Guest Post: Hymn History: Thomas Dorsey, “The Father of Gospel Music” From Lights 4 God Blog

Monday, July 1st, marks the birthday of Thomas Dorsey, who wrote “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and “Peace in the Valley.” Our friends over at the Lights4God blog shared the biography of Thomas Dorsey with us, and we’d like to share it with you. It is a remarkable story, with great words of comfort arising from great sorrow, and how God’s call remains, even while we are chasing worldly pursuits … I’m also reminded, again, of how important being raised in a Godly home is …

Thomas Dorsey was born in Villa Rica, GA, (Yeah Villa Rica!!! We’ll return there next month!). I was there at the ceremony, when they dedicated the Historical Marker in Thomas Dorsey’s honor, in Villa Rica, back in 1994.
Here are the words on the Historical Marker, taken from Wikipedia:

Marker text
Thomas A. Dorsey historical marker

THOMAS A. DORSEY

Father of Gospel

Thomas Andrew Dorsey, composer of over 400 blues and gospel songs, lived here following his birth in Villa Rica on July 1, 1899. At Mt. Prospect Baptist Church he was exposed to shape-note singing and at home learned to play a used pump organ, experiences he said “sprang” his career. The young blues pianist moved to Chicago in 1919 in the Great Migration.

Dorsey wrote the world’s most popular gospel-blues song after his wife and newborn son died unexpectedly on August 26 and 27, 1932. That song, Take My Hand, Precious Lord has been translated into 32 languages. Aretha Franklin recorded Take My Hand, Precious Lord in 1956, the same year Tennessee Governor Frank Clement recited it. It became the anthem of Fannie Lou Hamer’s Mississippi Summer. Dorsey’s friend, Mahalia Jackson, sang it at Martin Luther King, Jr’s funeral. Elvis Presley’s recording of Dorsey’s second-most-popular gospel song, Peace in the Valley, sold millions of copies.

For a while, any new gospel-blues song, regardless of who wrote it, was called a “Dorsey” until Dorsey himself coined the name “gospel”. Dorsey died in Chicago on January 23, 1993.

022-8 GEORGIA HISTORIC MARKER 1994
Historical information

This historical marker sits alongside U.S. Hwy 78 because the actual house Dorsey was born in has been gone a long time. Dorsey’s home was approximately 1/4 mile NNW of the marker’s location. The Mt. Prospect Baptist Church building Dorsey learned music in has also been gone a long time although the church itself is still an active part of the Villa Rica community.

Now, please enjoy the guest post from the Lights4God blog. Here’s a direct link:
THOMAS DORSEY | Lights 4 God.

Our Christian Gift Store
Our YouTube Channel
Our Facebook Page

Advertisements

2 responses to “Guest Post: Hymn History: Thomas Dorsey, “The Father of Gospel Music” From Lights 4 God Blog

  1. I do appreciate this info on Dorsey, am doing a thesis on Gospel blues and this info comes handy pls if I can get more info and songs to help build up my Thesis woul be glad, now I know who to write about the Father of gospel music.

    Like

  2. Thank you so much for this blessed strengthening message to study and to share with our people in India, please pray for me. Evangelist Babu.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s