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May 7

“Peace in the Valley:” Mahalia Jackson and other Notable Versions

Everyone knows the gospel song “Peace in the Valley.” Everyone recognized it to be Elvis Presley’s or Red Foley’s song. However, when the song was written, it was actually intended for Mahalia Jackson. Thomas A. Dorsey wrote the song in 1937 which he was planning to give it to the Queen of Gospel, Mahalia Jackson.

mahalia jackson peace in the valley
Photo Credit: bbc.co.uk

Thomas A Dorsey’s Inspiration Behind “Peace in the Valley”

Dorsey’s inspiration came to him when he was on a train ride to Southern Indiana. This was when Hitler sent his army to Western Europe. As the train passed by fields of horses, cows, and sheep, Dorsey thought,

“What’s the matter with mankind?”

He wonders why men can’t be content and live in peace. His thought and the inspiration he got from looking out the window made him write “Peace in the Valley.”

Jackson was the first artist to record the song. She released her rendition on the same year it was written. Her soulful voice brought life to the song. She may not have made it enter the chart, but she paved the way for other artists to cover it.

Notable Versions of “Peace in the Valley”

There are two notable versions of this song. The first was released in 1951 by Red Foley and the Sunshine Boys. The singer’s rendition entered the country chart at number seven. Another notable work was by Elvis Presley. He made the song popular when he performed it at the Ed Sullivan Show. He dedicated the song to Hungarian refugees who were affected by the Soviet Union invasion. Presley also requested people to donate to help these refugees, and as a result, they have earned a total amount of $6 million dollars.

Elvis Presley singing “Peace in the Valley”

Red Foley’s version.

Other renditions

Other artists who released their version were George Jones, Connie Francis, Johnny Cash, and Ronnie Milsap.

“Peace in the Valley” gives us an assurance that someday, despite living in a chaotic world, we’ll find what we are looking for. Someday, we’ll be able to find peace, a place where we all desire to live in.


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Elvis Presley, Mahalia Jackson, peace in the valley


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