Gospel's uplifting and rejoicing sound is world famous, a multi million-dollar music genre that in many ways has ended up the beating heart of American popular music. But can gospel be gospel if it entertains and makes money as well as praises the Lord? Financial educator Alvin Hall explores how this American religious music genre has been affected by commercialisation.
In this first episode Alvin examines gospel's journey from the church to the charts through the music of Thomas Dorsey, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke. Now considered some of gospel's greatest artists, these early singers all met with strong criticism from the church as they took their songs from the sacred world into the secular. Alvin also reveals how other gospel performers in the first half of the 20th century struggled fulfilling their religious obligations whilst battling with the temptations of life on the road.