This post continues the Chimesfreedom discussion of Best Gospel Songs by Pop Singers. In this series, we consider some great recording of gospel songs that were made by popular singers. This post includes songs recorded by Patty Griffin, Aretha Franklin, and George Harrison.
House of Gold, Patty Griffin (& Hank Williams)
I finally got around to buying Patty Griffin’s CD of gospel music, Downtown Church. She has one of the best singing voices, and it shows on my favorite song off this CD.
“House of Gold” was originally written and performed by Hank Williams. The song works here because her voice echos above the restrained instrumentation. And the song has some of the best gospel lyrics ever:
I’d rather be in a deep, dark grave
And know that my poor soul was saved
Than to live in this world in a house of gold
And deny my God and doom my soul
Blessed Assurance, Aretha Franklin
Like Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin has many great Gospel recordings, including the album, Amazing Grace: The Complete Recordings. She has recorded some excellent versions of “Amazing Grace,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” and “How I Got Over,” but here is a beautifully restrained version of “Blessed Assurance.”
My Sweet Lord, George Harrison
“My Sweet Lord” may not technically qualify as a gospel song (and some Christians have objected to the “Hare Krishna” chants). But it is a beautiful song about one’s relationship with God, so it qualifies for me.
George Harrison originally wrote the song for Billy Preston but ended up having a big hit with it on his own as part of his first post-Beatles album, All Things Must Pass. Unfortunately, he lost a lawsuit for subconsciously copying the Chiffons’ hit, “He’s So Fine.” Under today’s laws that are more lenient toward sampling, etc., though, he likely would have won.
But Harrison managed to come out ahead anyway, eventually buying the rights to “He’s So Fine.”
Check out other posts in our series of Best Gospel Songs by Pop Singers.
Photo of church (Ireland) by Chimesfreedom. What are your favorite gospel recordings by popular artists? Leave a comment.
(Some Related Chimesfreedom Posts)