Cue the organ music.
Often in The Musical
, one character will get the ensemble to join in on a rousing gospel song. You know the one. It'll have powerful pipes behind it - not just that organ, but with the lead singers (often Sassy Black Women
who are big and beautiful
). Usually held at a Baptist church, with a primarily black congregation. It'll make you want to get up and either clap and sing along, or put your hands in the air because it's all so true!
This is the music that tells grand truths about life! This is the music of epiphanies
! This is the music of the LORD
, so raise up a joyful noise
! HALLELUJAH! Tell it, sister!
Now largely a Dead Horse Trope
, except in parody (although, of course, it's still very much alive in many African American and Pentecostal churches). Might be preceded with the stock phrase, "That Reminds Me of a Song
...." Compare and contrast with Gospel Choirs Are Just Better
, scenes when a Gospel Choir shows up to sing Suspiciously Apropos Music
that underscores a pivotal plot or character development. Also compare to actual Gospel Music
, which is still going strong.
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Films — Animation
Films — Live Action
- "Get Happy", most famously used in the movie musical Summer Stock , though written twenty years earlier.
- Both Blues Brothers movies — first one having "The Old Landmark" (with James Brown presiding!), second time around featuring John The Revelator (although we get a taste of the song during the opening credits too, with Taj Mahal singing solo. It's later on sung again at a Tent Revival by James Brown, Sam "The Supervoice" Moore, and Joe Morton.
- Across the Universe covered "Let It Be" as a Gospel Revival Number - and a complete Tear Jerker as well.
- Sister Act, naturally.
- "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive" from Here Come The Waves.
- "Stand Up" from the made-for-TV film adaptation of Polly. Partially justified, since they were actually in a church at the time, although they were in a church that very explicitly didn't do things like loud gospel numbers accompanied by Spontaneous Choreography.
- "Hold My Feeler" which comes at the end of the movie Joes Apartment.
- Forrest Gump attended the otherwise all-black church of Bayou La Batre while a shrimp fisherman, and a Gospel Revival Number (with Forrest standing out like a sore thumb in the choir) served as the background music for a montage of the business slowly becoming a success.
- Say Amen, Somebody: totally justified as it's a documentary on gospel music and church musicians, and also goes to show that Gospel Choirs Are Just Better.
- "He's Guilty, Judge, He's Guilty" from Cop Rock.
- Scrubs did this for one of JD's fantasies in "My Own Personal Jesus".
- They did it AGAIN... "We're gonna miss you Carla!"
- Gospel, in addition to being a short-lived game similar to Hoedown, was one of the most frequent musical styles used in Song Styles on Whose Line Is It Anyway?.
- Babylon 5: There's no hidin' place, down here, down here! There's no hidin' place, down here...
- "I guess what I'm sayin' is this..." "GO..." "If 'Fair and Balanced' is how you want to sell yourself..." "FUCK..." "Guess what I'm sayin' is this..." "YOURSELVES!"
- In Eli Stone, one of Eli's hallucinations involved a gospel choir that included his black female receptionist. When he asked her if she was a member of a gospel choir, she wasn't impressed. "Yes, most black people are in gospel choirs, especially women."
- "Clap Yo' Hands" from Oh, Kay!.
- "Hallelujah" from Hit the Deck.
- "Great Day," one of several Breakaway Pop Hits from an obscure musical of the same name.
- "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" from Anything Goes.
- "Overflow" and "Leavin' for the Promise' Lan'" from Porgy and Bess. These two songs do a lot to enliven the funeral scene.
- "The Lord Done Fixed Up My Soul" from Louisiana Purchase (recycled in the movie There's No Business Like Show Business).
- "On That Great Come-And-Get-It Day" from Finians Rainbow.
- "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat" from Guys and Dolls.
- "Brotherhood of Man" from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
- "Run, Freedom Run" from Urinetown, a slight parody example.
- "Ain't It Good" from Stephen Schwartz's Children Of Eden.
- "The Gods Love Nubia" and "Dance of the Robe" from Aida.
- As you may have guessed, Godspell has a few of these - "Day By Day", "Bless the Lord", "Light of the World", "Beautiful City" and "We Beseech Thee".
- "Miracle Song" from Anyone Can Whistle.
- "In Mysterious Ways," the opening number of the musical adaptation The Color Purple. Subject to Alternate Song Interpretation: on the surface it's a powerful and assertive tune of faith - but on the other hand, the church is full of Gossipy Hens who are commenting on the horrendous abuse going on in the house of their neighbor - and doing flat nothing about it.
- "Simon Zealotes" from Jesus Christ Superstar.
- "I Feel So Happy" from RJ
- "Random Black Girl" from Homemade Fusion parodies this trope through the eyes of a "random black girl singing the soul". It's also an amazing song .
- "Faith" from I Had A Ball.
- "Prayer of the Comfort Counselor" from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee turns into this.
- "Are You Sure?" from The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
- "A Big Black Lady Stops The Show"  from Martin Short's Fame Becomes Me parodies the trope.
- "Heaven on Earth" from Me and My Dick, lampshaded in the chorus:
Oooh, here we go
Like a gospel song
- Jon and Al Kaplan's musical adaptation of The Help, "Eat My Shit".
- In the Reboot movie Daemon Rising Mike the TV performs a gospel song on the glory of being infected by the virus Daemon.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Sweetie Belle manages to turn a lullaby into one of these.
- The musical number "Mr. Booze" from Family Guy, complete with backflips and testimonies.