Day by Day (Godspell song)

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"Day by Day"
Single by Godspell
GenreFolk rock
Songwriter(s)Stephen Schwartz

"Day by Day" is a folk rock ballad from the 1971 Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak musical Godspell.

Day by Day is the third song in the show’s score and it is also reprised as the closing number for the 1973 film version.[1] Its refrain follows a prayer ascribed to the 13th-century English bishop Saint Richard of Chichester:


May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.[2]

The version in Godspell follows more closely the wording in Hymn 429 of the 1940 Hymnal:
Day by day,
Dear Lord, of thee three things I pray:
To see thee more clearly,
Love thee more dearly,
Follow thee more nearly,
Day by day.

"Day By Day" was first a hit in Australia, where both Judy Stone and Colleen Hewett released competing versions of the track in late 1971. Hewett's version reached #2 in the Kent Music Report, while Judy Stone's take reached #25.

In 1972, a version of the song from the album Godspell (1971) by the original off-Broadway cast was released as a single in the US, and attributed simply to the group name "Godspell". Robin Lamont was the lead singer, uncredited. "Day By Day" spent 14 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at the #13 position on July 29, 1972.[4] Billboard ranked it as the No. 90 song for 1972.[5]

Cover versions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • In the 2000 film Meet the Parents, Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) is asked by Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) to say Grace before dinner, resulting in Greg reciting the lyrics from "Day by Day."
  • In the 2001 film Wet Hot American Summer, summer camp counselors Susie (Amy Poehler) and Ben (Bradley Cooper) direct a group of kids to sing and dance “Day by Day” in similar style and costume to the original Godspell Broadway cast, which they perform at the talent show. The audience claps along happily, but after the performance ends with a glowing luminescent cross on the wall, it is met with overwhelming boos. The host comments it is one of his favorite Broadway numbers, but erroneously pronounces it as “Day Bidet.”


  1. ^ Ian C. Bradley (2005). You've Got to Have a Dream: The Message of the Musical. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 142. ISBN 0-664-22854-2.
  2. ^ Philip H. Pfatteicher (2008). New Book of Festivals and Commemorations: A Proposed Common Calendar of Saints. Fortress Press. p. 159. ISBN 0-8006-2128-X.
  3. ^ St. Richard of Chichester, 1197-1253, "Day by Day", in The Hymnal of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States of America, 1940, Hymn 429.
  4. ^ Billboard. July 29, 1972.
  5. ^ Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1972