Monday, January 14, 2013

BIG AL's JOVIAL JUKEBOX #10 : "The Exodus Song" by PETER AND GORDON, 1966

OK, so if you've gotten to know me thru this little blog at all, there a few things you have come to learn about me.  One of them, surely, is that I am about as Pro-Israel as a guy can get.   I make no apologies for this... I am convinced of the rightness of it, not just Biblically, but historically, socially and  even pragmatically.   I have heard all the arguments-- whether religious ones or political ones-- from Preterists, Arab exchange students, Black MuslimsCovenant Theologians, Calvinist Re-constructionists, Obama democrats, old school Liberals [sometimes themselves Jewish] and even many of my fellow Libertarian-leaning Conservatives... but I still stand firm on this. 

Israel is no ordinary nation, plain and simple... and therefore ordinary answers just don't satisfy.  When the USA abandons Israel as a nation and an ally, it will be to our great peril.  Mark it down.  Sorry if that offends you... but please just tolerate me, as I promise to surely tolerate you!

So... what does all this have to do with my "Jovial Jukebox?" Well, my latest installment in that series happens to be a pop song about Israel, recorded by a British invasion teen-idol duo back in 1966.  Peter And Gordon [real names Peter Asher and Gordon Waller... yep, good British Jews both] recorded this song for their Lady Godiva album-- which was a vinyl selection at home when I was a wee lad-- and did a great version of it.  My older brother Steve used to play it a lot and loved to sing along with it.  It was not a hit for them, but it is still remembered fondly in some quarters, judging by the Youtube comments.

The song itself started life as the hugely successful instrumental theme for the 1960 film EXODUS, adapted from the classic Leon Uris novel of the same name.   [By the way, I would heartily  recommend both the book and, to a lesser extent,  the movie.  Though both have been roundly criticized for alterations of certain historical facts-- I should say I still  think Uris actually used LESS "license" with historical facts than most other historical novelists have,  especially those writing today!--  They tell the story of the 1948 birth of modern Israel in a vigorous dramatic fashion.]   The theme, composed by Ernest Gold, was a huge international hit, and as a result many top song-writers submitted their lyrics to Gold, hoping to cash in on the inevitable "version with words."  Interestingly Gold is said to have rejected over 50 submissions-- even some by heavyweight Jewish song-writers like Carole King and Hal David, in favor of one from a famous singer known as Pat Boone.

Yep, you read that right... Pat Boone.  The lyrics of this song were supplied by none other than the fundamentalist Christian direct descendant of Dan'l Boone... the singer of "April Love" and "A Wonderful Time Up There"...  Mr. "White Buck Shoes" himself... THE Pat Boone!

Boone remembers how he came to write these lyrics {which, by the way, would earn him a pretty penny in writing royalties-- especially after Andy Williams and Edith Piaf would record his great lyrics) one Christmas eve when he had been listening to Gold's version several times on end::

“As I set the needle down, maybe for the 30th time, and the music goes “Bum Bum… Bum Bum,”  the words “This land… is mine”  came out of me,” said Boone.

“I had been reading about Ari Ben-Canaan in the book, and thinking about Moses and Joshua, and I realized that it had to be personal, one person’s statement – not a grand scheme statement; a declaration to the land and ownership to the land.

“When those four words came out, I said to myself, that’s it – that’s the whole story!

“And I grabbed something to write it down with, and immediately ‘God gave this land to me’ came out. And in 20 or 25 minutes, I had written the whole lyric, almost as fast as I could put the needle back on to hear the next passage.

“When I turned over the piece of paper I had written the words on, I realized that it was a Christmas card – and I had written on it what became the second Jewish national anthem. For me, that was so appropriate, because it was an amalgam of everything I believe coming together. This land is God’s covenant to his people, and it’s never going to change.”

So there you have it:  an American Evangelical Christian's Christmas Card to the [literal] Sons of Abraham!

And here is my personal favorite version... by 2 English Jews who made the song a pop classic:

 This land is mine, God gave this land to me
This brave and ancient land to me
And when the morning sun reveals her hills and plain
Then I see a land where children can run free. 

So take my hand and walk this land with me
And walk this lovely land with me
Though I am just a man, when you are by my side
With the help of God, I know I can be strong.

Though I am just a man, when you are by my side
With the help of God, I know I can be strong

To make this land our home
If I must fight, I'll fight to make this land our own
Until I die, this land is mine.

"Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: they shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish.
Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: they that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought.
For I the LORD thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee." -- Isaiah 41:11-13

UPDATE, Jan. 19, 2014:   I just love surf music, DelFi Records and The Lively Ones... so i couldn't help but add this instrumental version once I found on glorious Youtube! 

Check it out, also!



old guy rambling said...

Ah-1966 remember it well-the year I graduated from High School.
I also remember this song but not all the history, good lesson.

Albie The Good said...

Thanks OLD GUY :)

Hope ya had a great holiday!