People have sung songs of praise since time immemorial in a sacred union of music and religion that is among the oldest human traditions. In the last 100 years, gospel has been one of the most popular forms of music inspired by spiritual beliefs. Evolving from Anglican hymns and 19th-century Black spirituals, it flourished in the 20th century, and its emotionally powerful approach went on to have an enormous impact on several secular music styles, influencing soul, jazz, blues and rock music. Though not often deemed a mainstream music, gospel has conquered pop charts around the world – and, as this run-down of the best gospel songs reveals, some songs with gospel messages snuck into the charts undetected.
Here, then, are the 40 best gospel songs of all time. Anticipate exhilarating testimonials of faith, soothing balms to heal weary souls, and life-affirming revelations that invoke the holy spirit.
Best Gospel Songs: 40 Life-Affirming Expressions Of Faith
40: Ain’t No Need To Worry
An all-male sibling quartet from Detroit, The Winans helped to launch a gospel music renaissance in the 80s by blending traditional spiritual values with contemporary R&B production. On this song, released by Quincy Jones’ Qwest label, they teamed with the silky-voiced soul singer Anita Baker to articulate a gladdening message of hope and trusting in God’s wisdom. The song won a Grammy for Best Soul Gospel Performance By A Duo Or Group, Choir Or Chorus.