“Gospel music is the purest thing there is on this earth,” Elvis Presley once said.
His voice was a gift from God. He believed in the Bible and loved singing gospel music, especially the traditional southern hymns.
“I believe in the Bible,” Elvis said. “I believe that all good things come from God. I don’t believe I’d sing the way I do if God hadn’t wanted me to.”
Elvis Presley loved gospel songs. Gathered around the piano at his Graceland home, Elvis would sing his favorite hymns into the early morning hours.
“We do two shows a night for five weeks. A lotta times we’ll go upstairs and sing until daylight - gospel songs. We grew up with it...It more or less puts your mind at ease. It does mine,” Elvis said.
Many of Elvis Presley’s backup singers were gospel quartets including the Imperials. From 1956 to 1970, the legendary gospel group, The Jordanaires performed alongside Elvis. Of all the music Elvis knew and loved, it was the gospel quartets that touched him so deeply. The Jordanaires were among Elvis' favorites. Their music was spirited and black-influenced, very much in keeping with Elvis's tastes.
With all the songs he performed during his career, Elvis won just three Grammys.
Those three wins were for gospel recordings: "How Great Thou Art" (1967) album, "He Touched Me" (1972) album, and his Live Memphis Concert recording of "How Great Thou Art" (1974).
Here is a list of 12 Best Elvis Presley Gospel Songs of all-time:
12). Joshua Fit The Battle – a rhythmic hand-clapping song telling the Biblical story about the walls of Jericho.
11). I Believe In The Man In The Sky – a country gospel song of worship and praise.
10). Mansion Over the Hilltop – a great revival hymn with country roots.
9). You’ll Never Walk Alone – A song about faith and going through life’s storms. Elvis lifts his voice to the heavens as he sings.
8). He Touched Me – This 1972 gospel album, a compilation of gospel and contemporary Christian music, earned Elvis his second Grammy Award.
7). We Call On Him – This beautiful tribute to God’s amazing lovemade its debut in 1971.
6). In My Father’s House – This religious song refers to scripture. John 14:2 says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions…” This beautiful hymn attributes to that message.
5). Where Could I Go But To The Lord – a traditional, spiritually uplifting gospel hymn.
4). There’ll Be Peace in the Valley (For Me) – Elvis performed this beautiful hymn on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1957.
3). American Trilogy – Some may not consider this a religious song, but listening to Elvis sing, “Glory, Glory, Alleluia... His truth is marching on,” will lift anyone’s spirit.
2). Take My Hand, Precious Lord – an inspirational song filled with tender mercies and grace.
1). How Great Thou Art – A live version of this song garnered Elvis his third and final Grammy for Best Inspirational Performance. This is truly his best gospel performance. (See video above).
How will Elvis be remembered most?
Whether it’s his music or movies, his jumpsuits or his record-breaking career, Elvis was blessed with an incredible vocal range.
His inspirational voice and true gospel roots will never die.
"I ain't no saint, but I've tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God...I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world," Elvis said.