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Crossing Over Jordan

Crossing Over Jordan

Navigating the Music of Heavenly Bliss and Earthly Desire in the Lives and Careers of Three Twentieth-Century African American Holiness-Pentecostal “Crossover” Artists

(p.117) 7 Crossing Over Jordan
Louis B. Gallien
NYU Press

This chapter examines the Pentecostal foundations of three African American male “crossover” artists with deep roots in Afro-Pentecostalism: Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, and Donny Hathaway. It relates the experience of these singer-songwriters' crossover from gospel music to secular music, and specifically rhythm and blues. It also considers their struggle to reconcile their religious backgrounds and gospel music genesis with their desires to maintain successful secular careers. Using the experiences of these three music icons, the chapter sheds light on the complicated themes of sexuality and spirituality within the black Pentecostal movement. It shows how Cooke, Gaye, and Hathaway helped close the discourse regarding the chasm between secular and sacred music, especially as African Americans understood and experienced the marketability and commercial success of their musical heritages.

Keywords:   crossover artists, Afro-Pentecostalism, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway, gospel music, secular music, rhythm and blues, sexuality, sacred music

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