What makes you listen to a gospel music song? Maybe the lyrics or how it makes you feel. It could also be how the band sounds or something about their appearance. As a gospel music lover, you should know that many songs have gotten written in the genre.
You can look for a tune that will remind you of your childhood, friendship, or even one that you can use as inspiration in your work or personal life. This genre signifies a religious and spiritual experience where sometimes it is the lyrics of the songs; others are its upbeat rhythms or big sound.
Gospel music is a genre of Christian music that developed in the early 17th century. It has progressed to incorporate contemporary styles and instruments while still embracing a vocal style characterized as having strong or emotive singing. Below are some of the best gospel music songs you should check out.
Top Gospel Music Songs
“Here I Am To Worship” – Hillsong Worship
“Here I Am To Worship” is one of the best gospel songs ever written. The song is simple, and yet it is so powerful. It is a song that can easily make you worship the almighty.
Hillsong Worship is a famous praise band from Australia that has been making waves in the Christian music industry. The group is most well-known for its modern worship songs.
“Days of Elijah” – Robin Mark
Robin Mark is one of the best contemporary gospel artists and worship leaders from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has been making music for some time and released this particular song in 1997, which hit the charts.
In this song, Mark tells Christians to prepare for the coming of the Lord. He uses the analogy of Elijah in this song. The lyrics are pretty simple and thus easy to remember. It is a song that you can sing along with while guiding your loved ones toward God.
Other songs written by Robin include “All To Jesus I Surrender,” “Be Unto Your Name,” and so many more.
“Imagine Me” – Kirk Franklin
“Imagine Me” is one song you wouldn’t miss on your gospel songs list. It was one of the best songs written and produced by Kirk Franklin, which won several awards, like the Grammy Awards.
It is a song that reminds believers to focus on their faith and relationship with Christ. It also preaches about overcoming obstacles in life.
Kirk Franklin is an American gospel singer and songwriter. He has produced several albums which have won him several awards.
“10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)” – Matt Redman
Matt Redman is a Christian worship leader and songwriter who has released 16 albums. He has been nominated for Grammy and Dove awards, making him one of the most popular gospel musicians.
This gospel song is about the appreciation of God for all that he has done for believers. This song conveys the message of thanking God for all his blessings. It aims to inspire people to worship God with their whole hearts.
“I Will Sing” – Don Moen
Don Moen is a famous gospel artist who has released several albums. He is one of the best contemporary gospel artists who have been making music for several decades. Many of his songs have won awards and such.
This particular song got released in 2000. It is a song that encourages believers to sing wholeheartedly despite the challenges they face.
“I Need Thee Every Hour” – Annie Sherwood Hawks
Annie Hawks was a gospel hymnist known as one of the best women gospel vocalists. She was born in 1836 and later died in 1918. She released several albums during her time in the music industry, and “I Need Thee Every Hour” was among them.
This song encourages Christians to pray to God despite their life’s odds. It teaches believers that they cannot make it through their challenges without God’s help.
“Break Every Chain” – Tasha Cobbs
Tasha Cobbs is a famous songwriter and an American gospel musician. She has released several hit singles like “Break Every Chain,” “Gracefully Broken,” and many others. The singer received an award in the 56th Grammy awards for the best gospel music performance.
This song calls Christians to break the chains of oppression and sin they may be experiencing in their personal lives. It calls Christians to reject the evil within them and let God have control over their lives.
“I Know Who I Am” – Sinach
Sinach is a Nigerian gospel musician who has been writing and producing songs in the music industry for some time. She has won several awards, including the GMA Dove and Nigerian Entertainment awards.
This song came out in 2013. The song is about discovering yourself and finding out your purpose in life. It is a song that teaches you to realize your strengths and use them for God’s glory.
“You Are Yahweh” – Steve Crown
Steve Crown is a famous gospel music artist and Lake Light Entertainment founder. The singer was born in Nigeria and is known for producing other hit black gospel songs like “We Wait on You” and “You are Great.”
This particular song got released in 2019. The song talks about God and how he is the source of all existence. It encourages believers to recognize the power and greatness of God.
“Here I Am To Worship” – Maranatha! Music
Maranatha is a famous Christian music record label founded in 1971 by Calvary Chapel. The label has been making waves in the gospel music industry since its founding.
This song is considered one of the top gospel songs you should listen to on any occasion. It is a song that talks about the greatness of God and how believers should worship him. It encourages people to worship him wholeheartedly and serve him with their hearts.
“The Cross” – Prince
An atmospheric guitar solo opens this one, before a strummed instrumental kicks in. This is a soft, poignant offering from Prince that slowly builds, as he sings about the problems that everyone faces in life and how getting to “know the cross” can, in his opinion, solve many of them.
The track then ramps up to a rock instrumental as Prince unleashes his signature powerful vocals to repeat his message. “Don’t die without knowing the cross,” Prince encourages those around him.
“Mary, Don’t You Weep” – Aretha Franklin
Many artists have sung this track over the years, but Aretha’s version of anything is always special. Recorded live at New Temple Missionary Baptist Church for her Amazing Grace album, the track features shouts of support from members of the congregation under Aretha’s singing.
“Mary, Don’t You Weep” is a gospel standard that has been traced back to pre-Civil War America, but it was first recorded in 1915 by the Fisk University Jubilee singers. Other notable versions of the song include that of the Swan Silvertones in 1958, a famous gospel vocal group. Aretha recorded her version in 1972.
“Sanctuary” – Jessy Dixon
Dixon pledges to be a “living sanctuary” in this reverent gospel track. He sings a solo verse about pledging his life to his religion and being a vessel for its message, before a choral group joins in to repeat his words.
Dixon then speaks directly to God again as the track takes on elements of a rock ballad. Dixon’s rich, emotive voice has made him popular with listeners for decades, and it’s in full force on “Sanctuary”, full of passion and feeling.
“I’ll Fly Away” – Albert E. Brumley Jr.
This upbeat gospel track has a jaunty, country-influence instrumental that serves the positive, upbeat message of the track. Although Brumley is singing about a typical morbid topic – his own death – he approaches the subject with levity and spirit, because of the comfort that his religion provides him with. He’s sure that when he dies he’ll “fly away” to a better place – what he thinks of as Heaven – and so he isn’t afraid, but prepared to meet death like an old friend.
“How Firm A Foundation” – Maddy Prior & The Carnival Band
Vocalist Maddy Prior takes on this gallery hymn of the 18th and 19th century, backed by the Carnival band. Although this track is one of the oldest on our list, this new recording of it really helps to bring it to life and lets us hear it as people centuries ago would have.
It’s a demonstration of the legacy that gospel music still continues, and how deeply it is entwined in musical history. The song calls for believers in God to trust in the firm foundation of their faith in times of trouble.
“Sweet Sweet Song Of Salvation” – Larry Norman
“When you know a pretty story you don’t let it go unsaid,” sings Christian rocker Larry Norman in the opening verse of “Sweet Sweet Song Of Salvation”. Norman thinks the message of Christianity is wonderful enough that it needs to be shared with everyone in his life. He encourages his listeners to follow his example and “sing that sweet, sweet song of salvation” to everyone they meet. The upbeat track is a joyful, enthusiastic ode to belief.
“Higher Ground” – Stevie Wonder
Stevie Wonder brings the funk to gospel with this smooth track about second chances. Wonder knows that he isn’t yet a perfect version of himself, but he wants to celebrate the fact that he has plenty of time left to keep striving to be better.
“Gonna keep on trying, ‘til I reach my highest ground,” he sings cheerfully. Wonder wrote the whole track in three hours, describing it as a “special song” that just flowed through him.Wonder recorded this track three months before a harrowing near death experience whilst on his way to a concert in North Carolina.
After a nearly fatal car accident, his manager Ira Tucker Jr sang “Higher Ground” to Wonder and played the track until Wonder began to regain movement and consciousness. From that point on, the song represented a very literal second chance for Wonder.
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord” – Jennifer Hudson
This is another track that has been recorded many times over the years by a range of voices, but Hudson’s version truly makes it come to life. A powerhouse vocalist, Hudson is know for unbelievable feats of musicality, and she once again knocks it out of the park with “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”, wailing over a slow organ instrumental.
“Take My Hand, Precious Lord” was originally written by Thomas Dorsey, but made famous by Mahalia Jackson, who sang the track at the funeral of Martin Luther King. It was sang at Jackson’s own funeral four years later by Aretha Franklin.
“Going Up Yonder” – Walter Hawkins
Hawkins is matter of fact about his own passing, because he’s sure of exactly where he’s going. “I’m going up yonder to be with my Lord,” he sings. He’s ready to leave the heartaches and disappointments of this world behind and receive what his faith tells him is promised to him – a happy, peaceful eternity with God.
“Oh Happy Day” – The Edwin Hawkins Singers
Back in 1968, ‘Oh Happy Day’ was the first pure gospel song to cross over into the pop charts and help to popularise gospel globally. Based on a Protestant hymn entitled ‘Oh Happy Day, That Fixed My Choice’, the joyful recording features a church choir and musicians, and the vocals of gospel singer Dorothy Morrison.
“His Eye Is On The Sparrow” – Mahalia Jackson
Jackson wonders why she should ever feel sad, lonely or despondent when her faith tells her that God is always watching over her. “I sing because my soul is happy,” she sings, in her famous rich, emotive voice. The gentle gospel track gives Jackson plenty of opportunity to display her unique vocal talents.
Gospel music has been around for a long time and is still strong in the industry. It is one genre of music that many people love, and singers who have been making gospel music are still working hard to ensure they keep producing hits.
Therefore, whether you are listening to old gospel songs or free gospel songs, you can be sure that gospel singers are coming up with new songs that will make you dance, scream, and even rejoice.
Caitlin Devlin is a music, entertainment and lifestyle writer based in London. When she’s not creating playlists for Repeat Replay, she’s reviewing gigs and interviewing artists for Ticketmaster UK and thinking about what her Spotify Wrapped will look like this year.