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Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands

DigiTrad:
HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HAND


Related thread:
He's got the Whole World, with Twist (2)


esoul 01 Oct 00 - 11:33 PM
Joe Offer 03 Oct 00 - 10:12 PM
Joe Offer 03 Oct 00 - 10:42 PM
GUEST 03 Aug 10 - 09:23 PM
Mark Ross 04 Aug 10 - 01:33 AM
Larry The Radio Guy 04 Aug 10 - 01:40 AM
GUEST,Just Me 14 Jun 11 - 02:46 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Jun 11 - 04:17 PM
GUEST 13 Mar 12 - 12:51 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Mar 12 - 04:32 PM
GUEST,Eliza 14 Mar 12 - 03:42 PM
GUEST 11 Apr 13 - 11:37 PM
Joe Offer 12 Apr 13 - 02:50 AM
GUEST,Gron 20 Aug 13 - 05:10 AM
mayomick 20 Aug 13 - 11:25 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Aug 13 - 12:53 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Aug 13 - 02:00 PM
GUEST,Molly Lynn watt 28 Jun 17 - 02:34 PM
GUEST 28 Jun 17 - 05:56 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jun 17 - 05:57 AM
clueless don 29 Jun 17 - 08:41 AM
Joe Offer 30 Jun 17 - 03:12 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jun 17 - 03:49 AM
Acorn4 30 Jun 17 - 12:06 PM
GUEST 09 Oct 17 - 02:56 AM
Mo the caller 09 Oct 17 - 10:55 AM
Tattie Bogle 09 Oct 17 - 11:14 AM
Tattie Bogle 09 Oct 17 - 11:44 AM
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Subject: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: esoul
Date: 01 Oct 00 - 11:33 PM

I am in the process of writing an article based on the song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" and wanted to get its history. I've been searching quite a bit and can't seem to find the information I need. Can someone help me please?

THANKS & God Bless!


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Subject: Info Request: Whole World In His Hands
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 10:12 PM

Well, here's what I found in the Traditional Ballad Index.
-Joe Offer-

He's Got the Whole World in His Hand(s)

DESCRIPTION: "He's got the whole world (right) in his hand (x3); He's got the whole world in his hand." The number of additional verses probably approximates the number of English speakers on earth; most are spiritual, but you can probably imagine some that aren't
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1927
KEYWORDS: religious nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Warner 168, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hand" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 361, "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, p. 273, "He's Got the Whole World in His Hand"
DT, WHOLWRLD

Roud #7501
RECORDINGS:
Bessie Johnson's Sanctified Singers, "The Whole World in His Hand" (OKeh 8765, 1930; rec. 1929; on Babylon)
File: Wa168

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


Here are the lyrics we have in the Digital Tradition:

HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HAND

He's got the whole world in his hand
The whole wide world in His hand,
He's got the whole world in his hand
He's got the whole world in his hand.

He's got you and me brother, in his hand (3x)
He's got the whole world in his hand.

He's got the little bitty babies in his hand (3x)
He's got the whole world in his hand.

He's got the lyin' man in his hand (3x)
He's got the whole world in his hand.

He's got the gamblin' man in his hand (3x)
He's got the whole world in his hand.

etc.
@religion @gospel
filename[ WHOLWRLD
SW


Laurie London 1958 recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VV7eFdpEB58

Mahalia Jackson - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3NQSHZX-DY

Marion Williams - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mzLLl1o32sE


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Subject: RE: Info Request: Whole World In His Hands
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Oct 00 - 10:42 PM

OK, here are some quotes.
-Joe Offer-
The Book of World-Famous Music, by James J. Fuld, Crown Publishers, 1966.
The words of this spiritual were published in Arthur Huff Fauset, "Negro Folk Tales from the South," in the Journal of American Folklore, New York, NY, July-Sept 1927, p. 294, with a note that the spiritual was heard near Tuskegee, Alabama.
The music (and words) were included in Edward Boatner, Spirituals Triumphant - Old and New, Revised and Enlarged (Nashville, Tennessee, 1927, no. 68. It has not been possible to find a copy of the earlier edition of this collection.
Folk Song Abecedary, James F. Leisy, Hawthorn Books, 1966.
Sam Hinton told me this spiritual was introduced to folk-singing enthusiasts by Frank Warner, who had collected it from Sue Thomas at Nag's Head, North Carolina, in 1935. It became a favorite with concert audiences through the singing of Marian Anderson, and in the 1950's it became a hit with teenagers through a rock-and-roll record made in England. This universal success, along with a simple and repetitive structure, makes it particularly suitable for group singing.
Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne & Frank Warner Collection, Anne Warner, Syracuse University Press, 1984.
Sue Thomas sang this song for Frank in the summer of 1933 - several years before we were married, before he had even thought of collecting songs. He learned it immediately and used it in every concert program for years. It was a favorite with anyone who heard it. We believe Frank was the first singer to introduce the song.
Some years later Marian Anderson - who learned it, she said, from a collector in Virginia - began using it in her programs of spirituals. Then Mahalia Jackson sang it, and Odetta. We delighted in hearing it from such fine singers. But then Lonny Donegan in London adopted it, and the skiffle boys, and they added a fast beat and hand-clapping at intervals, and interjected exclamations of "brother!"-
He's got you and me, brother,
Clap! Clap!!
In his hand...
Before one knew it, the lovely spiritual declaration of faith and trust that Sue sang so movingly had become a camp song, known throughout the land, When we began to sing it during a program the crowd would instantly join in, which would have been fine, but they would insist on the new fast beat and the clapping. We stopped singing, though we kept our appreciation of its message and its charm.
Here is is, then, as Sue sang it, with the verses she gave us. We have found a printed version of the song in the paperbound Spirituals Triumphant, Old and New (No. 68), edited and arranged by Edward Boatner, printed in both round and shaped notes. In the book, the verses are somewhat different:
1. He's got the whole world in His hand.
2. He's got my mother in His hand.
3. He's got my father in His hand.
4. He's got all power in His hand.
5. He's got the fishes of the sea in His hand.
6. He's got the whole church in His hand.
Improvisation adds joy and beauty to a song of this kind.
HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HAND
(as sung by Sue Thomas to Frank Warner, 1933)

He's got the whole world right in his hand.
He's got the whole world right in his hand.
He's got the whole world right in his hand.
He's got the whole world in his hand.

He's got the trees and the flowers right in his hand.

He's got the crap-shootin' man right in his hand.

He's got the back-slidin' sister right in his hand.

He's got the little bitty baby right in his hand.

He's got you and me in his hand.


(the line for each verse is repeated three times, ending with "He's got the whole world in his hand."
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 09:23 PM

what is the name of the singer who sang this song in the 1950's that made it a popular hit.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Mark Ross
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:33 AM

I heard that one night around a campfire a bunch was singing this, all holding hands. when Bob Gibson's turn came he started with "Someone's kidding Lord, Kumbaya.....".


Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Larry The Radio Guy
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:40 AM

Laurie London made the version in the 50's. I used to have it on a 78rpm.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST,Just Me
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 02:46 PM

the origin was a cherokee indian who served in ww11and his name was Obie Phillis i got from wiki


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Jun 11 - 04:17 PM

The song was known in 1933, long before WW2 and Obie Phillis is supposed to have written it. See posts above.

Wiki sometimes has some incorrect articles- and note the disclaimer- "This article needs additional citations for verification."


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Mar 12 - 12:51 PM

Did Frank Warner write it down, or did he record Sue Thomas singing He's Got the Whole World in His Hands? If it was recorded, where is it?


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Mar 12 - 04:32 PM

The first recording I have found is Frank Warner, 1952, "American Folk Songs and Ballads". Electra records.
Any earlier?
--------------------------------

Wikipedia says it was first published in Boatner, Edward, 1927, "Spirituals Triumphant, Old and New," Sunday School Publishing Board, National Baptist Convention.

Where Sue Thomas got it may be discussed in Warner, Anne & Frank, 1984, "Traditional American Folk Songs from the Anne and Frank Warner Collection," Syracuse University Press (not seen).

The above has been posted previously by Joe Offer, I have added references to the published books.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 14 Mar 12 - 03:42 PM

Oh heavens, we sang this in church a few weeks ago. Picture about twenty elderly and rather dignified old folk and an aged organist (she's 87) Instead of a swing to the music, we all sang it 'straight' and painfully slowly (as you would with 'The Church's One Foundation') I got the giggles, it was so dire. I don't think it will be on the agenda again.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST
Date: 11 Apr 13 - 11:37 PM

LAURIE london did it best.
IM RETIRED AND I HEARD IT FIRST IN THE 1950's IN WINNIPEG.
thank you for allowing us to play it again .
ROY


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Subject: ADD Version: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Apr 13 - 02:50 AM

So, here's a 1927 version, which may or may not be the earliest version known.

HE GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HAND

He got the whole world in his hand
He got the whole world in his hand
He got the whole world in his hand
He got the whole world in his hand

He got you an' I in his hand, etc.

He got the preachers too in his hand, etc.

He got the sinners too in his hand, etc.

Arthur Huff Fauset, "Negro Folk Tales from the South," in the Journal of American Folklore, New York, NY, July-Sept 1927, p. 294, with a note that the spiritual was heard near Tuskegee, Alabama.

link


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST,Gron
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 05:10 AM

Several sites attribute this song to Obie Philpott, a Cherokee who was training in WWII. After he left for the war, the words were found in his locker and attributed to him. However, separate publications in 1927 show that that can't be the case. So why is it still attributed to him.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: mayomick
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 11:25 AM

The 1950's UK singer who hit the charts with a clappety clap version was Lonnie Donegan , Joe pointed out. I hadn't realized that the song had been originally popularized in America this way . Another example of black American music becoming broadly popular in the US after being performed by white UK artists.

I remember hearing a floor singer get carried away singing it in an Irish pub in Hackney in the early eighties. He'd been improvising all the "itty bitty babies" and "you and me brother" bits trying to sound soulful,but he'd obviously been practicing James Brown in front of a mirror too long . By the time he'd come out with the chorus for the fifth time he was so fired up he didn't know what he was singing : "he's got the whole of it , the whole world , man , yeah, he's got whole of it, the whole whole f...ing world in his hands.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 12:53 PM

Thank Joe, I enjoyed going through that JAFL article. Some good stories, even Pat and Mike jokes, and a good section on hymns, although some are fragments.


The song was also published in 1927 (my post, 13 Mar 12; Boatner, "Spirituals ....."

This strongly suggests that the song is older.
It is not listed in "Index of Negro Spirituals" or other lists that I have.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Aug 13 - 02:00 PM

No. 150, In "African American Heritage Hymnal," GIA, 2001. The five verse hymn from that book:

Lyr. Add: HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HAND
In His Hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of every human being.
Job 12:10

1
He's got the whole world in His hand,
He's got the whole world in His hand,,
He's got the whole world in His hand,
He's got the whole world in His hand.
2
He's got the sun and the moon in His hand, (3X)
He's got the whole world in His hand.
3
He's got the wind and the rain in His hand, (3X)
He's got the whole world in His hand.
4
He's got the little bitty baby in His hand, (3X)
He's got the whole world in His Hand.
5
He's got you and me, brother, in His hand, (3X)
He's got the whole world in His hand.

Musical score 4/4, "Text: Traditional. Tune: WHOLE WORLD. Irregular. Negro Spiritual, arr. by Hezekiah Brinson, Jr., b. 1958. Copyright 1990."


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST,Molly Lynn watt
Date: 28 Jun 17 - 02:34 PM

I learned this. Song from Frank Warner in 1957, I somehow thought he'd collected it, but apparently it was published in 1927!


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jun 17 - 05:56 PM

I always thought it was "in his pants" :)

but the other thing I wanted to mention, when my dad was in palliative care and dying from kidney failure (this is 9 years ago now) and he lost his speech, my mom who sat with him the last time recalled that he was humming this song.

(I should point out that I always believed my dad was an atheist since he was a member of the Communist Party in Czechoslovakia - but when he took the time to write his memoirs we found out that he rebelled against his father (who also happened to be a long time member of the Communist Party) as a teenager by going to church on a regular basis. This would have been just after WWII in the late 40s and the Church did provide a lot of activities for young people in sports, music etc. I suppose he later distanced himself from that as he joined the party and the Czech military. But it is interesting that he hummed this song in his last moments.

Petr


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jun 17 - 05:57 AM

i always call it the second hand song when i'm teaching the guitar.

the second time the word hand comes up you change chords from G to D7.

and every time hand comes up afterwards, you change chords.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: clueless don
Date: 29 Jun 17 - 08:41 AM

A trivial matter: I first heard this song when I was very young, and have heard it now and again throughout my life (67 years and counting.) This thread is the first time I ever saw it as "... the whole world in his hand" (singular.) It was *always* "... in his hands" (plural.)

Don


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Joe Offer
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 03:12 AM

I learned it as "hands," too. I typed it singular many times in this thread. I'm pretty certain if I typed "hand," that my source must have had it that way.
But I've never heard it sung singular. Interesting, eh?=
Joe


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 03:49 AM

God needs his right hand. all his mates are sitting on his right hand.

i guess that leaves the whole world on his left.

of course, he's God. he can have as many hands as he wants.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Acorn4
Date: 30 Jun 17 - 12:06 PM

It might be now rather applicable in the age of the smartphone?


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 02:56 AM

2014 TV series "Manhattan" (Manhattan Project at Los Alamos set in early 1940s) Series 1, Episode 7, has Girl Scouts singing it. To me, that seems too early given the history traced on this website. I didn't hear it until the 1960s - but, I lived in Florida which was behind "the north."


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Mo the caller
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 10:55 AM

My memory says it became well known here (UK) in the mid 50s when the Billy Graham Crusades came to London (Wembley one year, Harringay another - maybe White City).And were relayed into churches. Harry Belafonte sang with him.

I note that the person who started this has never posted here since (under that name) so we'll never know what his/her findings were.


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 11:14 AM

Well this is the version that I remember as being the big hit - Laurie London in 1958 - as mentioned above by Larry the radio Guy in August 2010. Numerous covers of it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c94tsng6how


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Subject: RE: Origin: He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 09 Oct 17 - 11:44 AM

Incidentally, one of my friends does a "sing 3 songs together all at once" thing, which includes:
He's Got the Whole World In His Hands
Rocka My soul on the Bosom of Abraham and
When the Saints go Marching In (swing it a bit!)
For some odd reason it works!


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