Formerly a member of his church choir as a kid, Alan Jackson gospel songs were no longer a surprise. The country music superstar is no stranger to various gospel praises and hymns. He grew up frequently listening to such songs.
With such a religious influence established so early on, it was no surprise when Alan Jackson released his first gospel music album called Precious Memories in early 2006. He put together the album by the request of his mother, who enjoyed religious music. Jackson considered this album a “side project” and nothing too official, but it turned out to be a huge success.
Here are some of our favorites.
10. “I’ll Fly Away”
Written in 1929, “I’ll Fly Away” has been dubbed as the most recorded gospel song. It is frequently used in worship services by the Churches of Christ, Baptists, Pentecostals, Nazarenes, and several Methodists.
It also appeared in several hymnals where it is being listed under the topics of acceptance, eternal life, and heaven. Ever since then, it became a standard song at bluegrass jam sessions and is often performed at funerals.
9. “Blessed Assurance”
“Blessed Assurance” is a famous Christian hymn with lyrics written as early as 1873 by blind hymn writer Fanny Crosby. Crosby’s friend, Phoebe Knapp, composed its music.
During one of Crosby’s visits, Knapp used the piano to play a new melody she had just composed. Knapp asked Crosby, “What do you think the tune says?” to which Crosby replied, “Blessed assurance; Jesus is mine.”
8. “I Love to Tell the Story”
This is another famous hymn that dates back to 1866. English evangelist Katherine Hankey wrote “I Love to Tell the Story” as a poem while suffering from a severe sickness spell during a mission in Africa. While recovering, she wrote a long entry on the life of Jesus. And the rest was history!
7. “When We All Get To Heaven”
In 2006, Alan Jackson humbly covered the favored gospel song, “When We All Get To Heaven.” His warm baritone smoothly carries the tunes and caresses the hopeful lyrics, promising victory and countless blessings.
Although various artists attempted to cover the song, Jackson’s musical praise of Jesus Christ through this favorable melody has been continuously widely preferred by those who enjoy the hymn as much as he does.
6. “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”
“What A Friend We Have In Jesus” has been around for centuries and was originally written by preacher Joseph M. Scriven in 1855. He wrote the poem for his mother, living in Ireland while he was away in Canada.
When Scriven published the poem, he did it anonymously. As a result, he was never given the full credit for it until the 1880s came. The poem was then set to music by composer and attorney Charles Crozat Converse.
Through the years, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” became a staple of hymnals and a cherished favorite of gospel singers and everyday people alike. It was recorded by several noteworthy performers before and after it appeared on Jackson’s Precious Memories. Just a few of those artists include Glen Campbell, Brad Paisley, and Ronnie Milsap.
5. “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven With You”
Alan Jackson has always been proud of his faith. He has never shied away from singing about it, just like this breathtaking “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven With You.” For his rendition of the song, Jackson kept things simple by singing softly while few instruments subtly played in the background. The result was absolutely stunning.
Alan Jackson admits he wasn’t too familiar with the song. But his mother, known as Mama Ruth to her son’s fans, “adopted” the song after Jackson’s father passed away in 2009. Before losing her husband, the couple were camping and attended a gospel singing where they first heard “I Want To Stroll Over Heaven With You.” The song and its lyrics immediately moved her.
“Eugene reached over and touched my hand and said, ‘You like that song, don’t you?’ It was a special song from then on. And now, every time I hear it, I think I’m gonna stroll over Heaven with him one of these days,” said Mama Ruth.
4. “The Old Rugged Cross”
The moment you hear Jackson’s iconic voice dance across the notes of this heartwarming reminder of salvation, you will totally melt!
“Old Rugged Cross” has become a country gospel favorite and recorded several times over by a seemingly endless number of artists ever since it was made famous by the legendary Ernest Tubb in the early ’50s.
When Alan Jackson started recording his first gospel album in 2006, he had no idea that he would become the new leader of this legendary track – nor did he realize what a great impact his version would have on people worldwide.
3. “Softly and Tenderly”
You’ll immediately feel at ease as you listen to the soothing sound of Jackson’s voice on this classic hymn. There’s just something about Jackson’s “Softly and Tenderly” that makes it comforting to listen.
The song is among the most prolifically translated gospel songs. It has been recorded by other big names in country music, such as Johnny Cash, Kelly Clarkson, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, among others. The hymn was also used during the memorial service for Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
2. “Amazing Grace”
Published in the late 18th century, “Amazing Grace” is, without a doubt, the most recognizable hymn ever written. Penned by John Newton, the song presents a message of forgiveness and redemption that speaks to its listeners’ hearts.
1. “How Great Thou Art”
Remember when Alan Jackson gave the classic gospel song “How Great Thou Art,” a modern makeover? The Christian hymn, which dates back to 1885, has rightfully earned its place in music fans’ hearts across the board. It instills a sense of faith and peace despite the variety of daring artists that attempt the powerful lyrics.
It was no longer a surprise when it was revealed that there had been more than seventeen hundred documented recordings of the song. “How Great Thou Art” has also been used on major motion pictures, television programs and has been named the favorite Gospel song of at least three presidents of the United States.