In 1969 Folk singer Peter Yarrow and Mary Beth McCarthy were married. Peter asked his band mate Noel “Paul” Stookey to “Bless” his marriage with a song. Noel, who had recently had a personal religious revival that included a conversion to Christianity, felt that he “did not have the authority” to bless Peter’s marriage, but he “knew” where he could get it. He “prayed for the lyrics” of a song and received the words and tune to “The Wedding Song” (There is Love).
The original recording and early performances of the song were sung in the third person “HE is now to be among you…This troubadour is acting in HIS part.” But eventually Noel decided that the “original version” was meant to be a direct message from God and so now he sings it “I am now to be among you…This troubadour is acting in MY part.”
As the lyrics are based on Biblical passages and as he considers that he received the song as a blessing form God, Stookey has never taken a penny for the song and has set up a charitable trust to receive all proceeds that the song has earned over the years.
It has been over 40 years since the “There is Love” was first recorded and it is still a perennial wedding/anniversary favorite and one of the most beautiful folk songs of all time. So, if I may be a bit personal I would like to dedicate this post to Karen Ruth Hamilton, my wife of 18 years who married me on February 27th, 1996. And since I cannot choose, I am linking three videos.
The first is the earliest recorded live performance from a concert by Peter, Paul, and Mary in Australia that was recorded in 1969.
The second is from Peter, Paul, and Mary’s 25th anniversary concert.
And the last is a amateur recording of a 2011 folk festival that is a bit shaky, but worth watching.