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Elvis SongPedia: Swing Down Sweet Chariot

Swing Down Sweet Chariot

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Basic Stats

(Just the facts, ma'am!)

Written by: Traditional, arranged and adapted by Elvis Presley

First Version:
October 31, 1960, RCA Studio B, Nashville
Released master is take 4.
Second Version: October 23, 1968, United Recorders, Hollywood
Released master is take 10.

Single: w/ "Milky White Way", Gold Standard Series original release, 447-0652, February 15, 1966.

Highest U.S. Charts Positions:
Didn't chart

1st LP release: His Hand In Mine - December 1960
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Lyrics and Downloads section below.

My Spin

(Just my opinion. Give us yours!)

Not to be confused with the earlier spiritual ballad "Swing LOW Sweet Chariot", this one is mid-tempo and has updated lyrics and arrangement. Elvis had met the Golden Gate Quartet while on leave from the army in Paris. They jammed a little backstage after one of their performances, and "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" was undoubtedly one of theirs that Elvis particularly liked. His recording a year later was one of the highlights of his first full-length gospel album, His Hand In Mine. As with all the tunes from that album, Elvis and the Jordanaires give it the classic southern gospel quartet sound.

Elvis also performed this one at his live appearance in Hawaii in March of 1961. It was a bit of a surprising choice to add to his live set. In 1968, Elvis revisited the song in the studio for the soundtrack of The Trouble With Girls. This newer version is a bit faster, and The Mello Men provide the backup vocals. I like both studio recordings equally. Elvis always shone with a gospel tune, especially an infectious upbeat song like this one.

Other Spins

(What did the critics and fans say?)

The arrangement of "Swing Down Sweet Chariot" is in fast, close-harmony style. Presley threads through the intricate vocal tapestry effectively here.

Robert Matthew-Walker, Elvis Presley: A Study in Music, 1979

A rocking gospel - powerful, fast, soulful - one of the very best.

Martin Torgoff, The Complete Elvis, 1982

Check out other Elvis fans' opinions on the Elvis News page for Swing Down Sweet Chariot

Check out other opinions at Rate Your Music

"Swing Down Sweet Chariot" Links

"Swing Down Sweet Chariot" Lyrics and Downloads

Why don't you swing down sweet chariot, stop and let me ride
Swing down chariot, stop and let me ride
Rock me lord, rock me lord, calm and easy
Well I’ve got a home on the other side

[Repeat Chorus]

Well, well, well, well, well, well
Ezekial went down in the middle of a field
He saw an angel workin' on a chariot wheel
Wasn't so particular 'bout the chariot wheel
Just wanted to see how a chariot feel

[Repeat Chorus]

Well, well, well Ezekial went down and he got on board
Chariot went a bumpin' on down the road
Zeke wasn't so particular 'bout the bumpin' of the road
Just wanted to lay down his heavy load

[Repeat Chorus]

Well I got a father in the promised land
Ain't gonna stop until I shake his hand
Rock me lord, rock me lord
Calm and easy
I've got a home on the other side

[Repeat Chorus]
Download the Karaoke Version!

Swing Down Sweet Chariot karaoke - Elvis PresleySwing Down Sweet Chariot
Elvis Presley

Download or just listen to different versions from CD Universe!

... or different versions by other artists!

"Swing Down Sweet Chariot" Videos


What's YOUR Spin on "Swing Down Sweet Chariot"?
Yea or Nay?

Yea! A Fine Upbeat Gospel Classic!

Nay! Swing Over and Let Me Off!

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Elvis song reference books on Amazon!

Ernst Jorgensen's complete chronicle of Elvis' recording sessions, with loads of detailed information about each session and each song.
This is the definitive encyclopedia on Elvis' life details, as well as all the background and trivia you need for all the songs, movies, and TV appearances. Authors are Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius.
The subtitle of Ace Collins' book says it all: "The stories behind Elvis' #1 hits"!
"Elvis The #1 Hits: The Secret History of the Classics". Another self-explanatory book title. :)