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis, Tennessee.

Lyrics

O Lord, my God,
When I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds
Thy Hands have made
I see the stars,
I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed

When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart
Then I shall bow with humble adoration
And then proclaim, my God, how great Thou art

Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, (how great Thou art)
How great Thou art, (how great Thou art)
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God, to Thee
How great Thou art, (how great Thou art)

Crying in the Chapel

The hymn ‘Crying in the Chapel’ was written by Artie Glen for his son Darrell to sing. Darrell recorded it with his father’s band, Rhythm Riders, in 1953. The song became a local hit and then went nationwide.

On October 31, 1960, Elvis Presley recorded his version of the song and planned to put it on his gospel record, His Hand in Mine. Elvis used The Jordanaires as background vocals on the ‘Crying in the Chapel’ recording, but after three takes, neither party was satisfied with the outcome. They decided to shelf the recording and move on.

It wasn’t until April 6, 1965, that the ‘Crying in the Chapel’ recording was released as a special Easter single for Elvis. And even though the song was held back from release for five years, it became Elvis’ most successful gospel song, quickly selling millions of copies.

Lyrics

You saw me crying in the chapel
The tears I shed were tears of joy
I know the meaning of contentment
Now I am happy with the Lord

Just a plain and simple chapel
Where humble people go to pray
I pray the Lord that I’ll grow stronger
As I live from day to day

I’ve searched and I’ve searched
But I couldn’t find
No way on earth
To gain peace of mind

Now I’m happy in the chapel
Where people are of one accord
(One accord)
Yes, we gather in the chapel
Just to sing and praise the Lord

You’ll search and you’ll search
But you’ll never find
No way on earth
To gain peace of mind

Take your troubles to the chapel
Get down on your knees and pray
(Knees and pray)
Then your burdens will be lighter
And you’ll surely find the way
(And you’ll surely find the way)

Amazing Grace

This is my favorite hymn! No one sings it like Elvis!

Lyrics

Amazing Grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind but now I see

‘Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come
‘Tis Grace has brought me safe thus far
And Grace will lead me home

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures

Yet, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’ve first begun

He Touched Me

This song brings me to tears! It is so touching and heart-rending. I first heard this song on the radio as a 5-year-old. After over 40 years the song is still fresh and moving!

Lyrics

Shackled by a heavy burden
‘Neath a load of guilt and shame
Then the hand of Jesus touched me
And now I am no longer the same

For He touched me, He touched me
He touched me and what a wonderful joy
What wonderful joy that foods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

Oh since I met this blessed Savior
Since He cleansed and made me whole
Oh I never cease, never cease to praise Him
I’ll shout it while eternity rolls

Oh He touched me, oh He touched me
And oh what a joy that floods my soul
Something happened and now I know
He touched me and made me whole

Documentary

I found this wonderful documentary about Elvis and his love for gospel music, titled, “He Touched Me: The Gospel Music Of Elvis Presley“.

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