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By Bill Bronk

I enjoy all kinds of music. If a song has a lyric or melody hook that I can hum or sing along with, or whistle, clap my hands or tap my toes to, so much the better. For me, the proverbial icing on the cake is when a song strikes a chord with a message I can relate to. I’m sure that’s the same for most people.

Growing up in the 1940s and 1950s, I was always attuned to what was playing on the radio. From time to time, I remembered hearing popular songs of the day that were uplifting, inspirational, and sometimes religious in nature. It was that experience that led me to wonder how many such songs were popular enough to reach the various Billboard charts. So recently, curiosity (or was it divine inspiration?) got the best of me, and I found myself seeking the answer.

Most of us go through our lives appreciating one or more types of popular music, whether it be Pop/Rock, R&B, Folk or Country/Bluegrass. Within each of these genres there are unique off-shoots where their songs speak to us as human beings and to our faith and belief in a Devine Presence (Traditional or Black Gospel, Country Gospel, Bluegrass Gospel, Southern Gospel, Spirituals, Christian Rock, Jesus Rock, Christian Pop, Inspirational Pop, to name a few).

This article is about music that is a joy to listen to, can put a smile on your face, and may even put you in a prayerful mood. But it’s not about evangelizing. The popular songs compiled below speak for themselves. Whether expressed directly or indirectly, belief and its positive effects on our lives is the reason for the popularity of these songs...which, in addition to other biblical figures, often mention Jesus, God, He, Him, the Lord and Christ among other of His names (Christmas songs and songs asking Jesus or God for help with a romantic relationship are not included).

A note on methodology: Before the advent of streaming, compact discs (CDs), cassettes, and long play albums (LPs), there was the ubiquitous single record: 78 rpm (which succeeded the cylinder and was popular from about 1925-1950) or 45 rpm (popular from about 1950 to its peak in the mid-1970s). During that time, the single record was a key element in creating the Billboard charts. Billboard Magazine, according to Wikipedia, “began publishing its first music charts for ‘commercially available singles (Music Hit Parade)’ in 1936” and the first ‘Music Popularity Chart’ in 1940”.

With the 45 rpm single no longer the preferred format and other considerations such as Billboard’s creation of the US Christian chart in the early 1980’s, this article focuses on songs about faith, inspiration and hope which appeared on the Pop (US), R&B and Country charts through the singles’ heyday up through 1989. (Billboard now names their Christian music charts Hot Christian Songs and Hot Gospel Songs).

Sources used in this article are Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories (1890-1954), Top Pop Singles (1940-1955), Top Country Singles (1944-2001),The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (1955 to the present) and The Billboard Book of Top 40 R&B and Hip-Hop Hits (1942 to 2004). Additional sources include the Reader’s Digest Family Songbook of Faith and Joy, Climb Every Mountain – The Inspirational Songbook (Chappell Music Company), Wikipedia, various and sundry online lists of popular Gospel and inspirational songs and my music collection.

Like any good song, the following 299 songs which entered the various Billboard charts tell their story well. Each is a gem. Many are powerful...and as expected with songs having an inspirational theme, you can find comfort in songs that overflow with spirit, joy, encouragement, love, reverence, thankfulness, and some well-placed humor.

As you review the list, you’ll see songs which entered the charts 2, 3 or 4 times...while others reached even greater numbers such as “Crying in the Chapel” (8), “The Old Master Painter” (6), “Suddenly There’s a Valley” (5), “You’ll Never Walk Alone” (5) and “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” (5).

Indicating their mainstream popularity, it’s worth noting that of the 299 song entries, 227 were in the Top 40 and 104 were in the Top 10. In their respective categories, 22 songs reached No.1. It will come as no surprise that most of these songs were performed by well-known entertainers during the time when their popularity was a wide and creative number of ways: Gospel, Hymns, Pop, Jazz, Country, songs from Stage and Screen, Folk, Soul, Instrumentals, Rock and Roll, Rhythm and Blues, Patriotic, and Bluegrass.

Below the Billboard listings, you’ll find 78 entries for songs which charted prior to 1940. Hymns, patriotic songs and spirituals were prevalent...but “pop” songs were beginning to make their presence known, such as “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere”, “Whispering Hope”, “There’s a Goldmine in the Sky”, “Sing You Sinners” and “The Last Roundup”.

Most of the songs on these lists can be heard on If the spirit moves you, let it take you to a place where faith, inspiration and hope all sweet harmony.

So Be It...and Amen!


Billboard Charts from 1940-1990


God bless america

1940: “God Bless America”, No.5 US, Kate Smith, Victor 26198

1942: “God Bless America”, No.23 US, Kate Smith, Victor 26198

1942: “Shout, Sister, Shout”, No.21 US, Lucky Millinder and His Orchestra w/Sister Rosetta Tharpe,

Decca 13886

1942: “Where the Mountains Meet the Sky”, No.20 US, Sammy Kaye and his orchestra, Victor 27944

1943: “Get On Board Little Chillun”, No.17 R&B, Ella Mae Morse with the Freddie Slack Orchestra,

Capitol 133

1944: “The Prodigal Son”, No.4 Country and No.13 Pop, Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys, Okeh


1945: “Just a Prayer Away”, No.4 US, Bing Crosby, Decca 23392

1945: “Just a Prayer Away”, No.10, Sammy Kaye and his orchestra, Victor 20-1642

1945: “Strange Things Happening Everyday”, No.2 R&B, Sister Rosetta Tharp, Marie Knight and Sam

Price Trio, Decca 8669

1945: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, No.9 US, Frank Sinatra, Columbia 36825

1946: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, No.21 US, Judy Garland, Decca 23539

1947: “I Believe”, No.5 US, Frank Sinatra, Columbia 37300

1947: “Move On Up A Little Higher”, No.2 R&B and No.21 US, Mahalia Jackson, Apollo 164

1948: “Bluebird of Happiness”, No.5 US, Art Mooney, MGM 10207

1948: “Bluebird of Happiness”, No.16 US, Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae, Capitol 15207

1948: “Bluebird of Happiness”, No.23 US, Jan Peerce, RCA Victor 9007

1948: “Deck of Cards”, No.2 Country and No.21 US, T. Texas Tyler, King 5249

1948: “Deck of Cards”, No.10 Country, Tex Ritter, Capitol Amer. 40114

1948: “Deck of Cards”, No.20 US, Phil Harris, RCA Victor 2821

1948: “Little Community Church”, No.11 Country, Bill Monroe, Columbia 20488

1948: “Milky White Way”, No.8 R&B, the Trumpeteers, Score 5001

1948: “Precious Memories”, No.13 R&B, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Marie Knight and Sam Price Trio, Decca


1948: “Up Above My Head, There’s Music in the Air”, No.6 R&B, Sister Rosetta Tharp, Marie Knight and

Sam Price Trio, Decca 9-48090

1949: “Ave Maria”, No.22 US, Perry Como, RCA 52-0071

1949: “Gospel Train”, No.9 R&B, Marie Knight, Decca 48092

1949: “The Lord’s Prayer”, No.28 US, Perry Como, RCA 52-0071

1949: “The Old Master Painter”, No.2 US, Richard Hays, Mercury 5342

1949: “The Old Master Painter”, No.4 US, Dick Haymes, Decca 24801

1949: “The Old Master Painter”, No.13 US, Frank Sinatra, Columbia 38650

1949: “The Old Master Painter”, No.14 US, Phil Harris, RCA 47-3114

1949: “The Old Master Painter”, No.22 US, Snooky Lanson, London 553

1949: “Touch My Hand Lord Jesus”, No.13 R&B, Angelic Gospel Singers, Gotham G-605

1949: “Trees”, No.2 R&B, Al Hibbler, Miracle M-501

1949: “Whispering Hope”, No.4 US, Jo Stafford & Gordon MacRae, Capitol F690



1950: “Beyond the Sunset”, No.7 Country, the Three Suns/Rosalie Allen/Elton Britt, RCA 20-3599

1950: “God’s Country”, No.25 US, Frank Sinatra, Columbia 38708

1950: “God’s Country”, No.27 US, Vic Damone, Mercury 5374

1950: “It Is No Secret”, No.8 Country and No. 78 US, Stewart Hamblen, Columbia 4-20724

1950: “Joshua”, No.17 US, Ralph Flanagan and His Orchestra, RCA Victor 3724

1950: “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”, No.9 Country, Red Foley, Decca 9-14505

1950: “Let’s Go to Church”, No.2 Country and No.13 Pop, Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely, Capitol


1950: “The Old Master Painter”, No.9 US, Peggy Lee & Mel Torme, Capitol CL 13241

1950: “Our Father (Who Art in Heaven), No.10 R&B, the Original Five Blind Boys, Peacock 5-1550

1950: “Our Lady of Fatima”, No.8 Country and No.16 US, Red Foley, Decca 9-14526

1950: “Our Lady of Fatima”, No.10 US, Richard Hays with Kitty Kallen, Mercury 5466

1950: “Our Lady of Fatima”, No.23 US, Phil Spitalny, RCA 20-3920

1950: “The Place Where I Worship (Is the Wide Open Spaces), No.29 US, Al Morgan, London 784

1950: “Steal Away”, No.9 Country, Red Foley, Decca 9-14505

1951: “It Is No Secret”, No.15 US, Jo Stafford, Columbia 6-939

1951: “It Is No Secret”, No.18 Pop, Bill Kenny (w/the Song Spinners)”, Decca 9-27326

1951: “It’s No Secret”, No.8 Country, Stuart Hamblen, Columbia 4-20714

1951: “May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You”, No.8 Country, Red Foley, RCA 48-0425

1951: “Peace in the Valley”, No.5 Country, Red Foley, Decca 9-14573

1951: “When the Saints Go Marching In”, No.27 US, the Weavers, Decca 27670

1951: “When the Saints Go Marching In”, No.29, Percy Faith and His Orchestra, Columbia 39528

1951: “Wondrous Word (of the Lord), No.30 US, Ken Carson, Silvertone 770

1952: “Heavenly Father”, No.4 R&B, Edna McGriff with Buddy Lucas, Jubilee 5073

1952: “The Mockingbird”, No.23 US, the Four Lads, Okeh 6885

1952: “One Little Candle”, No.18 US, Perry Como, RCA 47-4707

1952: “The Three Bells (“Les Trois Cloches”), No.14 US, Les Compagnons dela Chanson, Columbia


1953: “Crying In the Chapel”, No. 1 R&B and No.11 US, the Orioles, Jubilee 5122

1953: “Crying In the Chapel”, No.4 US, June Valli, RCA 47-5368

1953: “Crying in the Chapel”, No 4 Country and No.6 US, Darrell Glenn, Valley V-11

1953: “Crying in the Chapel”, No. 4 Country and No.8 Pop, Rex Allen, Decca 9-28758

1953: “Crying In the Chapel”, No.15 US, Ella Fitzgerald, Decca 9-28762

1953: “Crying in the Chapel”, No.23 US, Art Lund, Coral 61018

1953: “Don’cha Hear Them Bells”, No.13 US, Les Paul and Mary Ford, Capitol 2614

1953: “Father, Father”, No.21 US, Patti Page, Mercury 70222

1953: “God Bless Us All”, No.18 US, Brucie Weil w/ Don Costa and His Orchestra, Barbour 451

1953: “I Believe”, No.2 US, Frankie Laine, Columbia 39938

1953: “I Believe”, No.11 US, Jane Froman, Capitol F2332

1953: “I’m Gonna Walk and Talk with My Lord”, No.24 US, Johnny Ray, Columbia 4-39908

1953: “Robe of Calvary”, No.28 US, Jane Froman, Capitol F2639

1954: “Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord - Do Lord”, No.27 US, Russell/Haines/David/Murray/Russell,

Coral 61113

1954: “The Man Upstairs”, No.7 US, Kay Starr, Capitol F2769

1954: “Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine In”, No.5 US, Cowboy Church Sunday School,

Decca 9-29167

1954: “Rain, Rain, Rain”, No.21 US, Frankie Laine and the Four Lads, Columbia 4-40295

1954: “Robe of Calvary”, No.22 US, Jill Corey, Columbia 40123

1954: “This Ole House”, No.1 US, Rosemary Clooney, Columbia 4-40266

1954: “This Ole House”, No.2 Country and No.26 US, Stuart Hamblen, RCA 47-5739

1954: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, No.1 R&B and No.21 US, Roy Hamilton, Epic 9015

1955: “Angels in the Sky”, No.13 US, the Crew Cuts, 70741

1955: “The Bible Tells Me So”, No.7 US, Don Cornell, Coral 61467

1955: “The Bible Tells Me So”, No.61 US, Nick Noble, Wing 90003

1955: “He”, No.7 US and No.13 R&B, Al Hibbler, Decca 29660

1955: “He”, No.12 US, the McGuire Sisters, Coral 61501

1955: “His Hands”, No.13 Country, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Capitol F3135

1955: “Suddenly There’s a Valley”, No.14 US, Gogi Grant, Era 1003

1955: “Suddenly There’s a Valley, No.16 US, Jo Stafford, Columbia 40559

1955: “Suddenly There’s a Valley”, No.29 Top 100, Julius LaRosa, Cadence 1270

1955: “Suddenly There’s a Valley, No.45 US, The Mills Brothers, Decca 9-29686

1955: “Suddenly There’s A Valley”, No.69 US, Patti Andrews, Capitol F3228

1955: “Wait a Little Longer Please, Jesus, No.2 Country, Carl Smith, Columbia 21368

1956: “Give Us This Day”, No.30, Joni James, MGM 12288

1956: “The Good Book”, No.89 US, Kay Starr, RCA 47-6611

1956: “The Mockingbird”, No.67 US, the Four Lads, Okeh 6885

1956: “Sinner Man”, No.82 US, Les Baxter and his Orchestra, Capitol F3404

1956: “Somebody Up There Likes Me”, No.26 US, Perry Como, RCA 47-6590

1956: “These Hands”, No.5 Country, Hank Snow RCA 47-6379

1957: “Peace in the Valley”, No.39 Top 100, Elvis Presley, RCA EPA 4054

1957: “There’s a Goldmine in the Sky”, No.14 US, Pat Boone, Dot 15602

1958: “A Wonderful Time Up There (Gospel Boogie)”, No.10 US, Pat Boone, Dot 15690
1958: “He’s Got the Whole World (In His Hands)”, No.2 US, Laurie London, Capitol 3891

1958: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”, No.69 US, Mahalia Jackson, Columbia 4-41150

1958: “Have Faith”, No.11 R&B, Gene Allison, Vee-Jay VJ 273

1958: “The Mockingbird”, No.32 US, the Four Lads, Columbia 4-41266

1958: “Save My Soul”, No.73 US, Jack Scott, Carlton 493

1959: “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, No.13 US, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Columbia 41459

1959: “Beyond the Sunset”, No.71 US, Pat Boone, Dot 16006

1959: “Chapel of Dreams”, No.74 US, the Dubs, Gone 5069

1959: “Climb Every Mountain”, No.74 US, Tony Bennett, Columbia 4-41520

1959: “Beyond the Sunset”, No. 71 US, Pat Boone, Dot 16006

1959: “Deck of Cards”, No.7 US, Wink Martindale, Dot 15968

1959: “God Bless America”, No.36 US, Connie Francis, MGM 12841

1959: “Steal Away”, No.9 Country, Red Foley, Decca 9-14505

1959: “There’s a Big Wheel”, No.3 Country, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Hickory 1107

1959: “The Three Bells”, No.1 US, No.1 Country and No. 10 R&B, the Browns, RCA 47-7555

1959: “The Three Bells”, No.23 Country, Dick Flood, Monument 408

1959: “Village of St. Bernadette”, No.7 US, Andy Williams, Cadence 1374

1959: “When the Saints Go Marching In”, No.50 US, Fats Domino, Imperial X5569



1960: “Child of God”, No.95 US, Bobby Darin, Atco 6183

1960: “Exodus”, No.2 US and No.6 R&B, Ferrante & Teicher, United Artists 274

1960: “Family Bible”, No.10 Country, Claude Gray, D111

1960: “Family Bible”, No.10 Country, George Jones, Mercury 71721

1960: “I Know What God Is”, No.81 US, Perry Como, RCA 47-7670

1960: “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”, No.44 US, Jimmie Rodgers, Roulette R-4234

1960: “Tall Oak Tree”, No.23 US, Dorsey Burnette, Era 3012

1960: “This Ole House”, No.16 Country, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Hickory 1126

1960: “Wings of a Dove”, No. 1 Country and No. 12 US, Ferlin Husky, Capitol 4406

1961: “Chrystal Blue Persuasion”, No.2 US, Tommy James & the Shondells, Roulette 7050

1961: “Exodus”, No.16 R&B and No.36 US, Eddie Harris, VeeJay 378

1961: “The Exodus Song”, No.64 US, Pat Boone, Dot 16176

1961: “Main Theme from Exodus”, No.31 US, Mantovani, London 1953

1961: “Michael”, No.1 US, the Highwaymen, United Artists 258

1961: “Saved”, No.17 R&B and No.37 US, LaVern Baker, Atlantic 2099

1962: “The Lost Penny”, No.77 US, Brook Benton, Mercury 71912

1962: “Shadrack”, No.19 US, Brook Benton, Mercury 71912

1963: “Dominique”, No.1 AC, The Singing Nun (Janine Deckers), Phillips 40152

1963: “Michael”, No.100 Hot 100, Steve Alaimo, Checker 1054

1963: “This Ole House”, No. 128 US, Jimmy Dean, Columbia 4-42738

1964: “All My Trials”, No. 89 US, Dick and DeeDee, Warner Brothers 5411

1964: “Amen”, No.1 R&B and No.7 US, the Impressions, ABC-Para 10602

1964: “Amen”, No.124 R&B, Lloyd Price and Erma Franklin, Monument 265

1964: “I Believe”, No.33 Hot 100, the Bachelors, London 9672

1964: “Michael”, No.42 US, Trini Lopez, Reprise 0300

1964: “Tell It on the Mountain”, No.33 US, Peter, Paul & Mary, Warner Brothers 548

1964: “Up Above My Head (There’s Music in the Air)”, No.12 AC and No.85 US, Al Hirt, RCA 47-8429

1964: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, No. 32 R&B and No.34 US, Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles, Parkway


1965: “A Change Is Gonna Come”, No.9 R&B and No.31 US, Sam Cooke, RCA 47-8486

1965: “Crying In the Chapel”, No.1 AC and No.3 US, Elvis Presley, RCA 47-0463

1965: “Crying in the Chapel”, No.88 US, Adam Wade, Epic 5-9752

1965: “Meeting over Yonder”, No.12 R&B, the Impressions, ABC-Paramount 10670

1965: “People Get Ready”, No.14 R&B and No.14 US, the Impressions, ABC-Paramount 10622

1965: “Sinner Man”, No.54 US, Trini Lopez, Reprise 0405

1965: “Turn, Turn, Turn”, No.1 US, the Byrds, Columbia 43424

1965: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, No.48 US, Gerry & the Pacemakers, Laurie LR-3261

1966: “He”, No.18 US, the Righteous Brothers, Verve VK 10406

1966: “Wade In the Water, No.19 Hot 100, Ramsey Lewis Trio, Cadet 5541

1967: “Get Together”, No.62, the Youngbloods, RCA 47-9264

1967: “I Can’t Get There From Here”, No.5 Country, George Jones, Musicor 1243

1967: “A Voice in the Choir”, No.5 AC and No.80 US, Al Martino, Capitol 2053

1967: “Wade in the Water”, No.5 AC and No. 37 Hot 100, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, A&M 840

1967: “The Watchman”, No.32 Country, Claude King, Columbia 44035

1967: “The Working Man’s Prayer”, No.59 Country, Tex Ritter, Capitol 5966

1968: “Amen”, No.15 R&B and No.36 Hot 100, Otis Redding, ATCO 6592

1968: “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, No.11 AC and No.33 US, Andy Williams, Columbia 44650

1968: “Daddy Sang Bass”, No.1 Country and No.42 Hot 100, Johnny Cash, Columbia 4-44689

1968: “We Call on Him”, No.106 US, Elvis Presley, RCA 47-9600

1968: “A Working Man’s Prayer”, No.79 US, Arthur Prysock, Verve VK-10574

1968: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, No.90, Elvis Presley, RCA PB-13058

1969: “Brother Love’s Traveling Salvation Show”, No.22 US, Neil Diamond, UNI 55136

1969: “Dammit Isn’t God’s Last Name”, No.86 US, Frankie Laine, ABC 11224

1969: “Day Is Done”, No.21 US, Peter, Paul & Mary, Warner Brothers 7219

1969: “Jesus Is a Soul Man”, No.28 US, Lawrence Reynolds, Warner 7322

1969: “Jesus Is a Soul Man”, No.66 Country, Billy Grammer, Stop 321

1969: “Oh Happy Day”, No. 2 R&B and No.4 US, Edwin Hawkins Singers, Pavilion 20001

1969: “Turn, Turn, Turn”, No.28 AC and No.69 US, Judy Collins, Elektra EKS-45680

1969: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, No.51 US, The Brooklyn Bridge, Buddah 139



1970: “Amazing Grace”, No.15 US and No.5 AC, Judy Collins, Elektra EKS-45709

1970: “Are You Ready”, No.14 US, Pacific Gas & Electric, Columbia 45158

1970: “Bridge over Troubled Water”, No.1 Hot 100, Simon & Garfunkel, Columbia 4-45079

1970: “Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man”, No.7 Country, Porter Wagoner/Dolly Parton, RCA 9875

1970: “Everything Is Beautiful”, No. 1 Hot 100, No.1 AC and No.39 Country Ray Stevens, Barnaby 2011

1970: “Gimme Shelter”, No.73 US, Merry Clayton, ODE 66003

1970: “God Bless”, No.33 R&B, Arthur Conley, ATCO 6747

1970: “Heaven Help Us All”, No.2 R&B and No.9 US, Stevie Wonder, Tamla T 54200

1970: “If God Is Dead, Who’s That Living in My Soul”, No.59 Country, Nat Stuckey and Connie Smith,

RCA Victor 9805

1970: “Jerusalem”, No.6 AC and No.74 US, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, A&M 12255

1970: “Jesus Take a Hold”, No.3 Country and No.107 US, Merle Haggard, Capitol 2838

1970: “My Sweet Lord/Isn’t It a Pity”, No.1 US, George Harrison, Apple 2995

1970: “My Sweet Lord, No. 23 R&B and No.90 Hot 100, Billy Preston, Apple 1826

1970: “Oh Happy Day”, No.40 US, Glen Campbell, Capitol 2787

1970: “Rise and Shine”, No.9 Country, Tommy Cash, Epic 10590

1970: “Spirit in the Sky”, No.3 US, Norman Greenbaum, Reprise 0885

1970: “You Can’t Be a Beacon (If Your Light Don’t Shine)”, No.1 Country and No.57 US, Donna Fargo, Dot


1970: “We Need a Lot More of Jesus”, No.69 Country, Skeeter Davis, RCA 9871

1971: “All My Trials”, No.6 AC and No.70 US, Ray Stevens, Barnaby Z57-2039

1971: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, No.1 R&B and No.6 Pop, Aretha Franklin, Atlantic 45-2796

1971: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, No.9 Country and No.119 Pop, Buck Owens, Capitol 3023

1971: “Comin’ Forth to Carry Me Home”, No.23 Country, Dolly Parton RCA-9971

1971: “Did You Think to Pray”, No.70 Country, Charlie Pride, RCA 9974

1971: “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, No.12 AC and No.13 US, Helen Reddy Capitol 3027

1971: “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”, No.28 US, Yvonne Elliman, Decca 32875

1971: “Grey Stone Chapel”, No.63 Country, Glen Sherley, Mega 615-0027

1971: “Hallelujah”, No.33 US, Sweathogs, Columbia 4-45492

1971: “I Saw the Light”, No.56 Top Country, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band (w/Roy Acuff), United Artists 50849

1971: “Mighty Clouds of Joy”, No.34 US, B J Thomas, Scepter 12320

1971: “Put Your Hand in the Hand”, No.2 US, Ocean, Kama Sutra 519

1971: “Put Your Hand in the Hand”, No.61 Country, Beth Moore, Capitol 3013

1971: “Speak to the Sky”, No.14 US and No.16 AC, Rick Springfield, Capitol 3340

1971: “Put Your Hand in the Hand”, No.67 Country, Anne Murray, Capitol 3082

1971: “Superstar (Jesus Christ Superstar)”, No.14 US, Murray Head, Decca 32603

1971: “Turn Your Radio On”, No.2 AC, No.17 Country and No.63 US, Ray Stevens, Barnaby Z57-2048

1971: “The Wonders You Perform”, No.5 Country and No.104 Pop, Tammy Wynette, Epic 10687

1972: “All His Children”, No. 2 Country and No. 92 Pop, Charley Pride w/Henry Mancini, RCA 74-0264

1972: “Amazing Grace”, No. 11 US, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, RCA 47-0709

1972: “Day By Day”, No.13 US, Cast of Godspell, Bell 45210

1972: “I Wonder How John Felt (When He Baptized Jesus), No.41 Country, David Houston, Epic 10911

1972: “I’ll Take You There”, No.1 R&B and No.1 US, The Staple Singers, Stax STA-0125

1972: “Let’s All Go Down to the River”, No.13 Country, Jody Miller and Johnny Paycheck, Epic 10863

1972: “Me and Jesus”, No.8 Country and No.98 Pop, Tom T. Hall, Mercury 73278

1972: “Morning Has Broken”, No.1 AC and No.6 US, Cat Stevens, A&M 1335

1972: “Jubilation”, No.65 US, Paul Anka, Buddah 294X

1972: “Wholy Holy”, No.49 R&B and No.81 US, Aretha Franklin, Atlantic 2901

1973: “Hallelujah Day”, No.10 R&B, the Jackson Five, Motown M1224F

1973: “Higher Ground”, No.1 R&B and No.4 US, Stevie Wonder, Tamla 54235

1973: “I Knew Jesus (Before He Was a Superstar)”, No.48 Country, No.45 US and No.26 AC, Glen

Campbell, Capitol 3548

1973: “If you’re Ready, Come Go With Me”, No.1 R&B, The Staple Singers, Stax STA-0179

1973: “Jesus Is Just Alright”, No.35 US, Doobie Brothers, Warner 7661

1973: “Praise the Lord and Pass the Soup”, No.57 Country, Johnny Cash, the Carter Family and the

Oakridge Boys, Columbia 45890

1973: “Why me Lord”, No.1 Country and No.16 US, Kris Kristofferson, Monument 8571

1974: “The Baptism of Jesse Taylor”, No.14 Country, Johnny Russell, RCA APBO-0165

1974: “Beyond the Blue Horizon”, No.12 AC and No. 80 US, Lou Christie, Three Brothers THB-402

1974: “Come On Down”, No.52 Country, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Capitol 3916

1974: “Devotion”, No.23 R&B, Earth, Wind and Fire, Columbia 3-10026

1974: “Help Me”, No.6 Country, Elvis Presley, RCA Victor APBO-0280

1974: “I Believe”, No.34 R&B, the Ebonys, Philadelphia Intl ZS7-3541

1974: “The Lord’s Prayer”, No.4 US, Sister Janet Mead, A&M AM-1491-S

1974: “One Day at a Time”, No.19 Hot Country and No.37 Hot 100, Marilyn Sellars, Westwind WS-7911

1974: “That Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Love My God”, No.35 Country, Ray Griff, Dot DOA-17501

1975: “Come On Down”, No.52 Country, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Capitol 3916

1975: “Dear God”, No.64 Country, Roy Clark, ABC/Dot 17530

1975: “God Is Good”, No.87 Country, Betty Jean Robinson, 4 Star 1004

1975: “It Takes Faith”, No.76 Country, Marty Robbins, MCA 40302

1975: “Keep Your Eye on the Sparrow”, No.42 R&B and No.45 US, Merry Clayton ODS-66110

1975: “No Charge”, No.40 R&B and No.91 US, Shirley Caesar, HOB/Scepter SCH 12402

1975: “On the Way Home”, No.49 Country, Betty Jean Robinson, MCA 40300

1975: “Operator”, No.22 Hot 100, the Manhattan Transfer, Atlantic 3292

1975: “The Seeker”, No.2 Hot Country and No.105 US, Dolly Parton, RCA 10310

1976: “America the Beautiful”, No. 22 Hot Country, Charlie Rich, Epic-8-50222

1976: “America the Beautiful”, No.98 R&B, Ray Charles, ABC 11329

1976: “Dropkick Me Jesus”, No.17 Country, Bobby Bare, RCA 10790

1976: “God Loves Us (When We All Sing Together), No.91 Country, Sami Jo, Polydor 14315

1976: “He’s a Friend”, No.2 R&B, Eddie Kendricks, Tamla 54266

1976: “Home Where I Belong”, No.98 Country, B J Thomas, Myrrh M-166

1976: “How Great Thou Art”, No. 39 Country, the Statler Brothers, Mercury 73732

1976: “Love Lifted Me”, No.19 Country and No.97 Pop, Kenny Rogers, United Artists 746

1976: “Mighty High”, No.22 R&B, Mighty Clouds of Joy, ABC 12164

1977: “Exodus”, No.19 R&B, Bob Marley, Island 7-94987

1977: “Help Me”, No.38 Country, Ray Price, Columbia 10453

1977: “Uncloudy Day”, No.4 Country, Willie Nelson, Columbia 10453

1978: “Life’s Railway to Heaven”, No.98 Country, Patsy Cline, 4 Star 1033

1978: “I’d Like to See Jesus (On the Midnight Special)”, No.26 Country, Tammy Wynette, Epic 50538

1978: “Rivers of Babylon”, No.30 US, Boney M, Sire 1027

1979: “All Things Are Possible”, No.6 AC and No.78 US, Dan Peek, Lion & Lamb LL817

1979: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, No.41 US, Linda Clifford, RSO RS 921

1979: “Hallelujah”, No.73 US, Milk & Honey, Polydor PD 14579

1979: “Holy Ghost”, No.9 R&B, the Bar-Kays, Stax 3216

1979: “My Prayer”, No.66 Country, Glen Campbell, Capitol 4799

1979: “Take Me to the River”, No.26 US, the Talking Heads, Sire 1032



1980” “America the Beautiful”, No.82 Hot Country, Mickey Newberry, Hickory 45K-1673

1980: “Family Bible”, No.92 Country, Willie Nelson, Songbird 41313

1980” “One Day at a Time”, No.1 Country, Cristy Lane, United Artists 1342

1980: “Prayin”, No.18 R&B, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, Source 41156

1980: “Wayfaring Stranger”, No.7 Country, Emmylou Harris, Warner49239

1981: “Antioch Church House Choir”, No.84 Country, Sweetwater, Faucet F.R.1592

1981: “In the Garden”, No.35 Country, Statler Brothers, Mercury 57408

1981: “Jesus is Love”, No.34 R&B, the Commodores, Motown 1502
1981: “The Last Word in Jesus is Us”, No.73 Country, Roy Clark Songbird 51167

1982: “Can You See the Light”, No.23 R&B, Brass Construction, Liberty 1453

1982: “Last Train to Heaven”, No.80 Country, Boxcar Willie, Mainstreet 953

1982: “Lord, I Hope This Day is Good”, No.1 Country, Don Williams, MCA 51207

1982: “Operator”, No.78 Country, Tennessee Express, RCA 13078

1982: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”, No.73 Country, Elvis Presley, RCA PB-12025

1983: “Everything’s Beautiful (In its Own Way), No.7 Country and No.102 Pop, Dolly Parton and Willie

Nelson, Monument WS4-03408

1983: “Shine on Me”, No.24 R&B, One Way, MCA 52228

1983: “Thank God for Kids”, No.3 Hot Country, the Oakridge Boys, MCA 52145

1983: “You Brought the Sunshine”, No.16 R&B, the Clark Sisters, Elektra 69810

1985: “Are You Ready”, No.39 R&B, the Staple Singers, Private Z54-05565

1985: “Let My People Go”, No.42 R&B, the Winans, Quest W8744

1986: “All the Way to Heaven”, No.19 R&B, Doug E. Fresh, Reality 264

1986: “Harmony”, No.10 Country, John Conlee, Columbia 38-05788

1986: “In the Morning Time”, No.26 R&B, Tramaine Hawkins, A&M SP-12166

1987: “Ain’t No Need to Worry”, No.15 R&B, the Winans, Quest 28274

1987: “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright”, No. 22 R&B, Al Green, A&M 2919

1988: “Way beyond the Blue”, No.99 Country, the Bonners, OL 126

1989: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, No.93 R&B, the Dramatics, Volt V-302

1989: “Gospel According to Luke”, No.10 Country, Skip Ewing, MCA 53481

1989: “Heaven”, No.12 R&B, BeBe & CeCe Winans, Capitol 44261

Songs which charted prior to debut of Billboard Charts in 1940 (as researched in Joel Whitburn’s Pop Memories)



1900: “The Holy City”, No.2 US, Harry Macdonough, Victor 3012

1902: “In the Sweet Bye and Bye”, No.3 US, the Haydn Quartet, Victor 1316

1902: “The Palms”, No.4 US, Jules Levy, Victor 1054

1902: “The Rosary”, No.2 US, William H. Thompson, Edison 8214

1903: “The Rosary”, No.3 US, Henry Burr, Columbia 1354

1903: “In the Sweet Bye and Bye”, No.1 US, John Bieling and Harry Macdonough, Victor 1855

1903: “In the Sweet Bye and Bye”, No.2, J. Aldrich Libbey, Edison 8300

1905: “The Holy City”, No.10 US, the Haydn Quartet, Victor 4256

1905: “In the Sweet Bye and Bye”, No.7 US, the Peerless Quartet, Columbia 32722

1906: “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning”, No.5 US, Harry Anthony and James Harrison, Edison 9272

1906: “Nearer My God to Thee”, No.9 US, Richard Jose, Victor 4818

1906: “The Rosary”, No.8 US, Alan Turner, Victor 4676

1906: “When the Role is Called up Yonder”, No.6 US, the Haydn Quartet, Victor 4689

1907: “Messiah: Every Valley Shall Be Exalted”, No.9, Harry Macdonough, Victor 31672

1908: “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere”, No.9, Harry Anthony and James F. Harrison, Edison 9959

1908: “The Rosary”, No.8 US, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, Victor 88108

1909: “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere”, No.3 US, Harold Jarvis, Victor 16008

1909: “Softly and Tenderly”, No.10 US, Frank Stanley and Henry Burr, Columbia 5089



1910: “Abide With Me”, No.6 US, Elizabeth Wheeler, Victor 16506

1910: “Ave Maria”, No.9 US, Francis Alda, Victor 88213

1910: “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”, No.7 US, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, Victor 16453

1912: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, No.6 US, Columbia Mixed Quartet, Columbia 1155

1912: “The Cruficix”, No.9 US, Enrico Caruso and Marcel Journet, Victor 89054

1912: “The Lost Chord”, No.3, Enrico Caruso, Victor 88378

1912: “The Rosary”, No.4 US, John McCormack, Victor 64257

1912: “Whispering Hope”, No.5 US, Alma Gluck and Louise Homer, Victor 87107

1913: “Abide With Me”, No.10 US, Alma Gluck and Louise Homer, Victor 87132

1913: “Ave Maria”, No.7, Enrico Caruso, Victor 89065

1914: “Ave Maria”, No.7 US, John McCormack, Victor 87192

1914: “Nearer My God to Thee”, No.8 US, John McCormack, Victor 64345

1914: “Rock of Ages”, No.10 US, Alma Gluck and Louise Homer, Victor 87198

1915: “Ave Maria”, No.4 US, John McCormack, Victor 88481

1915: “Jesus, Lover of My Soul”, No.6 US, Alma Gluck and Louise Homer, Victor87200

1916: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, No.5 US, Columbia Mixed Double Quartet, Columbia 2012

1916: “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere”, No.4 US, John McCormack, Victor 64428

1916: “Hallelujah Chorus”, No.10 US, Reginald McAll, Victor 35547

1916: “The Rosary”, No.8 US, the Taylor Trio, Columbia 1815

1917: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, No.4 US, Reinald Werrenrath, Victor 45121

1917: “The Crucifix”, No.6 US, John McCormack and Reinald Werrenrath, Victor 64712\

1918: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic’, No.1 US, Columbia Stellar Quartet, Columbia 2367

1918: “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, No.10, Thomas Chalmers, Edison 28279

1918: “The Lost Chord”, No.10 US, Alma Gluck, Victor 88593

1918: “When We Meet in the Sweet Bye and Bye”, No.9 Us, the Sterling Trio, Victor 18484



1921: “The Old Rugged Cross”, No.5 US, Homer Rodeheaver, Victor 18706

1923: “The Lost Chord”, No.10 US, John McCormack, Victor 74791

1925: “America the Beautiful”, No.8 US, Louise Homer, Victor 1074

1925: “Nobody Knows de Trouble I’ve Seen” No.15 US, Marian Anderson, Victor 78-19560

1925: “Steal Away”, No.13 US, Paul Robeson, Victor 19742

1927: “Deep River”, No.19 US, Paul Robeson, Victor 20793

1929: “Jericho”, No.12 US, Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanian’s Orchestra, Victor 21870



1930: “Sing You Sinners”, No.10 US, the High Hatters, Victor 22322

1930: “Sing You Sinners”, No.18, Smith Ballew Orchestra, Okeh 41384

1930: “Trees”, No.13 US, Isham Jones, Brunswick 4586

1931: “Lonesome Valley”, No.15 US, the Carter Family, Victor 23541

1932: “The Voice in the Old Village Choir”, No.10 US, Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, Victor 22998

1933: “The Last Roundup”, No.1 US, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Brunswick 6662

1933: “The Last Roundup”, No.1 US, George Olsen and His Orchestra, Columbia 2791

1933: “The Last Roundup”, No.2 US, Don Bestor and His Orchestra, Victor 24391

1933: “The Last Roundup”, No.2 US, Bing Crosby, Brunswick 6663

1933: “The Last Roundup”, No.3 US, Victor Young and His Orchestra, Brunswick 6651

1933: “The Last Roundup”, No.12 US, Gene Autry, Melotone 12832

1933: “The Last Roundup”, No.18 US, Conrad Thibault, Victor 22404

1933: “Someone Stole Gabriel’s Horn”, No.7 US, Jack Teagarden and His Orchestra, Columbia 2802

1933: “Trees”, No.12 US, Donald Novis, Brunswick 6538

1935: “Blow, Gabriel, Blow”, No.13 US, Enric Madriguera and His Orchestra, Victor 24818

1935: “Can the Circle Be Unbroken”, No.17 US, the Carter Family, Perfect 13155

1936: “I Hope Gabriel Likes My Music”, No.13 US, Louis Armstrong, Decca 672

1937: “There’s a Ranch in the Sky”, No.19 US, Jan Garber, Brunswick 7807

1938: “Pluckin’ On a Golden Harp”, No.11 US, Patricia Norman, Vocalion 4547

1938: “Going to Shout All Over God’s Heaven”, No.16 US, Louis Armstrong, Decca 2085
1938: “Great Speckle Bird”, No.13, Country, Roy Acuff, Vocalion 4252

1938: “There’s a Goldmine in the Sky”, No.5 US, Horace Heidt, Brunswick 8021

1938: “There’s a Goldmine in the Sky”, No.6 US, Bing Crosby, Decca 1565

1938: “There’s a Goldmine in the Sky”, No.13, Isham Jones, Vocalion 3910

1939: “God Bless America”, No.10 US, Kate Smith, Victor 26198

1939: “God Bless America”, No.17 US, Bing Crosby, Decca 2400

1939: “Someone Stole Gabriel’s Horn”, No.14 US, Bing Crosby, Brunswick 6533

1939: “When the Saints Go Marching In”, No.10 US, Louis Armstrong, Decca 2230