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Hymns - Songwriters

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Some hymns are based on existing tunes and some based on existing poems. Many hymns are sung to more than one tune.

73 facts:

Abide With Me: Fast Falls the Eventide
   was written by   
Henry F. Lyte & William Monk
Music by William Monk. The lyrics were written by Henry Francis Lyte in 1847 while he lay dying from tuberculosis; he survived only a further three weeks after its completion.
Ah Holy Jesus How Hast Thou Offended
   was written by   
Johann Heermann & Johann Cruger
Words: Johann Heerman, 1630 (Trans. Robert Bridges 1899) Tune: Herzliebster Jesu, Johann Cruger
All Creatures of Our God and King
   was written by   
St. Francis of Assisi
Lyrics by Francis of Assisi, ca. 1225; trans. by William H. Draper, 1925, adapt. 1987. Music: Geistliche Kirchengesane, 1623; harm. by Ralph Vaughan Williams, 1906
Alleluia Alleluia
   was written by   
Christopher Wordsworth
Lyrics by Christopher Wordsworth. There are two versions of the music for this hymn - Ludwig Beethoven & Arthur Sullivan. Ludwig Beethoven’s music has been used for various hymns.
Alleluia Sing to Jesus
   was written by   
Will­iam C. Dix
Lyrics published in Al­tar Songs, Vers­es on the Ho­ly Eu­cha­rist, 1867. Rowland Prichard wrote the music (Hyfrydol). Al­ter­nate tunes: 'Adoration' (Lu­ard-Sel­by) by Ber­tram Lu­ard-Sel­by, in Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1904, 'Alleluia' (Wes­ley) by Sam­u­el S.Wes­ley, in the Eu­ro­pe­an Psalm­ist, 1872 & 'Lowell' by H. Er­nest Ni­chol, 1905
All For Jesus
   was written by   
Mary D. James & John Stainer
Mary D. James wrote "All For Jesus" as a New Year's resolution. This text is one of two commonly used for this hymn, the other being by William J. Sparrow-Simpson.
All Glory Laud and Honour
   was written by   
Melchior Tescher
Based on verses written in the early Middle Ages. The Latin original, "Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit, rex Christe redemptor" was 78 lines long. It was written as a processional hymn. St. Theodulph of Orleans wrote "All Glory, Laud and Honor" in 820 while he was in prison, under suspicion of plotting against Emperor Louis I.
All Hail the Power of Jesu's Name
   was written by   
Edward Perronet & Oliver Holden
Words: Edward Perronet. The first stanza appeared anonymously in The Gospel Magazine, November 1779. In April 1780, the same magazine published eight verses titled, “On the Resurrection, the Lord Is King.” It resurfaced half a dozen years later, again anonymously, accompanied by an acrostic poem whose letters spelled out “Edward Perronet.” Music: “Coronation,” Oliver Holden; first appeared in his Union Harmony or Universal Collection of Sacred Music (Boston, Massachusetts: 1793).
All Things Bright and Beautiful
   was written by   
Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der
Lyrics by Alexander. The piece can be sung to several melodies, in particular the 17th Century English melody "Royal Oak", adapted by Martin Shaw, and "Bright and Beautiful" by William Henry Monk (1823-1889). There have also been other adaptations, such as a full choral piece by John Rutter.
Almighty Father Lord Most High
   was written by   
V.S.S. Coles
Vincent Stuckey Stratton Coles wrote the lyrics.
Amazing Grace
   was written by   
John Newton
As with other hymns of this period, the words were sung to a number of tunes before and after they first became linked to the now familiar variant of the tune "New Britain" of which the composer is unknown and which is in William Walker's shape-note tunebook Southern Harmony, 1835
And Can It Be
   was written by   
Charles Wesley & Thomas Campbell
"And Can It Be" was first published in John Wesley's Psalms and Hymns in 1738, then in Hymns and Sacred Poems in 1739. From middle of the nineteenth century on, "And Can It Be" has been set to SAGINA composed by Thomas Campbell
Before the Ending of the Day
   was written by   
St. Ambrose
Lyrics by St. Ambrose, translated from the Office hymn for Compline by J. M. Neale
Be Still My Soul
   was written by   
Jean Sibelius
The lyrics were both written and translated prior to Sibelius's piece. Katharina von Schlegel wrote the original text in 1752, and it was translated into English by Jane Borthwick in 1855.
Be Thou My Vision
   was written by   
Dallan Forgaill
The tune is still from an old Irish folk song. "Be Thou My Vision" is the most popular Irish hymn in English-speaking churches.
Blessed Assurance
   was written by   
Fanny J. Crosby
Fanny J. Crosby, a blind hymn writer, wrote the words of "Blessed Assurance" in 1873 to go along with the melody written by Phoebe P. Knapp in the same year. The story goes that Crosby was visiting Knapp, who was having a pipe organ installed. Knapp played the tune, which she called "Assurance," and asked her friend Crosby what she thought the song said. Crosby's response was "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine." The rest is history.
Blest Are the Pure in Heart
   was written by   
William Henry Havergal & John Keble
Originally a poem by Keble. Melody by William Henry Havergal, 1793–1870 from a chorale by Johann Balthasar König. Sometimes titled "Blessed are the Pure in Heart"
Christ the Lord is Risen Again!
   was written by   
Michael Weisse & Johann Rosenmüller
Words: Michael Weisse translated by Catherine Winkworth. Music: Würtemburg - attributed to Johann Rosenmüller
Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
   was written by   
Charles Wesley & Lyra Davidica
Lyra Davidica wrote the music in 1708. Charles Wesley wrote this hymn in 1739, in celebration of the first service of London's first Wesleyan Chapel.
The Church's One Foundation
   was written by   
Samuel Stone & Samuel Wesley
Lyrics by Stone, music by Wesley.
Crown Him With Many Crowns
   was written by   
Matthew Bridges, Godfrey Thring & George Elvey
The text of this great hymn is a composite or combination by two different authors, both of whom were inspired by Revelation 19:12. The first printing was a six-stanza hymn in Hymns of the Heart (1851) by Matthew Bridges. In 1874, Godfrey Thring wrote six new stanzas for the hymn.
Drop Drop Slow Tears
   was written by   
Phineas Fletcher
This short anthem is taken from a longer work for chorus and organ, Crucifixus pro nobis. The words by Phineas Fletcher are often used as a hymn, set to Gibbons' Song 46.
Eternal Father Strong to Save
   was written by   
William Whiting & John Dykes
"Eternal Father, Strong to Save" is known as "The Navy Hymn." At the beginning of the twentieth century, it was played on most ships each day they were at sea. During World War II, it was used at the funeral for almost all sailors buried at sea.
Father All-powerful Thine is the Kingdom
   was written by   
Patrick Appleford & Geoffrey Beaumont
Lyrics by Appleford, music by Beaumont
Father We Adore You
   was written by   
T. Coelho
Words & Music, Terry Coelho
For the Beauty of the Earth
   was written by   
Folliot S. Pierpoint & Conrad Kocher
Music by Pierpoint, music by Kocher
God of Mercy God of Grace
   was written by   
Henry F. Lyte & H. Smart
Words: H. F. Lyte (19th C) Music: Heathlands H. Smart (19th C)
God of Our Fathers
   was written by   
Daniel C. Roberts & George Warren
The occasion for the writing of God of our Fathers was the centennial of the Declaration of Independence in 1876. Daniel C. Roberts, the 35 year-old rector of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, a small rural church in Brandon, Vermont, wanted a new hymn for his congregation to celebrate the centennial. He wrote "God of Our Fathers" and his congregation sang it to the tune RUSSIAN HYMN. Warren wrote a new tune for it, NATIONAL HYMN.
Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah
   was written by   
William Williams & John Hughes
Lyrics by Williams. Music by Hughes
Hallelujah What a Saviour
   was written by   
Philip Bliss
Music and lyrics
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
   was written by   
Charles Wesley & Wiliam H. Cummings
Written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley founder of the Methodist church, in 1739. A sombre man, he requested slow and solemn music for his lyrics and thus “Hark the herald angels sing” was sung to a different tune initially. Over a hundred years later Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) composed a cantata in 1840 to commemorate Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. English musician William H. Cummings adapted Mendelssohn’s music to fit the lyrics of “Hark the herald angels sing” already written by Wesley.
Hark! A Herald Voice is Calling
   was written by   
William Monk
Translated from En clara vox redarguit, which is a 5th or 6th century hymn whose author is unknown. It was revised in the 1632 Roman Breviary, and the English translation found above was done by Fr. E. Caswall, 1695. Music: Descant to 'Merton' (Hark! a herald voice is calling) (E major) (2008) by W. H. Monk
He Leadeth Me: O Blessed Thought
   was written by   
Joseph H. Gilmore & William Bradbury
Lyrics by Gilmore, music by Bradbury
Here O My Lord I See Thee
   was written by   
Horatius Bonar & Edward Dearle
Lyrics by Bonar, music by Dearle, Tune Name: PENITENTIA. Alternate tunes: Congleton, attributed to Michael Wise in The Standard Psalm Tune-Book, 1852; Ellers, Edward J. Hopkins, in the Supplemental tune-Book, by Brown-Borthwick, 1869; Erfyniad, Welsh hymn melody, harmonized by David Evans, 1920.
Holy, Holy, Holy
   was written by   
Reginald Heber & John Bacchus Dykes
Written for use on Trinity Sunday, the lyrics were set to a tune composed for the lyrics by John Bacchus Dykes. The tune was originally called Nicaea, which refers to the Nicaean Council of 325 A.D.
How Great Thou Art
   was written by   
Carl Gustav Boberg
In Sweden in 1885
How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds
   was written by   
John Newton & Alexander R. Reinagle
Lyrics by Newton, music by Reinagle.
In The Garden
   was written by   
Charles Austin Miles
Wrote lyrics and music. Pseudonym: A. A. Payn and C. Austin Miles (1868-1946). Miles at­tende­d the Phil­a­del­phia Coll­ege of Phar­ma­cy and the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­van­ia. In 1892, he aban­don­ed his ca­reer as a phar­ma­cist and wrote his first Gos­pel song, “List ’Tis Je­sus’ Voice” which was pub­lished by the Hall-Mack Com­pa­ny.
It Is Well With My Soul
   was written by   
Horatio G. Spafford & Philip Bliss
Lyrics by Spafford, music by Bliss
Jesus Christ is Risen Today Alleluia
   was written by   
Charles Wesley
Words to stanzas 1-7 by Wesley. Stanzas 8-10, author unknown, 14th Century; translated from Latin to English in Lyra Davidica. EASTER HYMN, the hymn tune to which we sing "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" was published anonymously in Lyra Davidica, 1708. This exuberant song is one of the most popular Easter hymns in the English language.
Jesus Thou Joy of Loving Hearts
   was written by   
Henry Baker
The words were written by Ber­nard of Clair­vauxin the 12th C. (Je­su dul­cis me­mor­i­a) and trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Ray Palm­er, 1858, in his Po­et­ic­al Works (New York: 1876).
Joy to the World! The Lord Is Come
   was written by   
Isaac Watts & George Handel
Watts based "Joy to the World" on the last half of Psalm 98
Lift High the Cross
   was written by   
George W. Kitchin & Sydney Nicholson
Lyrics by Kitchin, music by Nicholson
Like a River Glorious
   was written by   
Frances Havergal & James Mountain
Lyrics by Havergal, music by Mountain
The Lord's My Shepherd
   was written by   
Jessie Irvine
The Lord's My Shepherd, I'll Not Want" first appeared in print in the Scottish Psalter of 1650. This Psalter was assembled by the Westminster Assembly, which also gave us the Westminster Confession and the Book of Common Prayer. In it, portions from various sources were combined to create the hymn we know today. The music 'Crimond' was written by Jessie S. Irvine in 1871.
Make Me a Captive Lord
   was written by   
Donald Hustad
Make Me a Captive, Lord" lists a series of paradoxes. George Matheson wrote it as an interpretation of Ephesians 3:1, where Paul speaks of being the prisoner of Jesus Christ. Originally titled "Christian Freedom," the hymn lists a series of paradoxes.
A Mighty Fortress Is Our God
   was written by   
Martin Luther
Wrote the lyrics and music.
A Man There Lived in Galilee
   was written by   
Somerset C. Lowry
Lyrics by Lowry. Composer: Unknown - Traditional Tyrolean melody arranged by Richard M. S. Irwin
My Jesus I Love Thee
   was written by   
William Featherston & Adoniram Gordon
The lyrics were written by a 16 year old boy, William Ralph Featherston, at the time of his conversion to Jesus Christ. He sent a copy to his aunt who encouraged him to have it published. It appeared anonymously in The London Hymn Book in 1864.
Now Thank We All Our God
   was written by   
Johann Cruger & Martin Rinkart
Rinkart was a prolific hymn writer. The exact date of "Now Thank We All Our God" is in question, but it is known that it was widely sung by the time the Treaty of Westphalia was signed in 1648. It was commonly sung as a grace following meals.
O Come All Ye Faithful
   was written by   
John Wade
The original four verses of "O Come All Ye Faithful" were discovered in an eighteenth century Jacobean manuscript with John Francis Wade's signature. At one time historians believed that Wade had simply discovered an ancient hymn by an unknown author, possibly St. Bonaventura, 13th C Italian scholar. Further examination, however, has led many to believe that Wade wrote both the words and music of this hymn himself. The music 'Ades­te Fi­de­les', is at­trib­ut­ed var­i­ous­ly to John Wade, John Stainer, John Reading, or Simao Portogallo
O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus
   was written by   
Samuel Francis & Thomas Williams
Lyrics by Francis, music by Williams
O God Our Help In Ages Past
   was written by   
Isaac Watts & William Croft
Isaac Watts wrote "Our God, Our Help in Ages Past" as a paraphrase of Psalm 90.
The Old Rugged Cross
   was written by   
George Bernard & Charles Gabriel
Written in 1912 in Albion, Mich., "The Old Rugged Cross" is certainly one of the most popular hymns of all time. Apart from "Amazing Grace," it may be the most recorded hymn ever. Performers known to sing "The Old Rugged Cross" include Al Green, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and June Carter.
Once In Royal David's City
   was written by   
Cecil F. Alexander
Originally a poem
Onward Christian Soldiers
   was written by   
Arthur Sullivan & Sa­bine Bar­ing-Gould
Baring-Gould wrote about this hymn: "One Whit-Mon­day, thir­ty years ago, it was ar­ranged that our school should join forc­es with that of a neigh­bor­ing vil­lage. I want­ed the child­ren to sing when march­ing from one vil­lage to another, but couldn’t think of any­thing quite suit­a­ble; so I sat up at night, re­solved that I would write some­thing myself. “Onward, Christ­ian Sol­diers” was the re­sult."
O Sacred Head Now Wounded
   was written by   
Hans Hassler
Music by Hans Hassler. 'O Sacred Head, Now Wounded' is based on a long medieval poem attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux, 'Salve mundi salutare'.
Praise My Soul the King of Heaven
   was written by   
Henry F. Lyte & John Goss
Lyrics by Lyte, music by Goss
A Purple Robe a Crown of Thorn
   was written by   
David Wilson & Timothy Dudley-Smith
Lyrics: Dudley-Smith. Music: A Purple Robe by David Wilson.
Rejoice the Lord Is King
   was written by   
Charles Wesley & John Darwall
Lyrics by Wesley, music by Darwall. We sing "Rejoice, the Lord Is King" to the hymn tune Darwall’s 148th. An alternate hymn tune, Gopsal, was composed by G. F. Handel for the hymn.
Rock of Ages
   was written by   
Thomas Hastings
Reverend Augustus Montague Toplady wrote the words to the popular hymn "Rock of Ages" in 1873. His poem was set to music by the popular hymn composer Thomas Hastings somewhere around 1830.
A Safe Stronghold Our God is Still
   was written by   
Martin Luther
Wrote both the lyrics and the music.
Saviour Like a Shepherd Lead Us
   was written by   
William Bradbury
Music by Bradbury. We do not know for sure who wrote "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us." It was unsigned when it first appeared in Dorothy Thrupp's collection, Hymns for the Young, in 1836. It was the custom of Miss Thrupp to not sign her hymns or poems, usually initialing them D.A.T. or using a pseudonym, Iota. However, this one had neither. She may have forgotten to initial it, or else it came from a different source.
Shall We Gather at the River?
   was written by   
Robert Lowry
Wrote the lyrics and music.
Silent Night
   was written by   
Joseph Mohr & Franz Gruber
Originally written as a poem by Mohr in 1816. Two years later he asked Gruber to write the music for it.
Soldiers of Christ Arise
   was written by   
Charles Wesley & George Elvey
Charles Wesley wrote "Soldiers of Christ, Arise" in 1747, originally calling it "The Whole Armor of God, Ephesians VI." The music DIADEMATA was written by Elvey in 1868.
A Stranger Once Did Bless the Earth
   was written by   
John Clare
Originally a poem by Clare. Music possibly by B. J. Dale
Thine Be the Glory
   was written by   
Edmond L. Budry & George Handel
Edmond L. Budry wrote "A Toi la Gloire," "Thine Be the Glory," in 1884, reportedly after the death of his first wife, Marie de Vayenborg. It was first published in Chants Evangeliques in Lausanne, Switzerland, 1885. It was translated into English in 1925 by Richard B. Hoyle, and appeared in Cantate Domino Hymnal, 1925, the hymnal of the World Student Christian Federation. It is possible that an Advent hymn by Friedrich-Heinrich Ranke (1798-1876), using the same tune by Handel, and published in Evangelisches Gesangbuch fur Elsass-Lothringern, could have been the basis for "Thine Be the Glory."
This Is My Father's World
   was written by   
Maltbie Babcock & Franklin Sheppard
Franklin L. Sheppard, a friend of Babcock's, composed the hymn melody, Terra Beata, after Babcock's death.
We Are God's People
   was written by   
Bryan Jeffery Leech & Johannes Brahms
English hymn text writer, Bryan Jeffery Leech, took the primary theme from Johannes Brahms' 1st Symphony, 4th movement and wrote lyrics which have become a hymn standard.
We Come O Christ To You
   was written by   
E. Margaret Clarkson & James V. Lee
Lee originally composed EASTVIEW for the text "Rejoice, the Lord Is King" for his mother's eightieth birthday. Alternatively sung to John Darwel''s 148th.
We Come O Christ To You
   was written by   
E. Margaret Clarkson & John Darwall
Lyrics by E. Margaret Clarkson. Music: Darwall's 148th. Alternatively is sung to 'Eastview' by James Lee.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
   was written by   
Charles Crozat Converse
Originally a poem written by Joseph M. Scriven in 1855. He wrote the poem to comfort his mother in Ireland while he was living in Canada

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