Rarely does an artist’s career span 60 years, but Louis Armstrong was a performer whose musical talent encompassed the entire scope of popular music.
Many of the iconic African American female vocalists of the 20th century endured great hardships before achieving success in the music industry. From Billie Holiday to Etta James, there was a great deal they had to overcome on the road to fame and fortune.
World Youth Day organizers released the winning theme song for the international gathering in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2023.
When a bus driver in Montgomery, Alabama, demanded that a young Black woman named Rosa Parks give up her seat in the non-Black designated section of the bus, so began the civil rights movement in earnest.
Country Charley Pride, as he was affectionately called when starting out, would go on to earn 29 No. 1 hits on the country chart, 12 gold albums, be named the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year in 1971, become only the second African-American artist invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, and be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2000.
Country music has a rich history of adding inspirational standards to the catalog of American popular music. As far back as the 1930s, the Carter Family’s classic “Gospel Ship” informed us that, “I’m going to take a trip in that old gospel ship / I’m a-going far beyond the sky.” Around the same time, country founding father Jimmie Rodgers teamed with Sara Carter for “That Wonderful City” where the streets are lined with gold.
No political theme song could have been more appropriate for John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign than Frank Sinatra’s classic cover of Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen’s exuberant “High Hopes.”
Willie Nelson’s love of inspirational songs dates back to his childhood in Abbott, Texas, and “Amazing Grace,” a hymn he first heard in church as a young boy.
Despite his outlaw persona, Johnny Cash was a man of deep faith and conviction who devoted his life to studying the Scriptures.
For Catholic rapper Melvin Windley, a.k.a. “Rabelzthemc,” hip-hop is an opportunity to proclaim the message of Divine Mercy to all.