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Regardless of what your faith may be or whether you may not even have any particular faith at all, there is no denying that some of the most talented singers and musicians have provided us with exceptional songs throughout the years. If you are a Catholic, a Protestant, a Mormon, or a member of some other religious denomination from anywhere in the English-speaking world, you will like the songs that I will present to you herein from their respective artists. Even if you are an agnostic or an atheist, you will still find these songs soothing to the mind and the soul.
Perhaps you live in another nation where English is not the official language, and you belong to a religious denomination whose songs are nothing like the ones herein. That is no problem. I'm happy that you're here, because it will give me the opportunity to help you discover what religious music is like here in the United States of America and over in the United Kingdom. We all have the benefit of being on a writing platform that allows us to learn about one another's cultures. Even if you are not a writer on this platform, I welcome you to my journey through time to review religious songs that everyone can like.
Now, you may be wondering what my religious denomination is or whether I am religious at all. If you read my articles faithfully, then you already know the answer to that question. If you don't, then it probably won't make any difference. My purpose in presenting the information herein to my audience is to demonstrate that theists and non-theists alike can appreciate Christian music and other forms of religious music.
Herein I will take you back as far as the 1960s to begin our journey of appreciating religious music from that decade, and I will take you right on up to the present in that same journey. Sit back. Relax. Listen. Enjoy.
2. Religious Songs From The 1960s
We now go back to the year 1964 when The Impressions released a song titled "Keep On Pushing." The Impressions were not strictly a religious group, but they did produce a considerable number of faith-based songs throughout their musical career. Listen to their song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Keep On Pushing" From The Impressions
The Impressions released an equally exceptional religious song in 1965 that was titled "People Get Ready." Curtis Mayfield wrote this same song. He would later embark upon a solo career in the 1970s and become one of the most prominent rhythm-and- blues artists of all time. Listen to the above-cited song in the video below and enjoy.
The Song Titled "People Get Ready" by The Impressions
Back in the 1960s, there was another group that was equally popular as The Impressions. That group was Tommy James and The Shondells. After Tommy James had gotten into the religious scene, even he and The Shondells sang mainly secular music. Eventually Tommy James and The Shondells released a faith-based song in 1967 that was titled "Sweet Cherry Wine." You can listen to the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Sweet Cherry Wine" by Tommy James and The Shondells
Tommy James and The Shondells blessed us all with yet another faith-based song of theirs a year later that was titled "Crystal Blue Persuasion." That same song recognized that many of the flower children and the hippies in the counterculture movement had found God. You may hear the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Crystal Blue Persuasion" by Tommy James and The Shondells
Some of you who are from Generation X or the Millennial Generation may recall hearing the above song in episodes of The Wonder Years. As a matter of fact, this song was played in the very first episode of The Wonder Years shortly before Kevin Arnold was getting ready to start junior high school on that show.
It was not easy for me to find a copy of the original recording of this song on the Internet as it sounded back in 1968. Don't you just hate that extra horn they put in the remake of it? Valuable classics like this one need to be left alone to sound as they did when they were first released. There is no substitute for the original song above.
The year 1969 brought us a number of religious songs on the pop music scene. Among them was a gospel song titled "Oh Happy Day" by The Edwin Hawkins Singers. You may hear the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Oh Happy Day" by The Edwin Hawkins Singers
Every time I hear the song above, it puts me in a good mood. I've known of people to be heavily into church music insofar as they have a sophisticated sound system in their home to listen to it. If I ever were in any of their residences, I would urge them to play the above song. It's inspirational in its lyrics and its melodies. The Edwin Hawkins Singers are a true gospel group whose talent resonates with people of all different musical tastes.
Did you know that the late Glen Campbell did a remake of the above same song? He was a country singer, but he did not limit his musical interests to only one musical genre.
The next artist you're going to hear is a legend and a talented genius. His name is Neil Diamond. He released more than one religious song in 1969. One of them was "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show." Listen to the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Brother Love's Travelling Salvation Show" by Neil Diamond
In his next song from 1969, Neil Diamond sings like a preacher man insofar as you can feel the inspiration of his music throughout your soul. It is titled "Holly Holy." You can hear it in the video below.
The Song Titled "Holly Holy" by Neil Diamond
3. Religious Songs From The 1970s
Hold on tight. Now we're going to explore religious songs from the 1970s. If you are a fan of the late Whitney Houston or Dionne Warwick or both, you're definitely going to be interested in hearing this next group. They are The Sweet Inspirations. The late Whitney Houston's mother, Cissy Houston, and Dionne Warwick's mother, Lee Warwick, founded this group. Cissy Houston was one of the vocals in this group. The Sweet Inspirations are a gospel group that sing mainly religious music.
If you are a fan of The Fifth Dimension, you likely are familiar with this next song. It is titled "Light Sings." The Sweet Inspirations also covered this song in 1970. You can listen to their version of this song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Light Sings" by The Sweet Inspirations
Which version of this song do you like better? The one from The Fifth Dimension or The Sweet Inspirations? Both versions sound so good. How can anyone choose which one they think is better?
You may or may not have heard of the musical production titled Jesus Christ Superstar, which was later made into a movie. An album was released in 1970 containing the soundtrack from that same musical production. Yvonne Elliman sang the song titled "I Don't Know How To Love Him." Well, the late Helen Reddy took this same religious song and made it into a pop song that same year. You may hear her version of that same song in the video below.
The Song Titled "I Don't Know How To Love Him" by The Late Helen Reddy
In the song above, the late Helen Reddy is supposed to be singing about Jesus Christ. She was a wealth of talent. Even though she is no longer with us, she will live on in the hearts of many of us. Her music will always be cherished.
The next song sparked controversy throughout religious communities. It is "My Sweet Lord" by the late George Harrison, formerly of The Beatles. Nevertheless, it is still considered a religious song inasmuch as its lyrics offer praise to the Lord. You may hear it in the video below.
The Song Titled "My Sweet Lord" by The Late George Harrison
Even though the late George Harrison may not be with us anymore, his voice remains immortal in the Rock-And-Roll Hall of Fame and throughout the entire music entertainment industry. There will never be another like him. His music was in demand on both sides of The Atlantic Ocean for decades and remains so to this very day.
Now we come to an artist whose ethnic background is Swedish and Greek. His name is Cat Stevens, and in 1971, he released a song titled "Morning Has Broken" that was crafted after a religious hymn with that same title. You may listen to this song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Morning Has Broken" by Cat Stevens
Up until recently I had never known that this same song above was a religious one. I love all of Cat Stevens' songs. His singing is phenomenal.
Led Zeppellin also released a religious song in 1971. It is titled "Stairway To Heaven." This song has ignited controversy in the past over its lyrics. That is, some Christian fundamentalists have questioned the meaning of them. In any event, I find this song to be sincere about the message it is trying to convey. Listen to it in the video below.
The Song Titled "Stairway to Heaven" by Led Zeppellin
The feeling I get from the song above is that it is conveying to its audience that nobody can buy their way into heaven. They must earn their way into heaven based upon their deeds in life.
Also in 1971, Robin Lamont and Godspell Ensemble released a song titled "Day by Day" on an album of theirs from the religious musical Godspell. This song was re-released as a single in 1972, and it made a major splash on the music charts that same year. You can hear this song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Day By Day" by Robin Lamont and Godspell Ensemble
If you have a chance to see the movie titled Godspell, you will find that this is a song in which a woman (Robin Lamont) sings to Jesus Christ. The actor who played Jesus Christ looked nothing like him. Nonetheless, his performance as him was quite convincing.
Most of us know who Bob Dylan is. In 1973, he released a song titled "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." I have never considered Bob Dylan to be a strong theist, although he did eventually convert to Evangelical Christianity in the late 1970s. In any event, this one song of his undoubtedly injects religion into its lyrics. Listen to it in the video below.
The Song Titled "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan
Would you believe that this song above was also written for the soundtrack of the 1973 film titled Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid? If you like Westerns, this song is also definitely for you. The first time that I ever heard this song, I had thought it was anti-Vietnam-War protest song inasmuch as Bob Dylan sings about burying guns in the ground. Interestingly enough, it was released the same year that President Richard Nixon began withdrawing American troops from Vietnam.
Now, prepare yourself to listen to another talented gospel singer and his choir. His name is Walter Hawkins. He released a song in 1975 titled "Goin' Up Yonder." This song is a gem. Listen to it in the video below.
The Song Titled "Goin' Up Yonder" by Walter Hawkins
Now, that is real church music. That song always sooths the heart. You don't hear music like that on the radio anymore. I actually came across this song on a remote radio station while I was driving home about 10 years ago. I haven't stopped listening to it ever since then.
If you are one of my older readers, you likely remember the group Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons all the way back to the early 1960s. In 1975, they released the religious song titled "Swearin' to God." You can listen to the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Swearin' to God" by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons
I remember seeing Frankie Valli perform at a Fourth-of-July event in Washington, D.C. on television not too long ago. In the music entertainment industry, he is indeed the King of Amen.
The next singer is the daughter of pop music legend Pat Boone. Her name is Debby Boone, and she released a song titled "You Light Up My Life" in 1977, whose lyrics she had dedicated to the Holy Divinity himself. You can hear the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "You Light Up My Life" by Debby Boone
This song above did well on both the Billboard Charts and the County Music Charts. It was used in a movie that was also titled You Light Up My Life that starred Didi Conn and Joe Silver. Didi Conn lip synced this same song in that movie. The song itself has an interesting history to it that ties into the lives of various different entertainers.
4. Religious Songs From The 1980s
The late Michael Jackson was a part of the childhoods of most of us. Fate took him away from us way too soon. In 1987, he released a song titled "Man in the Mirror." It was clear to everyone that he was referring to God in the title of his song. You can listen to his song in the video below.
The Song Titled "The Man in the Mirror" by Michael Jackson
Perhaps Michael Jackson was not a religious type of artist. Nevertheless, he always took pride in everything he sang. He most certainly will be missed.
You may have heard of the brother-and-sister duo named BeBe and CeCe Winans. They focus their music specifically on faith-based topics. In 1988, they released a song titled "Lost Without You." You may listen to that same song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Lost Without You" by BeBe and CeCe Winans
The above song like many of BeBe and CeCe Winans' songs appeared to be about a significant other when they were actually singing about the man upstairs. Therefore, their songs equally attracted both religious audiences and secular audiences. In 1988, they also released a song titled "Heaven." Now that is definitely an excellent title for a religious song. You can hear that same song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Heaven" by BeBe and CeCe Winans
Every song they released had a catchy beat to it. They knew exactly what music lovers wanted, even ones that didn't go to church.
5. Religious Songs From the 1990s and the 21st Century
You probably don't think of Bette Midler as a faith-based singer. However, in 1990, she released a song titled "From a Distance" wherein she spoke of God. Therefore, I believe that this song qualifies to be a religious one. Here is her song in the video below.
The Song Titled "From a Distance" by Bette Midler
There has been some debate over how Bette Midler invokes God's name in this same song. Nevertheless, she delivers a flawless performance with this song.
BeBe and CeCe Winans released a religious song in 1991 that was titled "Addictive Love." Its popularity spread all over the United States of America like a wildfire. Here is their song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Addictive Love" by BeBe and CeCe Winans
BeBe and CeCe Winans really put emotion into this same song. You don't even have to be a born-again Christian or any kind of Christian to like their music. It rocks!
In 1995, Mariah Carey teamed up with Boyz 2 Men to record the song titled "One Fine Day." In that song, they describe friends that they have lost to death and whom they believe are now in heaven. Here is their song in the video below.
The Song Titled "One Sweet Day" by Mariah Carey and Boyz 2 Men
The lyrics of the above song always have a moving effect on me. You cannot help but to think about loved ones who are no longer with you. For that reason, I always tell people to value the time that they have on this planet with the people they love, because they never know how long they will be with them.
The next song is from 1998. A contemporary Christian and Latin pop singer and songwriter named Jaci Velasquez released this same song that same year. It is titled "God So Loved." Here is her song in the video below.
The Song Titled "God So Loved" by Jaci Velasquez
You know something? Jaci Velasquez sounds so sincere in every lyric that she sings in the above song. If anyone could be a character witness for the man upstairs in an effort to convince others of his existence, she could be so. She puts her all into her music.
Okay, ladies and gentlemen. Now we arrive to the 21st century. The one song from our current century that sticks out in my mind as being religious and exceptional at the same time is "Long Black Train" by country singer Josh Turner. It is from the year 2003. You can hear the song in the video below.
The Song Titled "Long Black Train" by Josh Turner
In making this song and releasing it, Josh Turner confronted two major challenges. Not only did he get non-believers interested in this song but also people who were not fans of country music. He handles the lyrics of this song beautifully.
6. Final Thoughts
I won't even ask any of you if you enjoyed the music herein. I know that you did. What you choose to believe in is up to you. However, even if you are a non-believer, you still probably liked at least one song herein. Some of you out there who are agnostics and atheists may have decided to convert to Christianity after listening to the music herein. I've witnessed stranger things.
Perhaps there may be some religious songs that I did not include herein that you really like. If so, feel free to communicate with me, because I'd be interested in knowing what those songs are. I selected the religious songs for this article here of mine that I knew were popular among music lovers. In any event, if you enjoyed all the songs that I have embedded herein, then I succeeded in entertaining you and I'm glad that you joined me in listening to these religious songs. Music is food for the soul.
A Poll For Anyone Who Likes Music
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Jason B Truth