Crying in the Chapel

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"Crying in the Chapel"
Crying in the Chapel 1953 sheet music.jpg
1953 sheet music cover with Darrell Glenn
Song by Darrell Glenn
Written 1953
Songwriter(s) Artie Glenn[1]

"Crying in the Chapel" is a song written by Artie Glenn for his son Darrell to sing. Darrell recorded it while still in high school in 1953, along with Artie's band the Rhythm Riders. The song was rejected by Hill and Range Songs and Acuff-Rose Music. The song was eventually published by Valley Publishers which also released the single featuring Darrell Glenn. It became a local hit and then it went nationwide. The original version of the song (Valley 105) was issued in May 1953.[2] [3] The song became one of the most covered of 1953. Darrell Glenn's original recording reached number one on the Cash Box charts (where all versions were amalgamated) and number six on Billboard. Darrell Glenn's original version also hit number six on the Billboard pop singles chart and number four on the Billboard country and western chart, Rex Allen's number eight, Ella Fitzgerald number 15, and Art Lund reached number 23.[4]

A recording by June Valli with orchestra directed by Joe Reisman was made in New York City on June 11, 1953. It was released by RCA Victor Records as catalog umber 20-5368 (in USA)[5] and by EMI on the His Master's Voice label as catalog numbers HR 10007, N 14105 and CS 14. This was the most successful pop version on the Billboard charts, reaching number four after charting for 17 weeks beginning August 1, 1953.

Elvis Presley version[edit]

On October 30, 1960, Elvis Presley recorded a version of the song during the sessions for his RCA Victor gospel album, His Hand in Mine.[6] It was not included on that album, but rather was held back by RCA Victor and finally released as an "Easter Special" single (447-0643) in April 1965,[7] hitting number three on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and topping the Easy Listening chart for seven weeks,[8] the greatest chart success for Presley over a six-year span. The single reached number one on the British charts in 1965 where it stayed for two weeks.[9] It was later included as a bonus track on Presley's 1967 gospel album, How Great Thou Art.[10] The single was eventually certified "Platinum" by the RIAA for sales in excess of one million units in the US.[citation needed]

Bob Marley & The Wailers version[edit]

In April, 1968, the vocal trio The Wailers, featuring Bob Marley on lead vocals and guitar, Rita Marley (replacing Bunny Wailer) and Peter Tosh on harmony vocals, backed by Rastafarian nyabinghi percussion group Ras Michael & the Sons of Negus recorded an adapted version of the song in Kingston, Jamaica. Its lyrics were adapted from the Orioles' version by Rasta leader Mortimo Planno, who also produced and pressed the single entitled "Selassie Is the Chapel", the first ever Rastafarian song recorded and released by Marley. The song is thus meaningful to Rastafarians as its lyrics were modified in order to affirm the divinity of Haile Selassie as the born again Christ.

Only a few hundred copies of the single were pressed on a blank label at the time, making it a much sought-after rarity for decades. It was finally reissued and documented on CD on the album Selassie Is the Chapel (JAD Records, 1997), as part of the Complete Bob Marley & the Wailers 1967 to 1972 series produced by Bruno Blum and Roger Steffens. A vinyl single was also released by JAD in 2002. The recording was reissued on that single along with the original Mortimo Planno-voiced flip side, Rastafarian cult song "A Little Prayer" as well as on the 2002 four CD Marley Rebel anthology set released in France only and deleted in 2003. A "Selassie Is the Chapel" remix produced by Blum, with a contribution by The Wailers, was released on the European Rastafari label in 1998 (and the Jamaican Human Race label a few years later) as "War/Selassie Is the Chapel". They feature a virtual duet between Marley and Ethiopian emperor Selassie in medley style. This duet version single hit number one in the UK Echoes magazine in April 1998. A dub version entitled "War/Selassie in Dub" was released on the flip side. A later Jamaican DJ version by Joseph Cotton entitled "Conflicts" was released on the Rastafari label in 2009.

Other versions[edit]

More than 50 artists have released a version of "Crying in the Chapel".[11]

  • The black R&B group, The Orioles, recorded a cover version of the song which became a major success in 1953. The Orioles' version went to number one on the R&B chart and number eleven on the pop chart.[12] It was included on the soundtrack album for the film American Graffiti.
  • Arne Alm wrote the Swedish lyrics. Raya Avellan and Yngve Stoors Hawaiiorkester recorded "Klockorna i dalen" in Stockholm on October 10, 1953. The song was released on the 78 rpm record Cupol 4780.
  • Ken Griffin recorded a version in 1953.
  • Lee Lawrence recorded a version which peaked at No. 7 in the UK Singles Chart in 1953.[13]
  • Ella Fitzgerald released her version of the song on the B-side of her 1953 single "When the Hands of the Clock Pray at Midnight" (Decca 28762).[14]
  • Little Richard recorded a version in 1963 for Atlantic Records, which became a "Regional" hit on the Billboard Charts.
  • Carol Fran recorded a version in 1964 for Port Records.[15]
  • The Platters recorded a version in 1964 for Mercury Records.[16]
  • Santo & Johnny included the song on their 1964 album In the Still of the Night.[17]
  • In 1965, the argentinian vocal group "Los 5 Latinos" with Estela Raval on the leading voice, recorded an Spanish version of the song, entitled "Llorando en la capilla", included in their album "El Show. Vol. 2".[18]
  • In 1966 the Venezuelan singer Mirtha Perez made a local hit of this song in her first album as soloist, Mirtha Solita, entitled "Llorando en la capilla", with arrangements by the director Jose Gay and using as background vocals the members of group "Hermanos O Brien", after, Las 4 monedas.


  • Roy Carr & Mick Farren: Elvis: The Illustrated Record (Harmony Books, 1982), pp. 97, 106.


  1. ^ Rice, Jo (1982). The Guinness Book of 500 Number One Hits (1st ed.). Enfield, Middlesex: Guinness Superlatives Ltd. p. 93. ISBN 0-85112-250-7. 
  2. ^ "Darrell Glenn". 1990-04-09. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  3. ^ Coming Up in the Trade. Country & Western. Billboard May 23, 1953 page 138
  4. ^ Joel Whitburn's Pop Memories 1890-1954
  5. ^ "RCA Victor 20-5000 - 5500 78rpm numerical listing discography". Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Elvis Discography 1965". Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  8. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 196. 
  9. ^ "ChartArchive - The Chart Archive". Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  10. ^ "Elvis Discography 1967". Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  11. ^ "Original versions of Crying in the Chapel written by Artie Glenn". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  12. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2004). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-2004. Record Research. p. 444. 
  13. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 314. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  14. ^ "A Jazz Anthology MP3 Choose listen download MP3 tunes jazz artists". 2013-11-25. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  15. ^ "Carol Fran". 1965-06-10. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  16. ^ "Marv Goldberg's R&B Notebooks - PLATTERS". Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  17. ^ "Original versions of Crying in the Chapel by Santo & Johnny". SecondHandSongs. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  18. ^ "EL SHOW VOLUMEN 2 de Estela Raval". CMTV. Retrieved 2016-09-28. 
Preceded by
"The Clock" by Johnny Ace and The Beale Streeters
Billboard National R&B Best Sellers number-one single (Sonny Till and the Orioles version)
August 22 – September 12, 1953
Succeeded by
"Shake a Hand" by Faye Adams
Preceded by
Vaya con Dios
Cash Box magazine best selling record chart number-one single
September 5, 1953
September 19 – 26, 1953
Succeeded by
You, You, You
Preceded by
"Cast Your Fate to the Wind" by Sounds Orchestral
Billboard Easy Listening number-one single (Elvis Presley version)
May 22 – July 3, 1965
Succeeded by
"A Walk in the Black Forest" by Horst Jankowski
Preceded by
"Long Live Love" by Sandie Shaw
UK number-one single (Elvis Presley version)
17 June 1965
1 July 1965
Succeeded by
"I'm Alive" by The Hollies