Did you know George Harrison wrote “My Sweet Lord” but that Billy Preston recorded it first in 1970?
Neither did I until I read Matthew Bolin’s fine piece, “The 10 Best Cover Songs (You Didn’t Know Were Covers)” over at Popdose earlier tonight.
Not to get all preachy on you, but as I listened, it seemed an appropriate selection for this weekend. It has a nice gospel vibe.
I’m far from knowledgeable about gospel music, and I’m not particularly reverent, but I do enjoy exploring the funk and soul aspects of gospel music.
However, the progressive but predominately white mainstream church we attend rarely explores gospel music, and when it does, it rolls out the same few songs on the same few occasions. Apparently we can dig gospel music only when Martin Luther King Jr. Day draws near. But that is another issue for another day.
Perhaps some day we’ll hear this. It’s been one of my favorites for years. It still delivers chills.
“Oh Happy Day,” the Edwin Hawkins Singers, from “Let Us Go Into The House Of The Lord,” 1968. The LP is out of print, but the song is available digitally. This was recorded live in 1967 at Ephesian Church of God in Christ in Berkeley, California.
Dorothy Combs Morrison is the lead singer. She was in her early 20s at the time. The rest of the Edwin Hawkins Singers also were young, ranging from their late teens to mid-20s.
The LP originally was to be released only locally, but it got a worldwide release after “Oh Happy Day” became a smash on San Francisco radio in 1969.
Did you know “Oh Happy Day” is a reworking of an English hymn that dates to the 18th century? Neither did I. Here’s another version.
“Oh Happy Day,” Aretha Franklin with Mavis Staples, from “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” 1987. This LP also is out of print, but the song is available digitally. This was recorded live at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit in late July 1987.
(Curiously, my copy of this song is from “Joy To The World,” a 2006 CD that was marketed as a Christmas release. However, only half of its 10 cuts are Christmas songs. Go figure.)