This Little Light of Mine

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"This Little Light of Mine" is a gospel children's song written by composer and teacher Harry Dixon Loes (1895–1965) circa 1920. Loes, who studied at the Moody Bible Institute and the American Conservatory of Music, was a musical composer, and teacher, who wrote, and co-wrote, several other gospel songs. The song has since entered the folk tradition, first being collected by John Lomax in 1939. Often thought of as a Negro spiritual, it does not, however, appear in any collection of jubilee or plantation songs from the nineteenth century:

Depending on the source, the song may take its theme from Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your fine works and give glory to your Father who is in the heaven." Or, it may refer to the words of Jesus in Luke 11:33, where he said, "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light." Or, it may be based on Matthew 5:14–15, where Jesus said, "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house."[1]

Versions[edit]

The song has also been secularised into 'This Little Girl of Mine' as recorded by Ray Charles[2] in 1956 and later the Everly Brothers. It has often been published with a set of hand movements to be used for the instruction of children.

Under the influence of Zilphia Horton, Fannie Lou Hamer and others it eventually became a Civil Rights anthem in the 1950s and 1960s. The Seekers recorded it for their second UK album, Hide & Seekers (also known as The Four & Only Seekers) in 1964. Over time it also became a very popular children's song, recorded and performed by the likes of Raffi in the 1980s.

Odetta and the Boys' Choir of Harlem performed the song on the Late Show with David Letterman on September 17, 2001, on the first show after Letterman resumed broadcasting, after having been off the air for several nights following the events of 9/11.[3]

The Cedarmont Kids covered the song on their 2000 album "Gospel Bible Songs" and two years later in Spanish on "Cantos Biblicos Gospel."

Bruce Springsteen released its in his live album Live in Dublin released in 2006.

Part of this song was performed by Christina Ricci in the film Black Snake Moan in 2006.

A rendition of the song is performed by a gospel choir with a piano accompaniment in the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Joins a Cult" when Adrian Monk is being inducted into the Siblings of the Sun cult.

In 2008, the song appeared in the episode "Wednesday's Women", on CBS's television series Cold Case. The song was performed by Tracie Thoms.

LZ7 took their version of the song named "This Little Light" to number 26 in the UK Singles Chart.

(Hed) PE use part of the words in their 2010 song "This Fire".

On the February 15, 2011 episode of Glee, Will Schuester performed the song acoustically for a children's hospital.[4]

In 2011, in the sixth season episode of Criminal Minds, "Henley Waters", the criminal sings part of the song.

The song is featured prominently in a 2003 episode of Little Bill.

The first verse of the song is featured in Garbage's song "Beloved Freak" from the 2012 album Not Your Kind of People.

The song is remixed in Disney Channel's original movie: Let It Shine 2012.

The song "Hey Mama" from Kanye West's 2005 album Late Registration features the lyric, "this little light of mine, I'm finna let it shine."

Test Their Logik, an anarchist hip hop group out of Toronto, ON, featured the song's lyrics in their hit "The Light".

Lyrics[edit]

Verse 1[edit]

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Every day, every day, every day, every way, Gonna let my little light shine. Light that shines is the light of love, Hides the darkness from above, Shines on me and it shines on you, Shows you what the power of love can do. Shine my light both bright and clear, Shine my light both far and near, In every dark corner that I find, Let my little light shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Monday gave me the gift of love, Tuesday peace came from above, Wednesday told me to have more faith, Thursday gave me a little more grace, Friday told me to watch and pray, Saturday told me just what to say, Sunday gave me the power divine To let my little light shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.

Shine, shine, shine, shine, shine.

Verse 2[edit]

V. 1[edit]

All around the neighborhood, I'm gonna let it shine

All around the neighborhood, I'm gonna let it shine

All around the neighborhood, I'm gonna let it shine

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

V. 2[edit]

Hide it under a bushel? Oh no! I'm gonna let it shine

Hide it under a bushel? Oh no! I'm gonna let it shine

Hide it under a bushel? Oh no! I'm gonna let it shine

Let it shine, all the time, let it shine. Oh yeah!

Verse 3[edit]

V. 1[edit]

V. 2[edit]

Don't let the Satan blow it out; I'm gonna let it shine

Don't let the Satan blow it out; I'm gonna let it shine

Don't let the Satan blow it out; I'm gonna let it shine

Let it shine, all the time, let it shine. Oh yeah!

V. 3[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The New Sounds for Christ in Zimbabwe – This Little Light Of Mine." The Daily Kos, October 6, 2008. Accessed June 7, 2009.
  2. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 3 - The Tribal Drum: The rise of rhythm and blues. [Part 1]" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. 
  3. ^ "Boys Choir Of Harlem News". Retrieved February 13, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Comeback". Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved February 13, 2013. 

External links[edit]