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Top 15 Gospel/Christian Music Artists Of All-time And Their Songs

The Gospel/Christian music scene boasts some of the best vocalists in music history. Many of the world’s most respected Gospel vocalists have inspired contemporary artists to sing. Also, some of the world’s biggest popstars released Gospel projects at certain times in their careers.

The beauty of the Gospel music industry is that artists are never forgotten, and songs never fade out. Several artists have taken the world by storm from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and even today and sold millions of records worldwide. Our list contains the top 15 greatest Gospel music artists of all time regarding their influence, impact, etc. See the complete list below.

15. Aretha Franklin

The iconic Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin, was also a force in the Gospel music scene. She started out singing in her church choir, where her father was a pastor. Franklin started her career at 14, releasing “Songs of Faith.” In 1972, she recorded and released the Award-winning Gospel album “Amazing Grace” which became a significant success. It is believed to have pushed Gospel music to new heights. Franklin won several awards and was inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Aretha Franklin Videos

14. Donnie McClurkin

 

Donnie McClurkin has always been honest about his journey. With a turbulent childhood, McClurkin found peace in the church and began recording Gospel music. He formed his first singing group with his four sisters as a teenager. That did not last, leading to another group that was not successful. He launched his solo career in 1996 and released the hit song “Stand.” He is among the best-selling Gospel singers of all time and has won numerous awards.

Donnie McClurkin Videos

13. Sam Cooke

Legendary singer, Samuel Cooke, known professionally as Sam Cooke, is regarded as the King Of Soul. He is credited with having transformed Gospel music, R&B, and Soul. As a young singer, Cooke performed with the Gospel group Highway QCs. Later on, he became the lead singer of The Soul Stirrers. He crossed over to pop music in the 1950s and charted 29 songs in the top 40. Cooke is known for the hits “Good News,” “You Send Me,” and more.

Sam Cooke Videos

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12. James Cleveland

Called the “Crown Prince Of Gospel” music, James Cleveland influenced the Gospel scene with his booming baritone. Throughout his career, Cleveland wrote and arranged over 400 songs. He is also famous for teaching the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, how to sing Gospel. He also collaborated with her on the Award-winning Amazing Grace album. He became the first Gospel singer to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Cleveland founded the Gospel Music Workshop of America in Detroit.

James Cleveland Videos

11. Yolanda Adams

Indeed, one of the most respected singers in the Gospel music scene, Yolanda Adams, hit many milestones throughout her fantastic career. She was crowned the #1 Gospel Artist of the decade by Billboard. She also became the first Gospel artist honored with an American Music Award. Adams opened to Superbowl LIV singing  “America The Beautiful.” Yolanda Adams has sold millions of records, performed worldwide, and even had a hit radio show.

Yolanda Adams Videos

10. Mary Mary

Sisters Erica Monique Campbell and Trecina Evette Atkins-Campbell, also known as Mary Mary, are credited as one of the most prominent and most influential Gospel musicians of all time. They were catapulted to worldwide prominence following the release of their debut album “Thankful” in 1998. Before their split, the duo released several albums and won multiple awards, including Grammys, Stellar Awards, and more. Their song “Shackles” was a massive global hit.

Mary Mary Videos

09. Sallie Martin

Sallie Martin is called the “Mother of Gospel.” At the start of her career, she caught the attention of Thomas Dorsey, but that did not do much. After auditioning three times, Dorsey reluctantly (mostly because she could not read sheet music and had a harsh way of singing) hired her to organize his trio of singers. She exceeded his expectations and formed a partnership with Dorsey.

Sallie Martin Videos

08. Thomas A. Dorsey

Thomas A. Dorsey is reputable for being the “Father of Gospel Music.” Thomas A. Dorsey was a famous evangelist who co-founded the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses. With roots in Jazz music, Dorsey is credited for developing the original Gospel chorus. His Blues influence birthed modern Gospel music, often associated with Black Churches and American gospel scenes. Dorsey wrote over 3000 songs and millions of copies.

Thomas A. Dorsey

07. Bebe & Cece Winans

 

Legendary Gospel singers Bebe & Cece Winans are credited with taking Gospel music mainstream and pushing it beyond boundaries. The duo made up of siblings Benjamin and Priscilla Marie Winans are the younger siblings of the famous Winans Gospel singers. They gained prominence during the heyday of televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Baker’s Christian TV program in the 80s. They recorded and released several hits and won 3 Grammys. They have also had legendary solo careers.

Bebe & Cece Winans Videos

06. Gary Davis

Gary Davis is regarded as one of the first artists who anchored the beginning of Gospel music. He started out performing as a street busker. He sang songs that were termed spiritual. He has often been called “Blind Gary Davis” by most because of his blindness from infancy. However, it did not deter his rise in music. He played the banjo and guitar with a handpicking style that caught the ears of Bob Dylan and The Grateful Dead.

Gary Davis Videos

05. Andraé Crouch

The 8-time Grammy Award winner is regarded as the “Father of Modern Gospel Music.” He is the pioneer of Urban Contemporary Gospel music. Andraé has worked on and released over 1000 songs. He was known to produce, write and arrange songs by himself. Crouch also worked on projects with the world’s biggest stars, including Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Elvis Presley, Elton John, and more.

Andraé Crouch Videos

04. Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin is the “Reigning King of Urban Gospel,” a reputation he earned by releasing revolutionary Gospel music. Kirk is a jack-of-all-trades and a Master of all, a singer, songwriter, musician, Choi director, and producer. Kirk Franklin has collaborated with the most prominent Gospel musicians in the world, from Shirley Caesar to Cece Winans. He has also won numerous awards, including multiple Grammys, and sold millions of records.

Kirk Franklin Videos

03. Elvis Presley

Known as the reigning “King of Rock and Roll,” Elvis Presley, the world’s Best-selling Artist Of All Time, had a love for Gospel music. A few of his albums were inspired by Gospel. The most being “He Touched Me,” which was released in 1972. The album won him his second Grammy Award. The “How Great Thou Art” album also won him a Grammy Award.

Elvis Presley Videos

02. Shirley Caesar

Called the “First Lady of Gospel,” Shirley Caesar’s influence touched many people in America and worldwide. She began singing at the age of 12. Inspired by her father (who was also a Gospel singer before he passed), Caesar started her career singing for family and friends and later joined the Caravans. She spent eight years with the group and later went solo. She won 11 Grammy Awards, performed at the White House, and released many hits.

Shirley Caesar Videos

01. Mahalia Jackson

In the 20th century, Mahalia Jackson was regarded as the “Queen of Gospel.” With a career spanning 40 decades, Jackson dominated the world in an era where racial segregation was prevalent. Her music traveled all over the world and touched many souls.

While she was tempted to record secular music, Jackson opted to remain in the Gospel scene. She became the first Gospel singer in history to sell over 1 million copies. She has since sold over 22 million records.

Mahalia Jackson Videos

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