Wedding Song (There Is Love)

From Seeds of the Word, the encyclopedia of the influence of the Gospel on culture

"Wedding Song (There Is Love)" is a title of a 1971 hit single by Paul Stookey: the song—which Stookey credits to divine inspiration—[1] has since been recorded by many singers (with versions by Petula Clark and Mary MacGregor returning it to the Billboard Hot 100)—and remains a popular choice for performance at weddings.

Composition and original recording

Stookey had first performed the song at the wedding of Peter Yarrow—Stookey's co-member of Peter Paul & Mary—to Mary Beth McCarthy at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Willmar, Minnesota. Stookey was best man at the ceremony, which took place in the evening of October 18, 1969.

Stookey recorded "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" for his solo album Paul and, which was released on July 23, 1971. On this track he accompanied himself on a 12-string guitar tuned a tone and a half down. On June 28, 1971, "Wedding Song" was issued as an advance single from the Paul and album. It reached No. 24 on the Hot 100 in Billboard and reached No. 3 on the Easy Listening chart.[2] Internationally, Stookey reached No. 31 in Canada and No. 55 in Australia with "Wedding Song".

Petula Clark version

"Wedding Song
(There Is Love)"
Single by Petula Clark
from the album Now
B-side"Song Without End" US/UK
"My Guy" Australia
ReleasedSeptember 1972 US
October 1972 Australia/UK
RecordedJuly 1972
GenreEasy listening
Songwriter(s)Noel Paul Stookey
Producer(s)Mike Curb, Don Costa
Petula Clark US singles chronology
"My Guy"
"Wedding Song
(There Is Love)
""I Can't Remember (How It Was Before)""
Petula Clark UK singles chronology
I Don't Know How to Love Him
"Wedding Song (There Is Love)"
"I Can't Remember (How It Was Before)"
Petula Clark Australian singles chronology
"The World Song"
""Wedding Song"
"(Let The Love Light In Your Eyes) Lead Me On"

Petula Clark recorded "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" in the August 1972 sessions at Trident Recording Studios in London for her album Now produced by Mike Curb with the album's arranger Don Costa. "Wedding Song..." was issued in September 1972 as the second advance single from the Now album which would be a December 1972 release: "Wedding Song..." would chart at No. 9 on the Adult contemporary music charts and reached No. 65 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the UK "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" had an October 6, 1972 single release, being Clark's first UK single release since "I Don't Know How to Love Him" in November 1971.[3] "Wedding Song..." did not enter the UK singles chart despite being aired on October 26, 1972 Top of the Pops broadcast. [4]

A minor mainstream Pop chart item in Canada with a No. 67 peak, "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" afforded Clark a major hit in Australia in the spring of 1973, spending 11 weeks in the Top 20 with a peak of No. 10. Clark also recorded a French rendering of "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" entitled "Il est temps", featuring lyrics by Pierre Delanoë: this version was issued as the B-side of Clark's December 1972 French single release "Bleu, Blanc, Rouge" and was included on Clark's 1973 francophone album Petula.

The 2002 DVD release Petula Clark: A Sign of the Times which features footage from Clark's performance at the Virginia Arts Festival May 20–21, 2001, includes her performance of "The Wedding Song (There Is Love)" (so entitled).

Seeds of the Word

"Wedding Song (There Is Love)" is a song written by Noel Paul Stookey in the fall of 1969 and first performed at the wedding of Peter Yarrow - Stookey's co-member of Peter, Paul and Mary - to Mary Beth McCarthy at St Mary's Catholic Church in Willmar MN: Stookey was best man at the ceremony which took place in the evening of October 18, 1969.

Stookey had written the song on a midnight flight between Peter, Paul and Mary concert dates in San Jose and Boston setting out to write a song for Yarrow's wedding which would convey Stookey's Christian convictions while respecting Yarrow's Jewish faith.

According to Stookey "the melody and the words [of "Wedding Song"] arrived simultaneously and in response to a direct prayer asking God how the divine could be present at Peter's wedding." (The first two lines of the song's second verse: "A man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home/ And they shall travel on to where the two shall be as one", is largely a paraphrase of the text of Genesis 2:24: "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.") Believing he could not take personal credit for composing "The Wedding Song", Stookey set up the Public Domain Foundation (now Music to Life) which since 1971 has received the song's songwriting royalties for charitable distribution.

  1. "The Song I Had to Give Away". Guideposts. June 1, 1993. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  2. Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 234.
  3. "Petula Clark Discography - UK - Page 2 - 45cat". Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  4. "top of the pops 1988 episode guide". Retrieved June 26, 2019.