Wonderful World (song)

Wonderful World (song)

Infobox Single
Name = Wonderful World

Caption =
Artist = Sam Cooke
from Album =
A-side =
B-side = "Along the Navajo Trail"
Released = 14 April 1960
Format = 7" single
Recorded = 2 March 1959
Genre = Soul
Length = 2:09
Label = Keen Records 2112
Writer = Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert, Lou Adler
Producer =
Certification =
Last single = ???
This single = "Wonderful World"
Next single = "Teenage Sonata"
Misc =
Infobox Song
Name = Wonderful World

Artist = Otis Redding
Album = Otis Blue
Released = 1965
Format =
Recorded = Stax Studios, Memphis, Tennessee: 1965
Genre = Soul
Length = 3:00
Label = Volt/Atco
Producer = Steve Cropper
Tracks =#"Ole Man Trouble"
#"A Change Is Gonna Come"
#"Down in the Valley"
#"I've Been Loving You Too Long"
#"My Girl"
#"Wonderful World"
#"Rock Me Baby"
#"You Don't Miss Your Water"
Misc =
Audio sample? =

"Wonderful World" (sometimes referred to as "(What a) Wonderful World", but unrelated to the Louis Armstrong song by that title) was written in the late 1950s by soul music pioneer Sam Cooke along with songwriters Lou Adler and Herb Alpert, and first recorded by Cooke in 1959 for Cooke's self-titled debut album. The song was released as a single in 1960, reaching #12 in the U.S. and #27 in the UK. A bouncy love song, the lyrics have the singer disavowing any knowledge gained from books (the song is often referred to informally by its first line, "Don't know much about history"), but affirming the object of his affection "but I do know that I love you". Herman's Hermits had major hit with an uptempo version of the song (omiting one verse) in the mid-1960s, which reached #4 in the U.S. and #7 in the UK. The Hermits' version was, according to singer Peter Noone and guitarist Keith Hopwood, done as a tribute to Cooke upon his untimely death.

In 2004, the song was placed 373rd in Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Popular culture

The song is used in the classic college movie "Animal House" (1978) in the well known lunchroom scene.

After a Greg Chapman cover of the song was featured prominently in the 1985 film "Witness", "Wonderful World" gained further exposure, particularly in the United Kingdom, where it appeared in a well-remembered 1986 advertisement for Levi's 501 jeans. As a result, the song became a hit in the UK, reaching #2 in re-release. In a 2005 poll by the UK's Channel Four, the song was voted the 19th greatest song ever to feature in a commercial. [cite web|title=Coke theme is top of the pops|work=The Manchester Evening News|url=http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/163/163787_coke_theme_is_top_of_the_pops.html|year=2005|accessdate=2008-04-28]

The original Sam Cooke version of the song comprised the title soundtrack of the 2005 film "Hitch".

Cover versions

The song has been covered by many artists, including the aforementioned Herman's Hermits, Greg Chapman, and Art Garfunkel (who performed a cover of the song on his 1977 album "Watermark", with harmonies by James Taylor and Paul Simon).

It was also covered by Otis Redding on his album "Otis Blue".

David Bromberg covered the song on the 1975 album "Midnight On The Water"

It was covered on the 1980 album "Boys Only" by UK power pop band The Boys.

The track was covered by Terence Trent D'Arby as a "B-side" on a rare 7" vinyl EP in the late 1980s.

It was again covered in 2005 by Scottish crooner Jim Diamond on "The Blues Shoe EP".

In August 2008, a parody version of the song was featured in a high-profile political advertisement from the Barack Obama for President campaign. The lyrics were altered to satirize John McCain's lack of knowledge on economic issues ("Don't know much about industry...").

Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia covered this song with The Jerry Garcia Band during live performances; it appears on Pure Jerry series #7 as an encore along with special guest Bruce Hornsby.Joan Baez has also played the song during her live performances.

Jesse Malin covered the song on his 2008 covers album On Your Sleeve.

Chart performance

am Cooke version

Greg Chapman version


am Cooke version

* Written by Sam Cooke, Lou Adler, and Herb Alpert.
* Produced by Sam Cooke.
* Instrumentation by Rene Hall (arrangement), Adolphus Asbrook (bass), Ronald Selico (drums), and Cliff White (guitar).
* Background vocals by Lou Rawls.
* Engineering by Deano Lappas.



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