9 Great Pop Songs For Easter

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01
of 09

Adele - "Make You Feel My Love" (2008)

Adele Make You Feel My Love
Adele - "Make You Feel My Love". Courtesy Columbia

"Make You Feel My Love" was written by Bob Dylan and appears on his 1997 album Time Out Of MindAdele recorded the song for her debut album 19.  It was released in the UK as the fifth single from the album and peaked at #26.  However, after "Make You Feel My Love" was performed by contestants on , it eventually reached a #4 peak on the UK pop singles chart and has reappeared on the chart multiple times. Lyrically, the song movingly presents the healing power of an all-encompassing love.

02
of 09

Yvonne Elliman - "I Don't Know How To Love Him" (1971)

Yvonne Elliman I Don't Know How To Love Him
Yvonne Elliman - "I Don't Know How To Love Him". Courtesy MCA

The rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar was both highly praised and reviled on its first appearance.  A signature element of its presentation of the story of Jesus was a look at the personal psychology of those who took part in the events leading up to his crucifixion and resurrection.  One of the most controversial portrayals was that of Mary Magdalene and her unrequited love for Jesus.  "I Don't Know How To Love Him" powerfully presents her personal confusion in understanding her attraction to Jesus. The song was a top 40 pop hit in the US both with Yvonne Elliman's original cast version and Helen Reddy's cover.

03
of 09

Fatboy Slim - "Praise You" (1999)

Fatboy Slim Praise You
Fatboy Slim - "Praise You". Courtesy Astralwerks

UK DJ Fatboy Slim, aka Norman Cook, became a pop star with a series of recordings using the art of sampling to create addictive dance pop. It was a #1 smash pop hit in the UK and is thus far Fatboy Slim's only top 40 pop hit in the US. "Praise You" incorporates the opening lines of Camille Yarbrough's powerfully intimate song "Take Yo' Praise" from the 1975 album The Iron Pot Cooker.  "Praise You" is accompanied by a fascinating guerilla style Spike Jonze directed video.  The song provides an outstanding opportunity to contemplate the meaning of praise in both an interpersonal and broader religious sense.

04
of 09

Judy Garland and Fred Astaire - "Easter Parade" (1948)

Easter Parade Soundtrack
Easter Parade Soundtrack. Courtesy Rhino

In 1948 MGM built a movie around Irving Berlin's 1930s pop standard "Easter Parade."  The performance of the song closes the movie.  Easter Parade was a major boxoffice success and won an Academy Award for Best Original Music Score.

05
of 09

Joan Osborne - "One Of Us" (1995)

Joan Osborne One Of Us
Joan Osborne - "One Of Us". Courtesy Mercury

Singer-songwriter Joan Osborne became a pop star with the release of the single "One Of Us" in 1995.  The song was written by Eric Bazilian of the Hooters and, while working on the music for Joan Osborne's debut album Relish, he played a demo for the production team and producer Rick Chertoff asked Joan Osborne if she could sing the song.  Ultimately the song was a top 10 pop smash.  "One Of Us" is built around the concept of what might happen if we discovered God was simply, "One of us."  The singer asks if it would ultimately make us believe in other religious concepts including Jesus.  This recording begins with a sample of a 1937 field recording of Nell Hampton singing a variant of the hymn "Heavenly Aeroplane."

06
of 09

Rihanna - "We Found Love" featuring Calvin Harris (2011)

Rihanna - We Found Love featuring Calvin Harris
Rihanna - "We Found Love" featuring Calvin Harris. Courtesy Def Jam

It would be easy to dismiss Rihanna's #1 smash hit "We Found Love" as simply a piece of dance-pop fluff.  However, the song's central line, "We found love in a hopeless place" begins to sink in with deeper meaning as it is repeated like a mantra throughout the song.  The accompanying music video expands on the concept in somewhat brutal fashion.  At Easter the song is a reminder that the love which infuses this holiday can be found in even the most dire settings.

07
of 09

Cat Stevens - "Morning Has Broken" (1972)

Cat Stevens Morning Has Broken
Cat Stevens - "Morning Has Broken". Courtesy A&M

"Morning Has Broken" was first published as a Christian hymn in 1931. The words were written by English children's author Eleanor Farjeon and the music is a traditional Scottish tune titled "Bunessan."  The song celebrates and gives thanks for the opening of every day.  The piano arrangement on Cat Stevens' version of "Morning Has Broken" was performed by Rick Wakeman of art rock group Yes.  The song was a top 10 pop hit in the US and has since been recorded by a wide range of other artists.

08
of 09

U2 - "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1983)

U2 Sunday Bloody Sunday
U2 - "Sunday Bloody Sunday". Courtesy Island

"Sunday Bloody Sunday" is both a political protest song by U2 and a hopeful commentary on the healing power of the Easter story.  The lyrics in the song refer to both an event in the Irish War Of Independence and an event in the political violence in Northern Ireland.  However, philosophically the song expands well beyond those specific events.  "Sunday Bloody Sunday" concludes with an allusion to Easter Sunday when Bono sings, "The real battle just begun to claim the victory Jesus won on Sunday bloody Sunday."

09
of 09

Kanye West - "Jesus Walks" (2004)

Kanye West Jesus Walks
Kanye West - "Jesus Walks". Courtesy Def Jam

"Jesus Walks" is Kanye West's celebration of the idea that Jesus walks with all from the most egregious sinners to the most saintly. The rapping in the song also addresses the difficulties and naysaying Kanye West encountered in wanting to record the song.  Ultimately, "Jesus Walks" was a major critical success being ranked as one of the top songs of the year by many publications.  It was also certified gold for sales and peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100.