December 18

Jolly Dolly! We’ll Go Tell It on the Mountain!

“Go Tell It on the Mountain” had always been a valuable contribution to Gospel singing. Commonly sang as a Christmas special, it captures the festive spirit at the announcement of our Savior’s birth.

Below, Dolly Parton and the church choir’s energy is contagious! Sing your heart out with them!

Dolly Parton in “Go Tell It on the Mountain”


The origin could be traced as far back as the late 1860s. Its earliest publication was found in the Folk Songs of The Negro, as Sung on The Plantations. Over the years, variations were made on several wordings to fit certain situations. What became the standard on hymnals though was that of John Wesley Works. His version was based on Luke 2:8-20. It features lowly shepherds as among the chosen eyewitnesses of the royal birth. That said, “Go Tell It on the Mountain” has become one of the favorites among nativity songs.


 Not a few artists opted to include the said song in their Christmas albums. Among them are: Mahalia Jackson on the album Silent Night, Holy Night, Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra on the album 12 Songs of Christmas (1964), Anne Murray on the album Christmas Wishes (1981), Dolly Parton on the album Home for Christmas (1990), Garth Brooks on the album Garth Brooks and the Magic of Christmas (1999), Sara Evans on the album Country Christmas (2001), Toby Keith on the album A Classic Christmas (2007), Sheryl Crow on the album Home for Christmas (2008), Pentatonix on the album PTXmas (2012) and Jennifer Nettles on the album To Celebrate Christmas (2016).


It has also inspired the first major work and semi-autobiographical novel of Author James Baldwin titled Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953). The novel is considered an American classic. It chronicles the role of religion in shaping one’s moral choices and worldviews.

In 1984, the ABC network produced a movie bearing the same title.


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