Elvis Presley Once Released an Easter-themed Gospel Album ‘Easter Special’

by Clayton Edwards

Everyone knows that Elvis Presley was the King of Rock and Roll. However, The King also had a spiritual side. Presley recorded several gospel songs over the course of his career. Under all of his fame and fortune, he was a man of faith. So, he used his golden voice to share the Word of God the best way he knew how. It was from these gospel recordings that BMG compiled his Easter-themed gospel album.

Elvis Presley died in 1977. However, Elvis albums continued to drop for years to come. The King left behind a massive catalog of music. His studio sessions resulted in several songs that never made the final cut for his official albums or singles. So, there is a wealth of unreleased material just waiting to see the light of day.

Deep in the Elvis Presley vault are several studio outtakes of previously released songs. Sometimes, The King and his band would do dozens of takes on a single song. However, only one of those could go to the official release. So, the outtakes sat in the vault, adding to the wealth of hidden gems.

They mined that wealth for the 2011 compilation album Easter Special. The album contains 19 of Elvis Presley’s unreleased gospel tracks. Actually, Elvis released many of the tracks previously. However, the versions of those previously-released tracks on the Easter album were studio outtakes. So, they are rawer and therefore, show a different side of Elvis in the studio.

Elvis Presley’s Easter Special

Elvis Presley’s Easter Special starts with a commercial that The King recorded in 1957 for the March of Dimes. He urges listeners to donate to help kids get polio vaccines. In 2001, it was a bit late to help fund polio jabs. However, it is a wonderful way to start a gospel album. After all, the heart of The Gospel is love, faith, and charity.

The rest of the album is packed with previously unheard Elvis Presley gospel tracks. They’re all solid. Elvis’ spiritual recordings are among his best. So, it goes without saying that the songs chosen for the Easter Special are great. However, there are definitely some standout tracks on the album.

Two of those standout tracks are the up-tempo numbers “Joshua Fit the Battle,” and “So High.” The latter was one of Elvis Presley’s favorite gospel songs, according to The Elvis Information Network

“Joshua Fit the Battle,” tells the story of how Joshua brought the walls of Jericho down. Elvis Presley’s voice and his band’s accompaniment make this biblical story a driving country gospel tune that you can tap your feet to.

“So High,” on the other hand, is a straight-up praise song. Elvis Presley nails this one. Even in the outtake version included on the Easter Special, it’s solid gold. The song basically talks about the enormity and omnipotence of God. Again, The King makes this one his own. It’s a great tribute from the King of Rock and Roll to the King of Kings.

If you’re looking for a soundtrack to your Easter celebration, you should definitely check out Easter Special. It’s full of hidden gems. At the same time, it’s a rare look at Elvis Presley in the studio.