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Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments - Ethel Waters

Ethel Waters was an American original – actress, activist and singer of such classic songs as “Stand by Me.”

Ethel Waters was one of America’s greatest artists – in any field. Born in grinding poverty, her natural talent for singing led her to the Black vaudeville circle and eventually to the Cotton Club. She sang in African American movies before moving to mainstream films. Waters was one of the artists ever to be nominated for Best Song – “Happiness is Just A Thing Called Joe” and Best Supporting Actress – in the film Pinky in 1949.

She sang with a number of top band leaders and had hits like “Stormy Monday,” “Am I Blue,” “Cabin in the Sky” and her signature song, “His Eye is on the Sparrow.” And she was also one of the first Blacks to appear on network television in the 1950s and early ‘60s.

Ethel made a public profession of faith at age 60 at a Billy Graham concert, and began yet another career, this time as a singer of religious songs. From 1963, here’s Ethel Waters’ rendition of the Charles Tindley classic, “Stand by Me.”

2303 Ethel Waters - Stand By Me.mp3

MUSIC: ) “Stand By Me,” Ethel Waters, His Eye is on the Sparrow, LP, Side 2, Track 3

I’m Robert Darden … “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” is produced by KWBU, the Black Gospel Music Preservation Program at Baylor University Libraries and is funded by generous support from the Prichard Foundation.