December 5, 2011 marks what would have been James Cleveland's 80th birthday. One can only imagine what the gospel field might have been like today had he lived until now.
Here's a few songs to check out from his 40 year recording career, including his recording debut in 1951 with the Gospelaires as pianist and vocalist, and his last composition and recording in 1990 with the LA Gospel Messengers.
I've broken the list up into different phases of his recording career so you can hear how his style of arranging changed and adapted over the years. There's a 3-6 year gap between each song, and 2-3 songs per decade with exception to the 1990s.
1951 "The Lifeboat is Coming" by the Gospelaires
1955 "What Kind of Man Is This" by the Caravans
1961 "The Love of God" with the Gospel All-Stars
1966 "Christ the Redeemer" with the Walter Arties Chorale
1969 "Over My Head" with the Southern California Community Choir
1973 "Lord, Help Me to Hold Out" with the Harold Smith Majestics
1979 "God Is" with the Southern California Community Choir
1983 "This Time, I'm Going All the Way" with the NJ Mass Choir of the GMWA
1988 "He Knows How Much We Can Bear"with the LA Gospel Messengers
1990 "Always" with the LA Gospel Messengers
Happy Birthday, "King James!" We're sure you're having one heck of a celebration up in Glory with Prof. Dorsey, Mahalia, Roberta, Albertina, Clara, Sallie, Alex, Jessy, Gene, and the rest of your colleagues and mentors.