Let There Be Peace on Earth (song)
"Let There Be Peace on Earth" is a song written by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller in 1955. It was initially written for and sung by the International Children's Choir created by Easter Beakly and Arthur Granger of the Granger Dance Academy in Long Beach, California. The song's composers led a number of rehearsals for the children's choir from 1955 to 1957, and the song continues to be the theme for this group of children who represent a host of nations and who sang in Washington, DC at the JW Marriott next to the White House in 2002.
Jackson-Miller, who had been suicidal after the failure of a marriage, later said that she wrote the song after discovering what she called the "life-saving joy of God's peace and unconditional love."
The song is performed worldwide throughout the year, and particularly during the Christmas season, which has led to it being considered a Christmas song. It is included in the hymnals of a variety of Christian denominations, and is used in worship services even by a number of denominations that do not include it in their hymnals. It typically concludes Unity Church services each week.
The original lyrics for "Let There Be Peace on Earth" have been altered on many occasions for differing reasons, including for gender neutrality (where "father" is replaced with "creator", and "brother" is replaced with "family" or "each other"), and secularity (where "God as our Father" is replaced with "Earth as our Mother" or "love as our compass"). Both the gender-neutral and secular alternate lyrics have been copyrighted by the original licensing agent of the song.
Covers and performances
On November 7, 1988, it was performed by the GMA Stars and Personalities along with the small group of children with lighted candles in honor of the Launching of GMA-7's 777-foot Tower of Power in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, the tallest man-made structure in the country used for the Towering Power: A Musical Dedication.
In 1993, the song was famously covered by American country music artist Vince Gill in a duet with his daughter Jenny. Gill released the cover as part of his platinum-selling Christmas album Let There Be Peace on Earth, named after the song.
It is the final song during the holidays each year during the "IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth" firework show at Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. It previously featured narration by Walter Cronkite and the vocal talents of Sandi Patti and Harlem Boys Choir.
In 2007, there was a campaign by a Pennsylvania woman to persuade churches to sing this song at the close of the Sunday service nearest to the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and to establish a tradition of "Peace on Earth" Day.
The song was performed by the Young People's Chorus of New York City on September 25, 2015 at the close of the Interfaith Prayer Service and Remembrance, presided over by Pope Francis, at Ground Zero in New York.
In 2017 Carlos Santana and Ernie/Ronnie Isley released the song on their Power of Peace album, which arrived on July 28 from Sony Music’s Legacy Recordings.
2015 lyric controversy
During the 2015 Christmas holiday season, American technology company Microsoft garnered controversy when they released an advertisement featuring the song that skipped over the verse "With God as our Father, brothers all are we / Let me walk with my brother, in perfect harmony." In response, the company released a second, longer version of the advertisement that included the omitted verse with the original 1955 lyrics intact.
- Roberta Haley Savage Washington DC 2002 "Even as a child I knew that rehearsals with Ms. Jackson were special," said Savage. "Every time I hear that song I smile and thank Ms. Jackson." Rev. the Daily News of Los Angeles (April 25, 1987) page 25: "Jill Jackson-Miller, composer of 'Let There Be Peace on Earth,' will speak at 11 a.m. Sunday at West Valley Unity Church, Reseda."
- "Let There Be Peace on Earth" Erickson Elementary School (Concert Finally). Youtube. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- Jan-Lee Music - Copyright Info and Lyrics
- Christie Campbell. "Let there be peace on Earth," Observer-Reporter (Washington, PA), August 31, 2007, page C8.
- Gryboski, Michael (December 7, 2015). "Microsoft Removes God From 'Let There Be Peace on Earth' Lyrics in New Ad". Christian Post. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- Hallowell, Billy (December 8, 2015). "Microsoft Cuts 'God' Out of Popular Song's Lyrics in Holiday Commercial — Watch It Here". The Blaze. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- Microsoft spreads the spirit of the season on 5th Ave (TV Commercial). Youtube. Retrieved August 26, 2016.
- Microsoft spreads the spirit of the season on 5th Ave. Youtube. Retrieved August 26, 2016.