Elvis Gospel Songs
Gospel music played a prominent role in Elvis' life, and gospel was, in fact, his favorite music (though this may be a surprise to some). At home, or after the shows, Elvis would often play and sing gospel tunes for his own enjoyment, inspiration, and consolation.
The love for gospel music was deeply rooted in Elvis' childhood and youth. Since a very early age, he was listening to gospel music in the First Assembly of God Church on McLemore Avenue in Memphis. Interestingly, the Blackwood Brothers attended in the same church with him. The young Elvis was fascinated by the harmonies of this gospel quartet.
"My mother and dad both loved to sing," Elvis said in an interview. "They tell me that when I was about 3 or 4 years old I got away from them in church and walked up in front of the choir and started beating time," he said.
Later in his career, Elvis often used gospel groups as background singers in his recordings and shows. Some of these groups include: the Blackwoods, the Songfellows, the Imperials, The Jordanaires, the Sweet Inspirations, and J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet. As a youth, Elvis had even wanted to sing in a gospel quartet professionally, but he was discouraged from that because he wasn't at his best at harmony.
Elvis released his first gospel album "How Great Thou Art" in 1967. It was a very personal album for him, and ended up winning him his first Grammy Award. In this album, he experimented and changed the instrumentation to include steel guitars, saxophones, and background singers, in order to add something to gospel music.
Presley went on earning two more Grammy Awards in his lifetime. The other two were for the song "How Great Thou Art", and for the album "He Touched Me". Therefore, all three Grammies he won in his lifetime were for gospel music.
The three full-length gospel albums recorded by Elvis Presley are:
His Hand in Mine in 1960
How Great Thou Art in 1967
He Touched Me in 1972
He also released the song "Peace in the Valley" in 1957 as an extended play single.