I discovered Audrey Assad recently (thanks to the Rabbit Room) and then realized that a bunch of her music is available on Amazon Prime Music, too.

I immediately recognized the tune of her rendition of “Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” but couldn’t place it. (I also didn’t immediately recognize that the backing vocalist is none other than Fernando Ortega!)

I now submit to the interwebs the answer, in case anyone else asks it: it’s the classic lyrics set to the tune of “Morning Has Broken” composed by Rick Wakeman for Cat Stevens’ album, “Teaser and the Firecat.”

Edited to add: Matthew added more information in a comment below! Take a listen to “Bunessan”.

(Interestingly, “Morning Has Broken” originated with a different tune in 1931.)

3 Comments

  1. Matthew Watkins on June 27, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Sarah,
    I noticed the same thing you did and wondered if Audrey was borrowing from Cat Stevens (Yusaf Islam).

    I read your blog and it got me interested. The hymn “Morning has Broken” was set to the tune “Bunessan” and first published in 1931. It has the same lyrics and melody used in the Cat Stevens’ version. The tune is older than the lyrics, it comes from a traditional Scottish tune called “Bunessan”, originally published instrumentally in a hymn book from 1888. The melody has been used for various hymns over the years, originally being associated with a Christmas Carol, “Child in a Manger”. When Cat Stevens published Teaser and the Firecat in 1971 he had not yet converted to Islam, that would not be until 1977. He was probably still very influenced by his Christian upbringing and would have perhaps been familiar with the hymn “Morning has broken” from his childhood. If you listen to the old “Bunessan” tune it has all the melodic elements that are in “Oh, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus”, so, it is safe to say that Audrey Assad did not take anything from Cat Stevens. One thing I found interesting is that “Oh, the Deep, Deep, Love of Jesus” is also an old hymn and originally, it had a totally different tune!

    • Sarah Lewis on August 1, 2017 at 8:55 am

      Hi, Matthew! Thanks for adding on the info about “Bunessan”—fascinating! I love the way music migrates and musicians of all genres remix it.

  2. Don Blackburn on October 21, 2020 at 9:20 am

    You are partially right about Rick Wakeman writing the song, well all the interludes anyway. The producer Paul Samwell Smith had been listening to Rick Wakeman’s Six Wives of King Henry the VIII. He especially liked the piece entitled Anne Boleyn. Paul asked Rick if he would adapt it to act as piano interlude. Rick didn’t want to do that but instead suggesting writing something special along the same lines.

    Unfortunately due to an oversight he wasn’t credited for his work. In recent times Cat Steven’s became aware of it listening to an interview with Rick Wakeman. Cat Stevens made sure he is now credited for his work.

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