There is very little that hasn’t been said or written about Elvis Presley, but the area of his life least discussed was that most important to him- his spirituality and life-long love of gospel music. He grew up in the church, attending all-night gospel sings and admiring groups like J.D. Sumner and the Stamps, who later would back him on stage and record, along with groups like the Jordanaires, Imperials, and the Sweet Inspirations. Presley recorded more that 50 gospels songs including “Peace in the Valley,” which he performed on The Ed Sullivan Show. Interestingly, out of the 14 Grammy nominations Elvis received in his lifetime, the only three awarded to him were in the Gospel categories- for his 1974 live performance of “How Great Thou Art,” his 1967 album of the same name, and the 1972 album, He Touched Me, which brought songs from emerging writers like Bill Gaither, Andrae Crouch and Ralph Carmichael to national exposure.
Elvis Presley died on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42.