By Rory

Mahalia Jackson – Didn’t It Rain

 

Mahalia Jackson was an American gospel singer, widely regarded as the best in the history of the genre. She grew up in the “Black Pearl” section of the Carrollton neighborhood of uptown New Orleans, Louisiana, and began singing in a Baptist church. In 1927 she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she sang with The Johnson Brothers, one of the earliest professional gospel groups. The Johnson Brothers broke up in the mid-1930s, and Jackson began her solo career, recording for Decca in 1937. The result, “God’s Gonna Separate the Wheat from the Tares”, was only a moderate success, but Jackson became a popular concert draw. “Move on up a Little Higher” ( 1948 ) became a huge success, however, and stores could not stock enough of it to meet demand. Jackson rocketed to fame in the U.S. and soon after in Europe. “I Can Put My Trust in Jesus” won a prize from the French Academy, and “Silent Night” was one of the best-selling singles in the history of Norway. With her mainstream success came an inevitable backlash from gospel purists who felt she had watered down her sound for popular accessibility. The late 1960s saw a downturn in her popular success. She ended her career with a concert in Germany in 1971; when she returned, she made one of her final television appearances on The Flip Wilson Show.

 

Next: Carlos Santos

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