Joy to the World

Joy to the World

"Joy to the World" is a popular Christmas carol.

The scripture-based words are by Isaac Watts. The music was adapted and arranged by Lowell Mason from an older melody which was then believed to have originated from Handel, not least because the theme of the refrain ("And heaven and nature sing...") appears in the orchestra opening and accompaniment of the recitative "Comfort Ye" from Handel's Messiah, and the first four notes match the beginning of the choruses "Lift up your heads" and "Glory to God" from the same oratorio. However, Handel did not compose the entire tune.

Well-known recordings

One of the most well known recordings of "Joy To The World" is an instrumental version by conductor Percy Faith. First recorded in 1954 on his "Music of Christmas" LP (Columbia CL 588), it was re-recorded in stereo in 1959 as Columbia 8176.

The popular European group Boney M. covered the song in 1984 which was internationally released in 1986 on their album The 20 Greatest Christmas Songs.

John Rutter arranged the carol in the style of Handel and recorded this arrangement twice with the Cambridge Singers, for their Christmas albums "Christmas Star" (1983) and "Christmas with the Cambridge Singers" (1989). Michael Bolton sang a pop version of this song at Plácido Domingo's annual collaboration Christmas concert from Vienna in 1997.

Mariah Carey re-recorded this song for her 1994 album Merry Christmas. Carey's version, done in a dance pop style, combined the chorus (with slightly altered lyrics) of the Hoyt Axton song "Joy to the World" (made popular by Three Dog Night) with the traditional Christmas song. Traditionally, only the 1st, 2nd, and last verses are sung, this is evident in the VeggieTales (part of A Very Veggie Christmas) and Disney Sing-Along versions.

Portuguese American singer/songwriter Jorge Ferreira's daughters Alison and Elizabeth Marie performed this song on Ferreira's 1994 Christmas album "Canta Natal".


Verse 1

Joy to the world! the Lord is come;
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.

Verse 2

Joy to the world! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.

Verse 3

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

Verse 4

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

Note the very first line of the song: while "The Lord "is" come" would be considered improper in modern-day English language ("The Lord "has" come" should be used instead), it was grammatically correct when the song was first written in the early 18th Century.

Parodies and tributes

Like many well-known songs this song has frequently been parodied. A parody frequently heard amongst schoolchildren is Joy to the World, Our Teacher's Dead. Nelson Muntz of The Simpsons made this version popularFact|date=December 2007. Children have also written parodies of the song targeting their principals and Barney.

At Fillmore East contains a song entitled You Don't Love Me, which contains a snippet of Joy To The World.

Also, in the popular sitcom Two and a Half Men, Charlie Sheen sings a parody of the song which caused wide uproar among the Christian community in the United States of America. Douglas Scott, the president of Life Decisions International, went so far as to send a letter to the president of CBS demanding an apology.

In "Mega Man Powered Up", the music for the Christmas stage pack is an arrangement of Joy to the World.

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