CAMPAIGN TO HAVE ELVIS ELECTED TO THE GOSPEL HALL OF FAME
The music most loved by Elvis Aaron Presley was gospel
was also the only genre of music which he received Grammy
Awards during his lifetime.
to Identify & influence the 150 members of the Gospel Hall
of Fame electorate
"how": influence by addressing Gospel Hall of Fame
in lead up to annual voting
EPE and BMG support for the campaign
major fan clubs, Elvis publications (eg. Elvis World; Elvis Today;
Elvis Unlimited; The Man & His Music; Elvis International Forum),
Elvis web sites and Elvis web radio shows
out to 1,000+ fans and fan clubs
theme: That Elvis Presley, as the world's most popular recording
and performing artist, brought gospel music to a global, mainstream
audience by incorporating both gospel songs and gospel singers into
his recording sessions and live performances.
music was a primary influence on Elvis from an early age. His love
for gospel music is well documented (see point 8 for instance) and
his major musical influences included the Blackwood Brothers and
The Statesmen. The late J.D. Sumner, in his enlightening biography,
'Elvis His Love for Gospel Music and J.D. Sumner' (Gospel Quartet
Music Company Inc, 1991), stated, that as a mark of his love and
respect for gospel music, Elvis seriously considered an invitation
to join an unspecified but major gospel quartet after he became
an international star in 1956.
Elvis used gospel groups, notably The Jordanaires and J.D. Sumner
and the Stamps Quartet as backing singers for both his live performances
and his studio recordings. And he didn't use them simply as background
performers, he drew attention to them and their musical talent.
J.D. Sumner wrote that Elvis referred to Ed Enoch of The Stamps
as having the best voice in the world … and he meant it. In reference
to Elvis and J. D. himself, J.D. said: "He constantly built my name
wherever we went, and thus built my ego. He featured me singing
low, and sometimes made me sing the same ending two or three times
because he liked to hear it. He'd cut up and say, "Folks, J.D. didn't
do it right that time. He's the lowest bass singer in the world…He
Elvis recorded almost 50 gospel songs and released three critically
acclaimed gospel albums during his lifetime: q His Hand In Mine
(1960) q How Great Thou Art (1967) q He Touched Me (1972) In addition
BMG/RCA has released numerous gospel album compilations by Elvis
since his death and during his lifetime Elvis' commitment to gospel
music was recognised by RCA releasing Elvis gospel singles at Easter.
The only Grammy Awards received by Elvis during his lifetime were
for his gospel recordings: q How Great Thou Art (Best Sacred Performance,
1967) q He Touched Me (Best Inspirational Performance, 1972) q How
Great Thou Art – live recording (Best Inspirational Performance,
Elvis received a fourth Grammy Award nomination for You'll Never
Walk Alone (nominated for Best Sacred Performance, 1968.
Elvis' gospel albums are among the biggest selling gospel albums
of all time, for example: ¨ How Great Thou Art (RIAA multi-platinum)
¨ His Hand In Mine (RIAA Platinum) ¨ He Touched Me (RIAA Platinum)
¨ Peace In The Valley (RIAA Platinum) ¨ You'll Never Walk Alone
(RIAA Platinum) ¨ Amazing Grace - His Greatest Sacred Performances
Elvis' inclusion of gospel singers and gospel songs during his
live concerts brought gospel music to a global, mainstream audience.
The facts that Elvis was and is the world's most popular recording
artist and since his death has become the world's most visible
popular culture (entertainment) icon reinforce his role in bringing
gospel music to the general public.
other major mainstream artist can lay claim to having brought gospel
music to as wide an audience as Elvis Presley during his lifetime
and in memorium. J.D. Sumner talked about this impact in his biography:
"…the deciding factor was that it would give us an opportunity to
sing gospel music to people who would never hear it any other way…this
gave me a chance to advance both gospel music and my career". "The
big difference on that tour wasn't singing backup to someone – it
was singing to twenty thousand people each night instead of the
five hundred or thousand we often sang to on the gospel circuit".
The two volume He Touched Me videos released in 1999 have been critically
received and clearly document the impact of and importance of gospel
music throughout Elvis' life. Sales of the two videos took them
to the top of the Billboard Gospel Video charts, again symbolising
how Elvis' gospel recordings are reaching a broad audience Elvis
Aaron Presley, his Gospel recordings and the Gospel Hall of Fame
Criteria for Induction/Nomination
standard: Nominees are to be judged on the degree of their contribution
to the advancement of gospel music and on the indelibility of
their impact. EIN comment - reinforce points 3 to 8.
Nominees can be elected regardless if they are living or deceased,
providing the deceased individual is not eligible until two years
after his/her death: Elvis satisfies this criterion.
of Activity: Nominees must have achieved definitive recognition
and respect in their field of gospel music, active in one or several
fields such as songwriting, publishing, musician, recording artist,
etc: (points 1 to 8).
of Influence: Time factor of a nominee's influence is completely
flexible. May cover large span or one transient act: Gospel music
was a pivotal part of Elvis' musical career and life from a young
age until his death in 1977. (Points 1 to 8)
of Others: Degree to which a nominee multiplies his/her influence
through others to create an impact on gospel music far beyond his/her
own direct individual contribution: points 6,7 and 8.