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Gospel Revival Number

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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.

Examples, hallelujah!

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  • NBC used this as the style for their 1986-87 "Come Home to NBC" campaign (the first after the adoption of the current peacock logo).


    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live Action 
  • "Get Happy", most famously used in the movie musical ''Summer Stock'', though written twenty years earlier.
  • In The Blues Brothers, Jake's moment of epiphany happens at a church during a rendition of "The Old Landmark" (with James Brown presiding!).
  • In Blues Brothers 2000, 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 (2007): The Gospel cover of "Let It Be" is one of the best covers in the film. It's sung by a black church choir when Jo Jo's little brother has his funeral.
  • Most of the songs in 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 Joe's Apartment.
  • Forrest Gump: Forrest 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.
  • Preacher's Kid starts with just such a number from the Choir that Angie sings in. The film cuts back to other such numbers to show how the church is dealing with her absence.
  • In the Rat Pack movie Robin and the Seven Hoods, the gang tries to hide an illegal speakeasy from the police by disguising it as a prohibition meeting. This requires that they stop the show for an elaborate Gospel Choir number denouncing the evils of "Mr. Booze."

    Live-Action TV 


  • "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 Finian's Rainbow.
  • "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat" from Guys and Dolls.
  • "(If the Devil Answers) Hang Up" from By the Beautiful Sea.
  • "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" from Aida. Bonus points for being about a completely different pantheon.
  • 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.
  • "If You Believe" from Face the Music.
  • "I Got Religion" from Take a Chance.
  • "Rules, Regulations, and Respect" from Zombie Prom
  • "I Feel The Joy" from Hands on a Hardbody turns into this.
  • "We See The Light" from Something Rotten! turns into this. It's slightly ironic, because the gospel chorus is comprised of a group of all-white Puritans.
  • "Light at the End of the Tunnel" from Starlight Express.
  • Parodied in the Reduced Shakespeare Company's The Complete Millennium Musical with "Blame It On the Lord", a gospelly number about how it is God's fault when bad things happen to good people. And of course, sung by the same three white people as the rest of the show.
  • The Spongebob Musical has "Super Sea Star Savior", where a cult of sardines declare that Patrick Star is the one who will save them from the imminent volcanic eruption.
  • English composer/performer Anthony Newley got into the act with the revival song "Gonna Build a Mountain" from his musical Stop the World, I Want to Get Off.
  • The 1964 musical version of Golden Boy starring Sammy Davis Jr. had a rare serious version of this with "No More," with the refrain "I ain't bowing down no more!" Martin Luther King Jr. reportedly told Davis it was his favorite part of the show.

    Web Original 
  • "Heaven on Earth" from Me and My Dick, lampshaded in the chorus:
    Ooh, hallelujah
    Oooh, here we go
    Everything feels
    Like a gospel song
  • Jon and Al Kaplan's musical adaptation of The Help, "Eat My Shit".

    Western Animation 
  • "Everyone's Got a Song Inside" from Chowder a song about flatulence Chowder teaches a bunch of sing beans. After a dog eats the beans, Mung, Chowder, Schnitzel and Truffles have to sing the song instead for a dinner theater, much to the audience's chagrin.
  • 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.
    • Also, from the episode "Peter and Quagmire," "Train on the Water, Boat on a Track." The duo even bring on a choir to assist with this moment of creative weakness on Peter's part.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, Gospel choirs appear for "Give Up" and "The Flying Fishmonger".
  • The Simpsons: In "Faith Off," Bart becomes a faith healer and forms his own church. In one of his Masses, the residents of Springfield become a gospel choir to back up Bart in the song "Testify."