Mahalia Jackson is one of America’s greatest gospel singers. Born in New Orleans in 1911, she grew up in the Baptist church but moved to the more musically adventurous Holiness church. Even though it was considered the Devil’s music, she was inspired by recordings of blues singers like Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. Moving to Chicago in 1927, she began singing with her church choir and the Johnson Gospel Singers. In the mid-thirties she began touring and promoting the songs of Thomas A. Dorsey. Jackson recorded first for Decca and then for Apollo including W. Herbert Brewster’s “Move on Up a Little Higher,” which was a best-seller and launched her career.
In 1954 she began her own radio program on CBS and signed with Columbia Records, which pushed her recordings in a “pop” direction. She appeared on television on the Ed Sullivan Show, sang at the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, and the funeral of Martin Luther King (“Precious Lord”). Mahalia Jackson was among the earliest gospel performers to bring this music to a wider public.
Mahalia: a Gospel Musical recently played at the Cleveland Play House.
BOOKS [available in the Fine Arts Department]
Jackson, Mahalia. Movin’ on Up. Hawthorn Books, 1966. [Ref ML420.J17 A3 1966]
Donloe, Darlene. Mahalia Jackson. Melrose Square, 1992. [ML3930.J23 D6 1992]
Schwerin, Jules Victor. Go Tell It: Mahalia Jackson, queen of gospel. Oxford, 1992. [ML420.J17 S4 1992]
Stolz, Tom. Mahalia: a gospel musical. French, 1998. [ML50.Z99 M22 1998]
Boyer, Horace C. How Sweet the Sound: the Golden Age of Gospel. Elliott & Clark, 1995. [ML3187 .B69 1995x]
RECORDINGS [all filed under CHRISTIAN/GOSPEL in the CD Room]
The Lord’s Prayer. Collectables: 8832 (Apollo), 2CD set, c1997.
Gospels, Spirituals & Hymns. Columbia Legacy: C2K 47083, 2CD set, c1991.
Best Loved Spirituals. Sony Music Special Products: 13582, c1993.
The Essential Mahalia Jackson. Columbia Legacy: C2K 89067, 2CD set, 1954-94, c2004.
DVDs [available in the Audio Video Department]
Mahalia Jackson: the Power and the Glory. Xenon, c2002.
The Mahalia Jackson Collection. Passport Video, c2005. [DVD/MUSIC POPULAR]
Mahalia Jackson: Television Appearances 1957-1962. Video Artists International,
c2007. [DVD/MUSIC POPULAR]