Gospel music combines Christian religious lyrics with melody and rhythm that developed in tandem with early blues and jazz. Modern gospel artists have also incorporated elements from soul music, which originally arose as a secular form of gospel. Gospel music first grew popular with African Americans and white southerners but has since become popular around the world.
It first gained popularity in the 1930s, when one-time bluesman Thomas A. Dorsey coined the term gospel music and pointed the way with songs like "Precious Lord Take My Hand" and "Peace in the Valley". Some of its roots are found in the publishing work and "normal schools" of Aldine S. Kieffer and Ephraim Ruebush. It was promoted by traveling singing school teachers, southern gospel quartets, and shape note music publishing companies such as the A. J. Showalter Company (1879), the James D. Vaughan Publishing Company and the Stamps-Baxter Music and Printing Company.
Among the best known gospel performers are Mahalia Jackson whose legacy is carried on by her own discovery Linda Hopkins, the Blind Boys of Alabama, the Jordanaires, and the Oak Ridge Boys. Black and white gospel music have remained generally separate genres.
The Gospel Music Association is a major group of gospel artists. Aretha Franklin, daughter of a preacher, is an example of a popular singer with gospel roots. Many other rhythm and blues and country music performers, from Solomon Burke to Elvis Presley have shown their love for gospel music.
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