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Mahalia Jackson – Singer

In 1947, she signed up with the Apollo label, and in 1948 recorded the William Herbert Brewster song “Move On Up a Little Higher”, a recording so popular that stores could not stock enough copies of it to meet demand, selling an astonishing eight million copies. The song was later honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 1998. “Let the Power of the Holy Ghost Fall on Me” (1949), which won the French Academy’s Grand Prix du Disque. “Silent Night, Holy Night”, which became one of the best-selling singles in the history of Norway. When Jackson sang “Silent Night” on Denmark’s national radio, more than twenty thousand requests for copies poured in.

Other Records: “He Knows My Heart” (1946), “Amazing Grace” (1947), “Tired” (1947), “I Can Put My Trust in Jesus” (1949), “Walk with Me” (1949), “Let the Power of the Holy Ghost Fall on Me” (1949), “Go Tell It on the Mountain” (1950), “The Lord’s Prayer” (1950), “How I Got Over” (1951), “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” (1951), “I Believe” (1953), “Didn’t It Rain” (1953), “Hands of God” (1953), and “Nobody Knows” (1954).

With her mainstream success, Jackson was criticized by some gospel purists who complained about her hand-clapping and foot-stomping and about her bringing "jazz into the church".

With her mainstream success, Jackson was criticized by some gospel purists who complained about her hand-clapping and foot-stomping and about her bringing “jazz into the church”.

In 1950, Jackson became the first gospel singer to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall when Joe Bostic produced the “Negro Gospel and Religious Music Festival”. She started touring Europe in 1952 and was hailed by critics as the “world’s greatest gospel singer.” Jackson had many notable accomplishments during this period, including her performance of many songs in the 1958 film, St. Louis Blues, and singing “Trouble of the World” in 1959’s Imitation of Life; recording with Percy Faith. In 1961, she sang at U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball.

 

Mahalia Jackson performed two songs prior to Dr. King's speech.

Mahalia Jackson performed two songs prior to Dr. King’s speech.

 

At the March on Washington in 1963, she sang in front of 250,000 people “How I Got Over” and “I’ve Been ‘Buked, and I’ve Been Scorned”. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous “I Have a Dream” speech there. She also sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at his funeral after he was assassinated in 1968.

"Thomas Andrew Dorsey: Georgia native Thomas Andrew Dorsey began his musical career as blues pianist “Georgia Tom,” even touring with Ma Rainey. Composing and arranging several successful blues hits, Dorsey’s secular music career flourished. When he lost his beloved wife Nettie in childbirth and their infant son also died, his only solace was his faith. Out of that grief, he wrote “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” which his early protégé Mahalia Jackson sang at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr."

“Thomas Andrew Dorsey: Georgia native Thomas Andrew Dorsey began his musical career as blues pianist “Georgia Tom,” even touring with Ma Rainey. Composing and arranging several successful blues hits, Dorsey’s secular music career flourished. When he lost his beloved wife Nettie in childbirth and their infant son also died, his only solace was his faith. Out of that grief, he wrote “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” which his early protégé Mahalia Jackson sang at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Jackson sang to crowds at the 1964 New York World’s Fair and was accompanied by Al Sharpton. Her last album was What The World Needs Now (1969). She ended her career in 1971 with a concert in Germany, and when she returned, made one of her final television appearances on The Flip Wilson Show.

"Mahalia Jackson (Oct. 26, 1911 – Jan. 27, 1972) was an American gospel singer. Possessing a powerful contralto voice, she was referred to as "The Queen of Gospel". Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world and was heralded internationally as a singer & civil rights activist. She was described by en tertainer Harry Belafonte as "the single most powerful black woman in the United States". She recorded 30 albums, and her 45 rpm records included 12 Gold Million-Sellers."

“Mahalia Jackson (Oct. 26, 1911 – Jan. 27, 1972) was an American gospel singer. Possessing a powerful contralto voice, she was referred to as “The Queen of Gospel”. Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world and was heralded internationally as a singer & civil rights activist. She was described by en tertainer Harry Belafonte as “the single most powerful black woman in the United States”. She recorded 30 albums, and her 45 rpm records included 12 Gold Million-Sellers.”

She established the Mahalia Jackson Scholarship Foundation for young people who wanted to attend college.  For her efforts in helping international understanding, she received the Silver Dove Award

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1976          Best Soul Gospel Performance           “How I Got Over”

1972          Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award          Winner

1969          Best Soul Gospel Performance            ” Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”

1963          Best Gospel Or Other Religious Recording, Musical          “Make a Joyful Noise Unto The Lord”

1962          Best Gospel Or Other Religious Recording           “Great Songs of Love and Faith”

1961           Best Gospel or Other Religious Recording