Gospel has been the bedrock of popular music since it was first recorded in the early 1900s. It was the first musical love of iconoclast rockers ranging from Little Richard to Elvis Presley. It has produced soul singers as dazzling and innovative as Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, and Aretha Franklin. Its rhythms have propelled numerous pop, blues, jazz, R&B, and rock 'n' roll standards and provided the vocal basis for doo-wop in particular and ensemble singing in general, from the Ink Spots and the "5" Royales to Boyz II Men. It has become a multimillion-dollar industry for countless independent labels and publishing companies and remains a vital part of African-American culture. It is among the best represented genres on the reissue front and has been studied by academics and rock critics alike. Yet gospel has seldom crossed over to the pop and R&B charts, and many of its greatest practitioners are all but unknown by anyone but their... More >>>