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New Orleans, United States
Mahalia Jackson (1911–1972 ) was a U.S. gospel singer, widely regarded as the best in the history of the genre.
Born on 26th October 1911, Jackson grew up in the “Black Pearl” section of the Carrollton neighbourhood of uptown New Orleans, Louisiana, and began singing in a Baptist church. In 1927 she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she sang with the johnson brothers, one of the earliest professional gospel groups.
The Johnson Brothers broke up in the mid-1930s, and Jackson began her solo career, recording for Decca in 1937. The result, “God’s Gonna Separate the Wheat from the Tares”, was only a moderate success, but Jackson became a popular concert draw. She didn’t record again untill 1946, when she signed with Apollo Records, releasing several singles that are now highly regarded, though sales were sluggish at the time. “Move On up a Little Higher” (1948) became a huge success, however, and stores could not stock enough of it to meet demand. Jackson rocketed to fame in the U.S. and soon afterwards in Europe. “I Can Put My Trust in Jesus” won a prize from the French Academy, and “Silent Night” was one of the best-selling singles in the history of Norway. She began a radio series on CBS and signed to Columbia Records in 1954. With her mainstream success came an inevitable backlash from gospel purists who felt she had watered down her sound for popular accessibility.