Gospel: the message concerning Christ, the kingdom of God, and salvation – Gospel Music: of, relating to, or being religious songs of American origin associated with evangelism and popular devotion and marked by simple melody and harmony and elements of folk songs and blues – And why do I bring it up? Because of one particular gospel singer. He sold out concerts. And he had over 100 top 40 singles. And so far, even though he’s dead now, he’s sold somewhere around one billion units of his music worldwide. The next top selling gospel singers are somewhere around one percent of those sales.
Do you know who this gospel singer is?
OK, I’ll give you a hint. And I bet I don’t need to give you more than this one hint. He was born on this day (January 8). And today is his 86th birthday.
So, yeah…I’m talkin’ about Elvis Presley, the King of rock ‘n’ roll.
But wait. Didn’t I say he was a gospel singer? Well, yes I did. Because he was. And even though he didn’t rise to such amazing heights because of gospel music, he apparently loved the music. As a matter of fact, according to those who worked with him, Elvis even sang gospel songs to warm up before his concerts.
Of course, I’m sure you’re all shook up about his number 1 hits and top 40 hits. And maybe you even know he received 14 Grammy nominations. But did you know he only won three of those awards? And did you know all three were for gospel songs. It’s true. His first Grammy win was in 1967 for Best Sacred Performance. And the song was “How Great Thou Art,” his second gospel record.
Elvis was nominated for “You’ll Never Walk Alone” in 1968. But he didn’t win again until 1972 with his recording of “He Touched Me.” And then he won again, in 1974, for another recording of “How Great Thou Art.”
Unfortunately, his worldwide fame got the better of him. And he died of an apparent drug overdose in 1977. But his drug usage and questionable lifestyle didn’t keep him out of Heaven. Before you challenge me on whether or not Elvis made it to Heaven, read that again. I didn’t say he went to Heaven. Or that I know he’s there. Although, I sure hope so. My point is, God doesn’t ban drug users and other immoral people. If He did, Heaven would have no human inhabitants.
And gospel singers don’t go to Heaven, either.
At least not for being gospel singers. Or any other kind of singer. Or for being any other kind of person for that matter.
Nope. You can win every kind of music award known to man. And you can be inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. And you sell millions of records…and still go to hell.
In fact, you can even be an EGOT and still go to hell. (an EGOT is someone who’s won all the 4 major American entertainment awards: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and dare I say it? the most prestigious of them all…the Tony)
You can also be a singer with no awards plaques on your wall. Or a musician with no accolades from any of the so-called “major awards” and still go to Heaven. Matter of fact you can be a singer who writes and produces music based on theologically sound Christian doctrine and repel most Christians…and still go to Heaven.
Anyway…getting back to the main theme of this article…
Happy Birthday, Elvis. I hope Heaven is your home.
‘Cause it’s the one, true Graceland where you can find shalom.
Maybe one day you and I can sing some worship tunes
And lift our voices, high, on a million afternoons.
Get my Rhyme & Reason Podcast delivered (free) right to your device.
Grab yourself an un-cool T-shirt
Or how about some music for kids