Wedding Song (There Is Love)

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"Wedding Song (There Is Love)" is a title of a 1971 hit single by Paul Stookey: the song—which Stookey credits to divine inspiration—has since been recorded by many singers (with versions by Petula Clark and Mary MacGregor returning the song to the Billboard Hot 100)—and remains a popular choice for performance at weddings.

Composition and original recording[edit]

Stookey had first performed the song at the wedding of Peter Yarrow—Stookey's co-member of Peter Paul & Mary—to Mary Beth McCarthy at Saint Mary's Catholic Church in Willmar, Minnesota. Stookey was best man at the ceremony, which took place in the evening of October 18, 1969.

Stookey recorded "Wedding Song (There is Love)" for his solo album Paul and, which was released on July 23, 1971. On this recording he accompanied himself on a 12-string guitar tuned a tone and a half down. On June 28, 1971, "Wedding Song" was issued as advance single from the Paul and album to reach #24 on the Hot 100 in Billboard and reached #3 on the Easy Listening chart.[1] Internationally, Stookey reached #31 in Canada and #55 in Australia with "Wedding Song.

Petula Clark version[edit]

"Wedding Song
(There is Love)"
Single by Petula Clark
from the album Now
B-side "Song Without End" US/ UK
"My Guy" Australia
Released September 1972 US
October 1972 Australia/ UK
Format 7" single
Recorded July 1972
Genre Easy listening
Length 3:14
Label MGM US
Polydor Australia/ UK
Songwriter(s) Noel Paul Stookey
Producer(s) Mike Curb, Don Costa
Petula Clark US singles chronology
"My Guy"
(1972)
"Wedding Song
(There is Love)
"
(1972)
"String Module Error: Match not found"
(String Module Error: Match not found)
"My Guy"
(1972)
"Wedding Song (There Is Love)"(1972) "I Can't Remember (How It Was Before)"

(1973)

Petula Clark UK singles chronology
"I Don't Know How to Love Him"
(1971) I Don't Know How to Love Him1971
"Wedding Song (There Is Love)" (1972) String Module Error: Match not foundString Module Error: Match not found "I Can't Remember (How It Was Before)"

(1973) String Module Error: Match not foundString Module Error: Match not found

Petula Clark Australian singles chronology
"The World Song"
(1971) The World Song1971
"Wedding Song
(There Is Love)
"(1972) String Module Error: Match not foundString Module Error: Match not found
"(Let The Love Light In Your Eyes) Lead Me On"
w/ Sacha Distel (1973) String Module Error: Match not foundString Module Error: Match not found

Petula Clark recorded "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" in the August 1972 recording sessions at Trident Recording Studios in London for her album Now produced by Mike Curb with the album's arranger Don Costa. Clark had previously recorded the Paul Stookey co-write "The Song is Love" which had afforded Clark a #19 hit on the Adult Contemporary (A/C) chart in Billboard in 1971.[2] Curb had signed Clark to MGM Records—of which he was president—after seeing Clark's Vegas show in March 1972 when Clark was co-headlining at Caesars Palace with MGM's current top act the Osmonds.[3] "Wedding Song..." was issued in September 1972 as the second advance single from the Now album which would be a December 1972 release: the first advance single had been a remake of the 1964 Mary Wells hit "My Guy" which had afforded Clark a #12 A/C chart hit while crossing over to the lower tier of the Billboard Hot 100, the track's Hot 100 peak being #70.[2] "Wedding Song..." would experience a similar chart history to Clark's "My Guy", as "Wedding Song..." would garner strong enough A/C support—the track's A/C chart peak was #9—so as to reach #65 on the Billboard Hot 100.[2]

In the UK "Wedding Song (There is Love)" had a October 6, 1972 single release being Clark's first UK single release since "I Don't Know How to Love Him" in November 1971:[4] "I Don't Know How to Love Him" would remain Clark's final UK chart entry (except for the 1988 remix of her 1964 recording "Downtown") as "Wedding Song..." did not enter the UK singles chart despite being aired on October 26, 1972 Top of the Pops broadcast. [5]

A minor mainstream Pop chart item in Canada with a #67 peak, "Wedding Song (There is Love)" afforded Clark a major hit in Australia in the spring of 1973 spending 11 weeks in the Top 20 with a peak of #10, remaining Clark's final first-time release English-language recording to appear in the Top Ten of a national Pop chart until "Downtown" by the Saw Doctors featuring Petula Clark reached #2 on the Irish chart in December 2011. (Clark did reach #8 in France in 1977 with the French-language "La Chanson D'Evita"; she also reached #10 UK in 1988 with "Downtown 88" which was a remix of the original 1964 "Downtown" recording.) The Australian release of Clark's "Wedding Song..." featured as B-side the singer's rendition of "My Guy" which in the US had been the first single release off the Now album and had had an original Petula Clark composition "Little Bit Of Lovin'" (credited to Al Grant) as its B-side.

Clark also recorded a French rendering of "Wedding Song (There is Love)" entitled "Il est temps", featuring lyrics by Pierre Delanoë: this version was issued as the B-side of Clark's December 1972 French single release "Bleu, Blanc, Rouge" and was included on Clark's 1973 francophone album Petula.

The 2002 DVD release Petula Clark: A Sign of the Times which features footage from Clark's performance at the Virginia Arts Festival May 20–21, 2001, includes her performance of "The Wedding Song (There is Love)" (so entitled).

Other versions[edit]

Prior to the release of the Petula Clark version, Southern Comfort had recorded "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" for their 1972 album Stir Don't Shake from which it was issued as a single in August 1972. (Southern Comfort had been Iain Matthews band but Matthews had gone solo in 1971: the Southern Comfort lineup on Stir Don't Shake was Carl Barnwell, Ray Duff, Mark Griffiths, Gordon Huntley and Andy Leigh, the last-named being the band's vocalist.)

"The Wedding Song (There Is Love)"—so titled—became a Top Ten hit in Ireland via the May 1974 release credited to Kelley and the Nevada being the veteran showband the Nevada fronted by vocalist Eileen Kelley, which single reached #3 on the Irish hit parade dated July 11, 1974. The second hit version by the Nevada of a US charting single for Petula Clark—Red Hurley and the Nevada having scored a 1971 Irish #1 hit with a remake of Clark's 1968 US Top 20 hit "Kiss Me Goodbye"—"The Wedding Song..." was the second and final chart single by the Nevada fronted by Kelley—subsequent to the band's version of "How Great Thou Art" #8 in 1972—and was the fourth and final collaboration between Kelley and the Nevada: the vocalist on the Nevada's 1966 debut recording "Be My Man", Eileen Kelley elected in 1974 to sever her ties with the Nevada and join the Big Eight Showband.[6]

Captain & Tennille recorded "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" for their 1976 album Song of Joy. "Wedding Song" was intended to be issued as a fourth single from the album and would have followed up the 1976-77 Top Ten hit "Muskrat Love": A&M Records had gone as far as assigning a catalog number (A&M 1894) for the track's single release when it was canceled, Captain & Tennille's follow-up single to "Muskrat Love" being "Can't Stop Dancin'" the advance single from the duo's upcoming Come in from the Rain album.[7]

"The Wedding Song (There Is Love)"—so titled—returned to the Billboard charts in the autumn of 1978 via a version by Mary MacGregor which reached #23 Easy Listening and #81 on the Hot 100. MacGregor had been discovered by Peter Yarrow whose wedding occasioned the song's composition but Yarrow was not involved in MacGregor's recording of "The Wedding Song", which was produced by Gene Cotton and recorded at the Creative Workshop studio in Berry Hill, Tennessee.[8] The Mary MacGregor version made its album debut on the 1979 release Mary MacGregor's Greatest Hits.

Other versions of "Wedding Song (There Is Love)" have been recorded by Harry Belafonte (album Belafonte...Live! / 1972), the Lettermen (album Close to You / 1971), Helena Vondráčková (as "Je teď tvá" Czech - album Helena a Stryci / 1974), Nana Mouskouri (album Nana's Book of Songs/ 1975), Daliah Lavi (as "Liebe Lebt" German - album Neuer Wind/ 1976), Bonnie St. Claire (as "'K Hou Van Jou" Dutch - album Sla Je Arm Om Me Heen/ 1983), and Sandler and Young (album You've Got a Friend in...).

Instrumental versions have been recorded by James Last (album Love Must Be the Reason/ 1972), the O'Neill Brothers (album A Day to Remember: Instrumental Music for Your Wedding Day/ 2002), and Bradley Joseph (album Piano Love Songs/ 2006).

References[edit]