John Sellers

Brother John Sellers (May 27, 1924, Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States – March 27, 1999, Manhattan) was an American gospel and folk singer.

Sellers played in gospel tent shows while young. He was discovered by Mahalia Jackson, who brought him to Chicago in the 1930s to perform with her. He subsequently toured with Jackson in the 1940s. In the 1950s, he began playing secular music, and recorded his first album in 1954 for Vanguard Records. While on tour in Europe he recorded with Big Bill Broonzy; he also plays on the Ella Jenkins record A Long Time to Freedom.

Later in the 1950s, Sellers relocated to New York City, where he became active on the folk revival scene of Greenwich Village. He started a longtime partnership with Alvin Ailey, working with him as a musician on dance performances such as "Revelations" and "Blues Suite". Sellers was involved in the Broadway production of Tambourines to Glory by Langston Hughes, and performed at appearances by Studs Terkel.

Sellers died in Manhattan, New York, in March 1999, at the age of 74.

Birth and Death Data: Born 1924, Died 1999

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1950

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist

Notes: Also listed as Brother John Sellers.


Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 75844 2/9/1950 When the roll is called up yonder Brother John Sellers vocalist  
Decca 75845 2/9/1950 I started to make heaven my home Brother John Sellers vocalist  


Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Sellers, John," accessed June 16, 2021,

Sellers, John. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 16, 2021, from

"Sellers, John." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 16 June 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier



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