Ain't No Grave

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Ain't No Grave (also known as Gonna Hold This Body Down) is a traditional American gospel song attributed to Claude Ely (1922-1978) of Virginia.

Claude Ely describes inventing the song while sick with tuberculosis in 1934 when he was ten years old. His family prayed for his health, and in response he spontaneously performed this song. Originally recorded by Bozie Sturdivant in 1941;[1] Ely's version recorded in 1953 but composed in 1934[2] Many notable artists have performed the song, including Johnny Cash on the posthumous album American VI: Ain't No Grave. The song was featured in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke while Luke (Paul Newman) is digging a grave, and it was also featured in the 1997 film, The Apostle, starring Robert Duvall.

The Undertaker used the song as his entrance theme for his Wrestlemania 27 with Triple H.


  1. ^ Michael Stone and Brian Peters. "Reviews of the Library of Congress archives reissued on Rounder Records". RootsWorld Online World Music Magazine. Retrieved August 22, 2011. 
  2. ^ Radio Diaries (5 May 2011). "A Nephew's Quest: Who Was Brother Claude Ely?". National Public Radio. Retrieved 6 May 2011.