Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Born this day in 1911, Mahalia Jackson left her native New Orleans in 1927, moving north to Chicago during the Great Migration. The foremost singer of gospel music, Mother Jackson was originally derided for the way she sang it, accused of trying to make gospel mainstream (as if the credo 'spread the word' wasn't essential Christian doctrine).
For her part, no one spread the word better than Mahalia Jackson; in fact, despite numerous lucrative offers, she repeatedly refused to sing secular music. Even this version of You'll Never Walk Alone - from 1945 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Carousel - appears to have been recorded only for television, and she sings it as gospel nonetheless.
By the time of her death in January 1972 she had won over all her critics, and was hailed by all as the Queen of Gospel. Though only 60, she'd already been awarded a lifetime achievement Grammy and was the first gospel singer honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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