“Precious Lord” was released in 1956.
Lyrics were written by Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey and the melody was written by George Nelson Allen.
The earliest recording that has survived is from 1937 and was recorded by the Heavenly Gospel Singers.
Although the melody to “Precious Lord” is often credited to Dorsey, it actually came from the hymn “Maitland” which was written by Allen. The “Maitland” music was originally used for the text “Music Jesus Bear the Cross Alone”.
Dorsey wrote “Precious Lord” while coping with the death of his wife while giving birth to their son. The baby also died. Therefore, “Precious Lord” was intended to be a song addressing bereavement.
“Precious Lord” was Dr. Martin Luther King’s favorite song. King used it often at civil righs rallies. Th song was also sung at King’s funeral.
Popular recordings include those by Mahalia Jackson, who sang “Precious Lord” in King’s rallies and at his funeral, and Aretha Franklin, who then sang it a Jackson’s funeral.
The most opoular recording is by Jim Reeves.
“Precious Lord” has been translated into more than 40 languages.
Lauren Morrow, MT-BC