Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Sermonette: Edwin Hawkins and The Edwin Hawkins Singers -- "I Believe"

This song -- commissioned by pre-war singer/actress Jane Froman in 1953 for her tv show The Jane Froman Show as a response to the Korean War -- was the first hit song ever introduced on television. She said wanted to give people hope.  I don't know if it worked but it's a popular and enduring song that transcends genres.  Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- has covered it, from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra to Mahalia Jackson to Dolly Parton. 

Interestingly, Ms. Froman -- an educated Midwesterner (from Columbia, Missouri), a classically trained vocalist (Cincinnati Conservatory of Music), a genuine Hollywood movie star and a chronic stutterer  -- has not one but three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I've heard this song before, quite a lot. I don't like it or dislike it.  It's just there, like pleasant aural wallpaper.  Kinda pre-hippyish in this deliberate way that's so sincere, it's not schmaltzy at all. 

It's like that song Misty: You know it even if you think you don't know it. You don't quite know how you know it or when you learned it. It's just there, stuck in your head, like an earworm you carried into the world at birth.

What better gospel choir to do this song justice than the iconic Edwin Hawkins Singers?

Listen in and be blessed.
I believe for every drop of rain that falls
A flower grows,
I believe that somewhere in the darkest night
A candle glows,
I believe for everyone who goes astray,
Someone will come to show the way,
I believe, I believe.

I believe above the storm a smallest prayer
Will still be heard,
I believe that someone in the great somewhere
Hears every word,
Every time I hear a newborn baby cry,
Or touch a leaf, or see the sky,
Then I know why,
I believe.

Every time I hear a newborn baby cry,
Or touch a leaf, or see the sky,
Then I know why,
I believe.

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