Without the reality of Easter the death, the burial and the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ, the church would simply have no reason to exist.
There have been many glorious Easter songs written over the decades, songs written to strengthen our faith and quicken our spirits to the meaning of Christ's sacrifice for us. In 2004, we first pulled some of them together, and it generated intense interest. Now, in 2011, we're bringing this very popular feature back!
From the spirituals ("Were You There", "He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word") to the classic "I Know It Was The Blood" sung by Rev. James Cleveland and the Voices of Tabernacle, from Andrae Crouch's "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power" to contemporary songs such as Marvin Winans' "Worthy Is The Lamb Slain" from Introducing Perfected Praise, TriCity Singers "These Nails" from Finale and Youthful Praise's "He Lives", to hip hop gems such as The Cross Movement's " Blood Spilla" and "What Do You See", there is a wealth of material.
Here are some to consider:
- Rev. James Moore takes the old hymn "The Old Rugged Cross" to incredible places on his Live in Detroit album, moving to the ad libs on "Cherish The Cross" helped by keyboards from Rudolph Stanfield, and vocal support from Frank Williams.
- The Clark Sisters bring it home on Conquerors with "For The Love Of The People", and Twinkie Clark's writing is hard to forget on "He Was Hung Up For My Hang Ups", recorded by the COGIC International Mass Choir in 1975, with another version just reissued by Sound of Gospel in 2006 on their slate of new Mattie Moss Clark CD reissues (this version done by the Michigan State Community Choir).
- "Lamb Of God", written by Twila Paris was ably covered by Donnie McClurkin's New York Restoration Mass Choir on their Savoy release, Thank You Jesus, and was split into two consecutive tracks, with lead vocals from Olivia McClurkin. Then in 2006, Take 6 covered the same song on their Feels Good album, in their own inimitable a cappella way.
- "Calvary" Take your pick of several songs with this name. Richard Smallwood recently presented one on his Persuaded, Live in DC album. Natalie Wilson & SOP, Kim Burrell and others have other versions too. Smallwood also offered "The Resurrection", with his Richard Smallwood Singers some time ago on a Benson compilation. Although we haven't seen it in a good while but it is certifiably an Easter classic.
- "The Blood will Never Lose Its Power" from Andrae Crouch can't be missed. Crouch wrote the songbook for the praise and worship movement of the 60's and 70's with songs like "Jesus Is The Answer" and "Bless The Lord" among others.
- "He Decided To Die", sung by Donald Vails and the Choraleers, was written by Margaret Doureaux, and can be found on the Savoy/ Malaco compilation He Is Risen compilation from the late 1990s. This CD is the epitome of Good Friday. Rev. James Cleveland also recorded this song.
- "Oh Happy Day". Yes, the Edwin Hawkins Singers' hit makes the list, but not their version. The one that takes precedence here is the one found on Aretha Franklin's One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism double-album (featuring Mavis Staples). Aretha shows her creativity as a master story teller as she
recounts the story of Jesus from the garden of Gethsemane to Calvary to the resurrection. (Aretha first showed us she could give Dorothy Norwood and Shirley Caesar a run for their money as storytellers when she covered the story of Lazarus "walking like a natural man" in her version of "Mary Don't You Weep" from her 1972 Amazing Grace album.
- "Isaiah 53", "He Got Up" and "Jesus I Love You" were songs featured on Edwin Hawkins' first Music and Arts Seminar recording. They continue to be sung regularly by choirs today. "Jesus I Love You" became an instantly recognizable standard for Tramaine Hawkins.
- "He Got Up" from the The Voices of Binghhampton was our first introduction to Ted and Sheri and also Kevin Davidson.
See the larger list below for these and more classic Easter songs. You probably have your own favorites as well.
| Power In The Blood ||Sandra Crouch and Friends || We Sing Praises ||Light |
| Nothng But The Blood ||Sandra Crouch and Friends || We're Waiting ||Light |
| I Know It Was The Blood || Donnie McClurkin ||Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs Vol 1 || Verity |
| I Know It Was The Blood || Shirley Caesar ||Shirley Caesar and Friends
|| Word |
| Down At The Cross ||Chris and the Fellowship || Church Howse Music Hymnal 1 ||ChurchHowse Music |
| Oh Holy Lamb ||Youthful Praise || Live, The Praise, The Worship||Evidence Gospel |
| They Didn't Know ||Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr Singers ||One Church ||GospoCentric |
| The Blood Still Has Miraculous Power ||Kurt Carr and the Kurt Carr Singers ||Awesome Wonder ||GospoCentric |
| Worthy Is The Lamb || Daryl Coley || I'll Be With You || Light |
| At the Cross ||The New Life Community Choir f. John P. Kee || Blessed By Association ||Verity |
|Worship: I Will Praise Him ||Judith McAllister ||Raise The Praise ||Judah Music |
|I Know It Was The Blood ||Various Artists ||Nu Hymnz ||Tyscot |
|What A Man ||Sunny Hawkins ||More Of You ||Still Waters |
|It Wasn't Easy ||Cece Winans ||Alabaster Box ||Sparrow |
|Blood Medley ||Cece Winans ||Alone in His Presence ||Sparrow |
|Exchanged || Daryl Coley || Oh, The Lamb || Verity |
| Oh, The Lamb || Daryl Coley || Oh, The Lamb || Verity |
| Lamb Of God || Take 6 || Feels Good || Take 6 Records |
| These Nails || TriCity Singers || Finalé || EMI Gospel |
| You Did It All For Me || Richard Smallwood & Vision || Healing || Verity |
| Because He Lives ||COGIC International Mass Choir ||Because He Lives || Sony |
| Jesus O Lamb Of God || The Ricky Grundy Chorale || Spirit Come Down || Sparrow |
| Just As I Am || Yolanda Adams || Just As I Am || Sound of Gospel |
| Nothing But The Blood || The Thomas Whitfield Company || ...And They Sang A Hymn || Sound of Gospel |
| Nothing But The Blood || The Thomas Whitfield Company || Alive and Satisfied || Benson |
| Calvary || Maurette Brown Clark || By His Grace || AIR Gospel |
| He Proved He Loved Me || Ron Winans Family & Friends || Ron Winans Family & Friends 3 || Selah |
| He Lives || GMWA Women of Worship || Raisin' The Praise || Aleho International Music |
| Redeemed || New Jersey Mass Choir || Hold Up The Light || Light Records |
| O The Blood || New Jersey Mass Choir || Hold Up The Light || Light Records |
| I Know It Was The Blood || Woodrow Hayden || I Know It Was The Blood || JDI Records |
| I Know I've Been Washed in the Blood of The Lamb || Norman Hutchins || Battlefield || JDI Records |
| It Wasn't The Nails || Mississippi Mass Choir || It Remains To Be Seen || Malaco |
| Jesus Dropped The Charges || O'Neal Twins and the Interfaith Choir || Highway To Heaven || Savoy |
| He Lives || Youthful Praise
|| Awesome God || Evidence Gospel |
| I Know It Was The Blood || Deitrick Haddon || Nu Hymns, Vol. 1 || Tyscot |
|He Loves Me || Parkes Stewart
|| Another Chapter, (Ps. 51) || Paradigm |
| Calvary || Natalie Wilson & SOP || Girl Director || Gospo Centric |
| Calvary || Richard Smallwood and Vision || Persuaded, Live in DC || Verity Records |
| The Blood || James Hall and Worship and Praise || We Are At War
|| Destiny Music Group |
| Redeemed || The Winans || Let My People Go || Quest |
| He Gave His All || Fred Hammond || Thomas Whitfield : We Remember Him || Benson
| Celebrate (He Lives) || Fred Hammond
|| Somethin' 'Bout Love
|| Verity |
| God Is Not Dead || Joshua's Troop || Joshua's Troop || Tyscot |
| Oh What Love || Vickie Winans || Live In Detroit, Vol. 2 || CGI |
| He Is Risen || Carlis Moody || Listen With Your Heart || Podium |
| My Liberty || South East Inspirational Choir
|| 10th Annual Praise & Rededication Concert
|| Jewel |
| Calvary || Kim Burrell || Live in Memphis || Tommy Boy Gospel |
| He Got Up || The Voices of Binghamptom || New Haven || New Haven |
| Calvary || Damita Haddon || Damita || Atlantic |
| Marvellous || Walter Hawkins || Love Alive V || Gospo Centric |
| He Got Up On The Third Day || Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir || Jubilation III: Glory Train || Justin Time |
| Jesus Rose || Available To You || Rev. Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers || Word |
| Jesus Is Alive || William Murphy and the Motor City Mass Choir
|| Revival In The House || Integrity |
| He Decided To Die || Donald Vails and the Choraleers
|| He Is Risen || Malaco |
| For God So Loved The World
|| GMWA Mass Choir || 25th Anniversary || Verity |
| Born To Die || Hezekiah Walker and LFCC || Real Meaning of Christmas Vol. 1 || Verity |
| Isaiah 53
|| Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir || Edwin Hawkins Music and Arts Seminar Mass Choir || Polygram |
| Don't Cry || Kirk Franklin || The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin || Gospo Centric |
| Just For Me || Donnie McClurkin || Live in London || Verity |
| Blood Spilla || The Cross Movement || Heaven's Mentality || Cross Movement Records |
| What Do You See || The Cross Movement || Human Emergency || Cross Movement Records |
| He Was Hung Up For My Hang Ups || COGIC International Mass Choir || Unac 5 Live In Dallas ||Sound of Gospel|
| For The Love of The People || The Clark Sisters || Conqueror || Word / Rejoice |
| Worthy Is The Lamb Slain || Marvin Winans || Introducing Perfected Praise || Selah |
| He Lives ||LaShun Pace ||He Lives || Savoy |
| He Decided To Die || Rev. James Cleveland || Best of Rev. James Cleveland || Savoy |
| The Blood will Never Lose Its Power || Andrae Crouch || History Makers: Andrae Crouch || Sparrow |
| I'll Rise Again || Larnelle Harris ||Best of Larnelle ||Word |
| I've Just Seen Jesus || Larnelle Harris and Sandi Patty || I've Just Seen Jesus || Benson |
| Because He Lives || Reverend Cleophus Robinson || I Shall Know Him || Peacock |
| He Lives || Beverly Crawford || Live at Azusa || Atlantic |
| Just an Old Story || Rev. Richard White & The National Mass Choir of The Highway Churches of Christ
|| Just an Old Story
|| Malaco |
| The Old Rugged Cross || Rev. James Moore || Live in Detroit || Malaco |
| The Resurrection || Richard Smallwood Singers || Gospel Greats: The Richard Smallwood Singers || Benson |
| Oh Happy Day || Aretha Franklin and Mavis Staples || One Lord, One Faith, One
Baptism || Arista ||
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