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“For this, O Lord, I will praise you among the nations; I will sing praises to your name.” – Psalm 18:49, NLT
Did you know that the songs Elvis Presley cherished the most were gospel songs? Christian gospel largely influenced the famous founder of modern rock and roll for creative inspiration in his career. He produced a number of albums entirely composed of classic gospel songs, and many had received Jesus Christ into their lives as a result of listening to Elvis’s beautiful rendition of them.
When fans would declare “Elvis is king” at his concerts, it’s been said that Elvis would promptly correct them who the title clearly belonged to. To one girl he said, “I’m not the king, honey, I’m just a singer. Christ is King.” He was known to always take singing Christian gospel songs seriously. “He had that certain something that everyone searches for all during their lifetime,” Jake Hess, another notable Southern Gospel singer had stated. Hess was one of Elvis’s favorite singers to watch, and his ballad-singing style was a huge influence on him.
While attending his family’s Assembly of God church at the age of two, Elvis’s mother reported that he would climb off her lap, crawl toward the altar in front of the choir, and try to sing with them. When Elvis was in Memphis, Tennessee, he would attend all-night gospel singings at the Ellis Auditorium on a regular basis. His memory of musical history, genres, and knowledge was also remarkable, and he knew just about every single gospel song at the age of 19.
Watch Elvis’s remarkable rendition of “How Great Thou Art” and see for yourself how he took the gospel seriously in his songs. Be sure to look for Part 2 of Elvis Presley’s Beautiful Faith Songs to follow our continued coverage of Elvis Presley.