Mahalia Jackson is often referred to as the “Queen of Gospel” due to her remarkable voice and contribution to gospel music. Her deep, powerful vocals and soulful performances earned her a place in the hearts of many gospel music lovers. Jackson’s music touched the hearts of both religious and non-religious audiences, and her influence on the genre is still evident today. With a career that spanned over four decades, Jackson recorded countless gospel hits that still resonate with listeners today. Her music was characterized by a unique blend of traditional gospel sounds and contemporary music styles, which set her apart from her peers.
This list of the top 10 best Mahalia Jackson songs of all time includes some of her most iconic and unforgettable performances. These songs represent the essence of her music and showcase her vocal range and power. Her influence on gospel music is undeniable, and her music continues to inspire and uplift people all over the world. From classics like “How I Got Over” to the timeless “In The Upper Room,” this list highlights some of the best music from one of the most celebrated gospel artists of all time.
1. “I Will Move On Up a Little Higher”
“I Will Move On Up a Little Higher” is a powerful gospel song performed by Mahalia Jackson, a renowned American gospel singer. The song was written by W. Herbert Brewster and was recorded by Jackson in 1947. It became a massive hit and remained at the top of the gospel charts for many months. This song showcases Jackson’s incredible voice, which was rich and full of emotion. Her powerful vocals, combined with the uplifting lyrics and melody, create an unforgettable listening experience. The song talks about moving forward and striving for something greater, even when faced with challenges and obstacles. Jackson’s passionate delivery of the lyrics and the soulful arrangement of the music have made “I Will Move On Up a Little Higher” an enduring classic in gospel music.
2. “Nobody Knows The Trouble I Have Seen”
“Nobody Knows The Trouble I Have Seen” is a traditional African-American spiritual song that has been performed and recorded by many artists over the years. Mahalia Jackson’s version of the song is one of the most well-known and moving renditions. Her soulful, powerful vocals express the pain and struggle of the African-American experience, and the hope for salvation and deliverance. The song’s slow tempo and mournful melody are perfectly suited to Jackson’s expressive voice, and the simple lyrics convey a deep sense of sorrow and yearning. This song has become an anthem for the Civil Rights movement and a symbol of hope and perseverance in the face of adversity. Jackson’s rendition is a true masterpiece of gospel music and a testament to her extraordinary talent and commitment to her faith.
3. “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”
Mahalia Jackson’s “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” is a soul-stirring gospel song that has resonated with millions of listeners around the world. With her powerful voice and stirring delivery, Mahalia Jackson imbues this classic hymn with a sense of hope and comfort that is unmatched. The song speaks of the power of prayer and the unending support that Jesus provides to his followers, no matter what trials and tribulations they may face in life. From the soaring vocals to the heartfelt lyrics, “What A Friend We Have In Jesus” is a testament to Mahalia Jackson’s remarkable talent and unwavering faith. It is no wonder that this song has become a beloved classic of the gospel genre and continues to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds today.
4. “Come On Children, Let’s Sing”
“Come On Children, Let’s Sing” is a powerful gospel song performed by Mahalia Jackson, known as the Queen of Gospel. The song has an upbeat and lively tempo that inspires listeners to tap their feet and clap their hands. The lyrics urge children to lift their voices and sing praises to God, encouraging them to use their voices as instruments of joy and celebration. Jackson’s soulful vocals add a layer of depth to the song, as she infuses it with emotion and passion. Her delivery is powerful, yet nuanced, as she navigates the song’s changing rhythms and dynamics with ease. “Come On Children, Let’s Sing” is a shining example of Jackson’s ability to connect with her audience and inspire them to embrace their faith through music. It is a testament to her enduring legacy as one of the greatest gospel singers of all time.
5. “There Is A Balm In Gilead”
“There Is A Balm In Gilead” is a traditional African-American spiritual song that has been performed by many gospel and soul artists, but none more iconic than Mahalia Jackson. In her rendition of the song, Jackson’s powerful and soulful voice is accompanied by a choir, creating a moving and emotional experience for the listener. The lyrics speak of a balm, or healing salve, that can soothe the troubled soul, and the song’s melody is both haunting and uplifting. Jackson’s version of “There Is A Balm In Gilead” has become one of her signature songs, and is often played at funerals and other somber occasions as a source of comfort and hope. The song’s message of finding peace and healing in difficult times resonates with many people, and Jackson’s stirring performance captures the essence of that message.
6. “How I Got Over”
“How I Got Over” is a powerful gospel song that was popularized by Mahalia Jackson. The song starts slowly, with Mahalia’s soulful voice singing about how she made it over her troubles and trials. As the song progresses, the pace quickens, and the choir joins in with Mahalia, adding to the uplifting feeling of the song. The lyrics speak to the struggles of life and how faith can help one overcome those struggles. Mahalia’s passionate delivery of the song is a testament to her own personal faith and the strength it gave her to overcome obstacles in her life. The song has become a staple in the gospel music genre and has been covered by many artists over the years. Its message of hope and perseverance continues to inspire and uplift audiences to this day.
7. “Trouble Of The World”
“Trouble of the World” is a traditional gospel song that has been covered by many artists over the years, but Mahalia Jackson’s rendition stands out as one of the most powerful. Her rich, soulful voice carries a message of hope in the face of hardship, and her emotive delivery makes the song a truly moving experience. The song’s lyrics touch on themes of struggle and perseverance, with lines like “I’ve been climbing up the rough side of the mountain” and “Sometimes I feel discouraged and think my work’s in vain.” But throughout it all, there is an underlying sense of faith and trust in God’s plan. Mahalia Jackson’s version of “Trouble of the World” is a testament to the enduring power of gospel music to uplift and inspire, and a reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always hope.
8. “Walk In Jerusalem”
“Walk in Jerusalem” is a traditional gospel song that Mahalia Jackson recorded and popularized. The song has a lively tempo with clapping and foot stomping, which adds to its energy and spirit. Jackson’s powerful voice leads the choir in this song, creating a sense of joy and celebration. The lyrics talk about the journey to the holy city of Jerusalem, a place of peace and salvation. The song inspires the listener to keep going and to persevere in their faith, even in the face of adversity. “Walk in Jerusalem” is a classic gospel song that showcases Mahalia Jackson’s incredible talent and her ability to connect with her audience on a spiritual level.
9. “In The Upper Room”
“In The Upper Room” is a gospel song performed by Mahalia Jackson. It was written by Mahalia Jackson and Laurdine Patrick and released in 1952. The song has a slow and solemn melody, with Jackson’s powerful voice delivering lyrics about finding solace and redemption in the upper room with Jesus. The lyrics also evoke the biblical story of the Last Supper and the disciples gathered in the upper room, creating a sense of spirituality and reverence. Jackson’s emotional performance adds to the song’s power, as she reaches soaring heights with her vocals, inspiring a sense of hope and faith in the listener. “In The Upper Room” is considered one of Jackson’s most iconic and influential songs, as it captures the essence of her music and message. It also showcases her unique ability to convey the passion and intensity of gospel music, making her an enduring figure in the genre
10. “Didn’t It Rain”
“Didn’t It Rain” is a powerful gospel song by Mahalia Jackson that speaks to the transformative power of faith and prayer. The song’s driving rhythm and infectious melody invite listeners to join in and celebrate the joy and freedom of spiritual liberation. Jackson’s soulful and emotive vocals carry the song’s message of hope and redemption, inspiring listeners to find strength and solace in times of hardship and struggle. The song’s lyrics speak to the biblical story of Noah’s ark and the cleansing power of rain, using this metaphor to convey the idea that through faith, we can find salvation and new life. Jackson’s rendition of “Didn’t It Rain” has become a classic in the gospel canon, demonstrating her unique ability to convey both the pain and the glory of the human experience through her music.