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He Gives Us All His Love

"He Gives Us All His Love" is a song written and performed by Randy Newman. It first appeared in the 1971 film Cold Turkey, for which it served as a sort of theme song and played during the opening credits.

The ballad is both brief (1:52 in length) and very sparsely-arranged. It opens with the delicate sounds of a string section and is maintained by Newman's piano in a slow "four to the bar" tempo.

The song is gospel-influenced and shares both musical and thematic similarities with such American hymns as Jesus Loves Me. It does not, however, discuss Christian themes of redemption but merely gives a testament of faith ("he's lookin' down on us, from up above / and he's givin' us all his love").

The tone of the song is bittersweet; the succinct lyrics include the assertion that the divine witnesses human suffering ("he hears the babies crying / he sees the old folks dying") and include the implication that being seen, and loved, might comfort. More explicitly, the narrator tells the listener "...you can lean on him."

The lyric which gives the song its title has a built-in ambiguity. The phrase "He gives us all his love" could mean that God gives his love to all of us, it could mean that God gives us all the love he has to give, or both.

Sail Away, the album on which this song appeared in the year following its inclusion in Cold Turkey, is rife with sarcasm. It includes several songs with overtly or subtlety oppugn the culture and values of the Southern United States. One song on that album, "God's Song (That's Why I Love Mankind)" casts doubt on the idea of a benevolent creator. Taken in context with the material on this album, one might view this song as tongue-in-cheek.

The song has, however, often transcended this simple interpretation and has been appreciated for the earnest narrative voice and the dignity it offers to the mundane trials of human existence. As such, it is sometimes taken at face value and has been covered by Wanda Jackson and Sherie Rene Scott, both born-again Christians.

It has also been covered by Roy Ayers, Birtles & Goble and others. Some versions are extended to four minutes or more in length and few, if any, are as brief as Newman's original rendition.

Re-release

In the 2002 re-release of Sail Away this song is extended by three seconds.

In the 2007 re-release of "Cold Turkey" (Randy Newman's first Film Score from 1971) the two original versions of this song are published (2:35 and 2:03").

References

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