20 Greatest Gospel Albums On Our Playlists

In the quest for inspiration, sometimes we have to look higher.

Gospel music’s influence often goes unrecognized these days. The foundations of your favorite R&B and hip-hop records can find their roots in sweaty church choir stands. Storytelling, call-and-response delivery and, of course, soul-stirring passion are all elements we take for granted today but they’re part of gospel’s grand history.

That’s why when times get tough, we continue to turn back to those classics – those timeless songs that have given encouragement and wisdom for decades on end.

While it would be nearly impossible to create a definitive list of the greatest gospel albums of all time – there’s just way too much ground to cover – let’s revisit 20 of the greatest gospel albums on SoulInStereo’s playlist. These are the albums that grandma sang while cleaning the house, the songs the children’s choir belted out on a regular basis, the melodies sung on our wedding days and the tracks we turn to when trying to make sense of a senseless world.

They’ve been with us as long as we’ve listening to music.

By the way, this list will include LPs and live albums but will exclude compilations and holiday-themed albums. We’ll get to those another time.

For now, check out the albums below. They’re what inspiration sounds like.

here i am20. Marvin Sapp, Here I Am (2010)

Moment of inspiration from “Here I Am”:

There were times when I almost gave up
And I’ve cried and said Lord it’s too much
El Shaddai, He was there all the time by His grace
He is keeping me alive
By His (grace and mercy I’m still standing, standing)
I’m standing in the presence of the almighty with
(Power and a testimony ah)
I standing here today with one thing to say
(Lord I thank you, thank you)

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hero19. Kirk Franklin, Hero (2005)

Moment of inspiration from “Imagine Me”:

This song is dedicated to people like me
Those that struggle with insecurities, acceptance and even self-esteem
You’ve never felt good enough, you’ve never felt pretty enough
But imagine God whispering in your ear letting you know that everything that has happened is now…
Gone, gone, it’s gone, all gone
(It’s all gone, every sadness)
Gone, gone, it’s gone, all gone
(Every mistake, every failure, it’s all gone)

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show up18. John P. Kee and New Life Community Choir, Show Up! (1995)

Moment of inspiration from “Sweeter”:

Holy hands we extend (To the matchless King),
To the matchless King, (our Lord and friend)
Our Lord and Friend (from the rising of the sun),
From the rising of the sun (to the going down of the same)
To the going down of the same, (your sweet name),
Your sweet name, I shall always praise

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go get your life back17. Donald Lawrence and the Tri-City Singers, Go Get Your Life Back (2002)

Moment of inspiration from “Bless Me (Prayer of Jabez)”:

Bless me, bless me
Oh Lord, bless me indeed
Enlarge my territory
Oh Lord, bless me indeed
(I pray for increase)
Bless me indeed
(I pray for increase)

_________________________________________________

take the message everywhere16. Andrae Crouch, Take the Message Everywhere (1970)

Moment of inspiration from “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power”:

The blood that Jesus shed for me
Way back on Calvary
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day
It will never lose its power
It reaches to the highest mountain
It flows to the lowest valley
The blood that gives me strength
From day to day
It will never lose its power

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evolution of gospel15. Sounds of Blackness, The Evolution of Gospel (1991)

Moment of inspiration from “Optimistic”:

Don’t give up and don’t give in
Although it seems you never win
You will always pass the test
As long as you keep your head to the sky
You can win as long as you keep your head to the sky
You can win as long as you keep your head to the sky
Be optimistic

_________________________________________________

live in london14. Donnie McClurkin, Live in London & More… (2000)

Moment of inspiration from “We Fall Down”:

We fall down
But we get up
We fall down
But we get up
We fall down
But we get up, oh yes
For a saint is just a sinner who fell down
But we couldn’t stay there
And got up

_________________________________________________

alabaster box13. CeCe Winans, Alabaster Box (1999)

Moment of inspiration from “Alabaster Box”:

And I’ve come to pour
My praise on Him
Like oil from Mary’s alabaster box
Don’t be angry if I wash his feet with my tears
And I dry them with my hair
You weren’t there the night He found me
You did not feel what I felt
When he wrapped his love all around me and
You don’t know the cost of the oil
In my alabaster box

_________________________________________________

the preacher's wife12. Whitney Houston, The Preacher’s Wife Soundtrack (1996)

Moment of inspiration from “I Go To The Rock”:

I go to the rock of my salvation
I go to the stone that the builders rejected
I run to the mountain
And the mountain he stands by me
When the Earth all around me is sinking sand
On Christ the solid rock I stand
When I need a shelter I go to the rock

_________________________________________________

tomorrow11. The Winans, Tomorrow (1984)

Moment of inspiration from “Tomorrow”:

Ooh, tomorrow
I’ll give my life tomorrow
I thought about today
But it’s so much easier to say
Tomorrow, who promised you tomorrow
Better choose the Lord today
For tomorrow very well might be today

_________________________________________________

thankful10. Mary Mary, Thankful (2000)

Moment of inspiration from “I Sings”:

Couldn’t possibly remember all
The things You’ve done
In my life I’ve seen some weary days
But with You I’ve overcome
Why wouldn’t I say yes to You
When You gave Your life for me
Now I’ll give mine to You
And I’m gone tell everybody

_________________________________________________

the worlds greatest gospel singer9. Mahalia Jackson, The World’s Greatest Gospel Singer (1954)

Moment of inspiration from “When I Wake Up In Glory”:

All my troubles will be gone
And I’ll be free from sin at last
And I’ll leave all my sorrow heavy load
One morning I’m going to wake, wake
Wake up, yes in glory
And with Jesus I’m gonna sing O redemption story

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you brought the sunshine8. The Clark Sisters, You Brought the Sunshine (1981)

Moment of inspiration from “Endow Me”:

To heal the sick
And raise the dead
To cast out devils like Jesus did
To open blinded eyes and cure the mind
To move that mountain and break up that fallow ground
Move in the midst of thy people
Move in me Lord like Shekinah glory from on high

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heaven7. BeBe & CeCe Winans, Heaven (1988)

Moment of inspiration from “Bridge Over Troubled Water”:

When you’re down and out
And when you’re on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I’ll take your part
When darkness comes
And pain is all around

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love alive6. Walter Hawkins, Love Alive (1975)

Moment of inspiration from “Changed”:

Yes he changed (changed)
My life complete (changed)
And now I sit (changed)
I sit at my savior’s feet (I’m so glad he changed me)
To do (changed)
What must be done (changed)
I’m gonna work and work
Until my savior comes (I’m so glad he changed me)

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pages of life5. Fred Hammond, Pages of Life – Chapters I and II (1998)

Moment of inspiration from “I Wanna Know Your Ways”:

I boast, not in myself
Or the things I’ve learned
Lord You know it’s true
But I seek after one thing
To know Your ways
Then I will know You

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mississippi mass choir4. The Mississippi Mass Choir, The Mississippi Mass Choir Live (1988)

Moment of inspiration from “Call Him Up”:

Delight yourself in the Lord,
And He will give you the desires of thine heart;
Even though sometimes we stumble,
Even though sometimes we fall;
Call Him up and tell Him what you want

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mountain high valley low3. Yolanda Adams, Mountain High … Valley Low (1999)

Moment of inspiration from “Open My Heart”:

So show me how
To do things your way
Don’t let me make the same mistakes
Over and over again
Your will’ll be done
And I’ll be the one
To make sure the it’s carried out
And in me, I don’t want any doubt

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kirk franklin and the family2. Kirk Franklin & The Family (1993)

Moment of inspiration from “He’s Able”:

Hold on my brother, your change is gonna come
Be strong my sister, for your work is not done, no
Just keep on believing and hold on tight
He’s able to give you joy and the morning-light

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amazing grace1. Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace (1972)

Moment of inspiration from “How I Got Over”:

I want to thank him because he brought me oh yes
I want to thank him because he taught me (oh yes oh yes)
I want to thank God because he kept me oh yes oh yes oh yes
I’m gonna thank Him ’cause he never left me oh yes

What are you favorite gospel albums? Which albums did we shortchange? Let us know below.

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1 Comments

  1. I would add to the above list:
    Tamela Mann (any and all albums)
    The Gospel According To Jazz 1. 2, 3 by Kirk Whalum

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