70s MusicElvis Presley

Elvis Presley – Reach Out to Jesus

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“Reach Out to Jesus” is a gospel song originally written and recorded by African American singer, songwriter and musician Ralph Carmichael in 1967. Carmichael grew up in a religious household and was inspired to write Christian music from a young age. In 1967, amidst the upheaval of the civil rights movement and growing racial tensions, Carmichael penned “Reach Out to Jesus” as an appeal for unity and solace in difficult times.

The song was first recorded by Carmichael’s group The Young People and released as a single that year. Though it did not achieve significant mainstream success initially, “Reach Out to Jesus” found popularity within Christian music circles. The simple, earnest lyrics and uplifting melody resonated with gospel listeners: “Reach out to Jesus/He’s reaching out to you/Just take hold of his hand/He’ll lead you through.”

In 1972, Elvis Presley decided to record a gospel album entitled He Touched Me. Though he was renowned for rock n’ roll, Presley had grown up singing gospel music in church and wanted to return to those roots. For the album, Presley chose several traditional gospel tracks along with more contemporary Christian songs like “Reach Out to Jesus.” His powerful, soulful rendition finally brought the song into the mainstream.

Released as a single in 1972, Presley’s version of “Reach Out to Jesus” became a major hit, peaking at number 79 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It brought greater exposure not only to the song but to the genre of gospel music overall. Presley infused “Reach Out to Jesus” with his signature style while retaining the genuine spirituality of Carmichael’s original composition. Though Presley faced some criticism from the religious establishment over his sexually provocative rock persona, the success of the single affirmed his lifelong Christian faith.

“Reach Out to Jesus” emerged during a time of great social change and unrest in America. The civil rights movement, Vietnam War, youth counterculture and sexual revolution upended tradition and spurred questions of identity and purpose. With its simple directive to seek solace in faith, “Reach Out to Jesus” resonated across racial and generational divides. The song exemplified Elvis Presley’s desire to use his far-reaching platform to provide hope and uplift his fellow man.

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Nearly 50 years since its release, “Reach Out to Jesus” remains a poignant and iconic gospel standard. It stands as a testament to the unifying and healing power of music, Elvis Presley’s diverse talents, and the universal human impulse to seek meaning in troubled times. Though styles and culture continue to rapidly evolve, the straightforward message at the heart of “Reach Out to Jesus” still holds power and relevance today.

Let’s enjoy the song through the video!

Here are the lyrics of the song: “Reach Out To Jesus”


Is your burden heavy as you bear it all alone?
Does the road you travel, harbor dangers yet unknown?
Are you growin’ weary in the struggle of it all?
Jesus will help you when on his name you callHe’s always there hearing every prayer, faithful and true
Walking by our side, in his love we’ll hide all the day through
When you get discouraged just remember what to do
Reach out to Jesus, he’s reaching out to you

Is the life you’re living filled with sorrow and despair?
Does the future press you with its worry and its care?
Are you tired and friendless, have you almost lost your way?
Jesus will help you, just call to him today

He’s always there hearing every prayer, faithful and true
Walking by our side, in his love we’ll hide all the day through
When you get discouraged just remember what to do
Reach out to Jesus,
Come on and reach out to Jesus,
I said reach out to Jesus,
He’s reaching out to you

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