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Mahalia Jackson would have been 100 years old today on October 26th. To celebrate, here’s one of her best-loved interpretations, “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”

She recorded over two dozen albums in her lifetime, won five Grammy awards, and was honored from nearly every direction — from gracing a 32-cent stamp to being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She appeared in a few films, most memorably perhaps in Imitation of Life and was a smash at the Newport Jazz Festival. Hers was the chosen voice for John F. Kennedy’s inauguration and Martin Luther King Jr’s funeral. Though she was often courted by other artists to crossover and sing jazz or blues, she never did, saying famously, “When you sing gospel you have a feeling there is a cure for what’s wrong.”


Editor’s note (10.16.2011 1:53pm): Thanks to an astute reader, we made a factual error in this post. Mahalia Jackson’s birthday occurs ten days from the date of this posting, on October 26th. We apologize for the error and got a little too excited about sharing this great gospel hymn and remembering this wonderful singer.


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6 Comments

now this is real gospel with a true message. Loving this!

Just a note, not a judgment of any kind.  I believe Ms. Jackson's birthday is the 26th.  Best, John.

John, thanks so much for the correction. I have updated the post with a note and will do the same in our other spheres. Needless to say, we're embarrassed and substituted a 2 (26th) into a 1 (16th.) Oy.

I was feeling down this morning then I found the link on my facebook. I listened, listened again, I felted better my spirit was uplifted. Thank you.

Brings a tear to the eye, but in a good way, like when I cry at weddings. Evokes the transcendent.

I recall the voice of Mahalia Jackson.  As a child in a depressing circumstance, watching early black & white television, she sang out to my heart, stirred my spirit and contributed to an inspiration of hope, a vision I could embrace and hold on to until I could stand up on my own.  Please, oh unending one, bless her as she blessed me.
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