"Morning Has Broken" is a Christian hymn first published in 1931. It has words by English author Eleanor Farjeon and was inspired by the village of Alfriston in East Sussex, then set to a traditional Scottish Gaelic tune, "Bunessan".[1] It is often sung in children's services and in funeral services.[2]

Morning Has Broken
Eleanor Farjeon circa 1899
GenreChristian hymn (composer Martin Shaw)
TextEleanor Farjeon
Meter5.5.5.4 D
Performed1931 (1931)

English pop musician and folk singer Cat Stevens included a version on his album Teaser and the Firecat (1971). The song became identified with Stevens due to the popularity of this recording. It reached number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, number one on the U.S. easy listening chart in 1972,[3] and number four on the Canadian RPM magazine charts.[4]

Origins Edit

The hymn originally appeared in the second edition of Songs of Praise (published in 1931), to the tune "Bunessan", composed in the Scottish Islands. In Songs of Praise Discussed, the editor, Percy Dearmer, explains that as there was need for a hymn to give thanks for each day, English poet and children's author Eleanor Farjeon had been "asked to make a poem to fit the lovely Scottish tune." A slight variation on the original hymn, also written by Eleanor Farjeon, can be found in the form of a poem contributed to the anthology Children's Bells, under Farjeon's new title, "A Morning Song (For the First Day of Spring)", published by Oxford University Press in 1957. The song is noted in 9
time but with a 3

After appearing in Lachlan MacBean's Songs and Hymns of the Gael, "Bunessan" was used in the Revised Church Hymnary (1927) and the Appendix (1936) to the Irish Church Hymnal (1919) paired with the nativity text "Child in the Manger" by the Scottish poet Mary MacDonald (1789–1872), who lived on the Isle of Mull and was born there, near the village of Bunessan, for which the tune is named. The tune is also used for the James Quinn hymns "Christ Be Beside Me" and "This Day God Gives Me", both of which were adapted from the traditional Irish hymn "St. Patrick's Breastplate". Michael Saward's hymn "Baptized In Water" also uses the tune.

Cat Stevens recording Edit

"Morning Has Broken"
Single by Cat Stevens
from the album Teaser and the Firecat
B-side"I Want to Live in a Wigwam"
Released7 January 1972[5]
RecordedMarch 1971
StudioMorgan Studios, London
GenreFolk rock, soft rock, gospel
Producer(s)Paul Samwell-Smith
Cat Stevens singles chronology
"Peace Train"
"Morning Has Broken"
"The First Cut Is the Deepest"

Cat Stevens' recording, with piano arranged and performed by Rick Wakeman, led to international recognition of the song.

When shaping "Morning Has Broken" for recording, Stevens started with the hymn, which took around 45 seconds to sing in its basic form. Producer Paul Samwell-Smith told him he could never put something like that on an album, and that it had to be at least three minutes, though an acoustic demo of an early Stevens version lasts almost three minutes.[6] Prior to the actual recording Stevens heard Wakeman play something in the recording booth. It was a rough sketch of what would later become "Catherine Howard". Stevens told Wakeman that he liked it and wanted something similar as the opening section, the closing section and, if possible, a middle section as well. Wakeman told Stevens he could not as it was his piece destined for a solo album, but Stevens persuaded him to adapt his composition.[7][8] The single reached #9 on the UK Singles Chart and #6 on the US Billboard Hot 100 in 1972, becoming Stevens's most successful single on the latter chart (later tied by his rendition of "Another Saturday Night").

In 2000, Wakeman released an instrumental version of "Morning Has Broken" on an album of the same title. That same year he gave an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live in which he said he had agreed to perform on the Cat Stevens track for £10 and was "shattered" that he was omitted from the credits, adding that he never received the money either.[citation needed]

On his return to performance as Yusuf Islam, Stevens paid Wakeman and apologized for the original non-payment, which he said arose from confusion and misunderstanding by the record label. On a documentary aired on British television, Wakeman stated that he felt Stevens's version of "Morning Has Broken" was a very beautiful piece of music that had brought people closer to religious truth, for which he expressed satisfaction in having contributed.[citation needed] Wakeman included a 3:42 version on his 2017 album of piano arrangements, Piano Portraits.[citation needed]

The Stevens arrangement changes key four times, with the first, second, and fourth verses of the song in C major, while the instrumental introduction, third verse, and the instrumental ending are in D major.

Chart history Edit

Other versions Edit

The song has been recorded by many other artists, including The New Seekers, Judith Durham, Steven Curtis Chapman, Judy Collins, Michael Card, Floyd Cramer, Dana, Neil Diamond, Órla Fallon, Art Garfunkel, Ellen Greene, Esther Ofarim, Daliah Lavi, Joe Longthorne, Jojje Wadenius and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (2010),[18] the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Nana Mouskouri, Aaron Neville, Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, Joseph McManners, Sister Janet Mead, Mary O'Hara, Demis Roussos, Third Day, The Brilliance, Pam Tillis, Hayley Westenra, Roger Whittaker, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Libera (choir), Richard Souther and Dana Winner.[citation needed] A version by Isleville Symphonette reached No. 24 in the Canadian AC charts.[19]

The song has been translated into German ("Schön ist der Morgen", performed by Nana Mouskouri, and by Jürgen Henkys "Morgenlicht leuchtet" and included in the hymnal of the Protestant Church in Germany, Evangelisches Gesangbuch, under Nr. 455, and also in the hymnal of the Protestant (Reformed) Church of Switzerland, RG (reformiertes Gesangbuch), under Nr. 533. Also, the song has been translated into French ("Matin brisé", performed by Eva on her 1972 album L'orage), Dutch (Licht Op De Lakes performed by Rowwen Hèze[20]) and other languages.[21]

See also Edit

References Edit

  1. ^ "Morning Has Broken". Hymnary.org. Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  2. ^ "Revealed: The most popular songs for funerals". April 16, 2009.
  3. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Ed. (Billboard Publications),
  4. ^ a b "RPM100 Singles" (PDF). RPM. 3 June 1972. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  5. ^ "Cat Stevens - Morning Has Broken". 45cat.
  6. ^ "Cat Stevens - Morning Has Broken (Demo)". YouTube. 2013-11-16. Archived from the original on 2011-11-12. Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  7. ^ "Progressiveworld.net: Reviews by John "Bobo" Bollenberg". Archived from the original on 2009-11-04. Retrieved 2009-10-24.
  8. ^ "Rick Wakeman telling the story of recording Morning has Broken with Cat Stevens". YouTube. Archived from the original on 2021-12-13.
  9. ^ "MOR Playlist" (PDF). RPM. 13 May 1972. Retrieved 6 March 2022.
  10. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Morning Has Broken". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved June 25, 2017.
  11. ^ Flavour of New Zealand, 15 May 1972
  12. ^ "SA Charts 1965–March 1989". Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  13. ^ "CAT STEVENS | full Official Chart History | Official Charts Company". www.officialcharts.com.
  14. ^ Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  15. ^ Billboard Adult Contemporary Chart Archive, May 13, 1972 Retrieved 5 April 2020.
  16. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 6/10/72". tropicalglen.com.
  17. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1972/Top 100 Songs of 1972". www.musicoutfitters.com.
  18. ^ "Reconnection / Georg Wadenius" (in Swedish). Svensk mediedatabas. 2010. Retrieved 10 January 2016.
  19. ^ "RPM AC Singles - September 16, 1972" (PDF).
  20. ^ ROWWEN HÈZE - ZOET VERDRIET. Popstukken, March 2003
  21. ^ Secondhand songs page lists about 10 adaptations.

External links Edit