Skip to comments.Blake Shelton on 'The Voice' 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken?': 'That's not the version I grew up with'
Posted on 11/27/2013 11:51:49 AM PST by Kazan
On Tuesday night's (Nov. 26) "The Voice" live show, the Top 8 contestants performed "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?," backed by Seattle's Starbucks Chorus, a vocal group that raises money for local charities. But after the performance, the Twitterverse erupted with complaints that the word "Lord" was dropped from the lyrics.
Backstage, "Voice" coach Blake Shelton was still trying to get to the bottom of why it happened.
"I don't know what, uh -- how it happened, or -- I'm learning about it just like you guys are," Shelton tells Zap2it. "I was sitting in my chair singing that song how I grew up on it, with 'in the sky, Lord, in the sky.' I sang it as loud as I could. And that might be why I didn't realize until after the fact that 'Lord' was either taken out, or it was just performed some other way."
As for why the lyric was dropped, it's a mystery to Shelton. "I've heard -- you know, in the twenty minutes I've had since the show ended to come in here -- a lot of different reasons why it was that way," he says. "I know it was performed -- and it's meant for a good cause, and they're trying to raise some money. And that's a good thing. But I will say, that's not the version I grew up on. And that's not the version I was singing sitting in my chair, if that clears up anything [about] where I stand on this thing."
"Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" was written by Ada R. Habershon as a Christian hymn, and it should be noted a hymnal page from 1908 (seen below) does not actually mention the word "Lord." But it also doesn't use the word "oh," which replaces "Lord" in "The Voice" performance. "The Voice" version also skips the verses that mention "Saviour" and "Heaven."
Though the hymn chorus does not, the modernized version of the song lyrics most often dp include "Lord." A 1935 country music version of the original hymn with "Lord" added was made famous by The Carter Family, and later performed by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, among others. Johnny Cash sang the chorus with "Lord" intact in 1968's "Daddy Sang Bass." He can be seen performing his version in the video below.
"The Voice" contestants would presumably be covering the published, modern country western song, and not a century-old hymn, right? So, why the change from "Lord" to "oh?" Executive producer Mark Burnett had the same question.
"Especially for those of us who know this song from church so well ... I realized immediately what had happened," Burnett tells Zap2it. "I thought I'd misheard on the sound. Then came the next chorus, and I'm like, 'OK, it's live TV, so I've got to wait until the next commercial break. I'm running over there and asking the question.'"
As it turns out, Burnett says for the song to be provided to fans free on iTunes, "The Voice" had to use the public domain version (which would be the hymn). Though it's still unclear why the word "oh" was added.
"My mistake was I assumed that the public domain version has the word 'Lord' in it," Burnett says.
According to Burnett, Starbucks also was unaware of the lyric discrepancy.
Later in the evening, Shelton continued to field angry tweets about the dropped lyric. "Be our voice Blake and let the bosses know how disappointed we are," one fan writes. Shelton's response? "Will do."
HEY NBC... BURN IN HELL... I KNOW THAT YOU WILL.
What word was substituted ? “Obama” ?
I'm not a Blake Shelton fan, don't like his style of country music (I call it "pop country") but the man does have an ear for talent (Danielle Bradbury, last year's winner) and I'm guessing he isn't happy about what happened to the song either and will be following up on it. That makes him an OK guy in my book.
As for "The Voice" ... I refuse to watch it this season. Last season was tolerable with Usher and Shakira, I just cannot stand that fat slob C-Lo Green and that trashy Christina Aguiliera (or however you spell their names.)
For those interested, there are two versions of this song: Will the Circle Be Unbroken and Can the Circle Be Unbroken. The first is more of a hymn, the second more of a song of mourning. Both specifically reference the Lord.
So, why the change from “Lord” to “oh?”
I think they meant “O”. As in The One.
maybe this is their local charity:
Uh, the starbuck singers were unaware of the lyric change? HUH? Looked like some of them were old enough to know the words to the “traditional” version. The better half and I both took note and exception to the substitution. “O” meaning the “lyin’ king”? Nothing is impossible anymore so maybe...........
“...but the man does have an ear for talent ...”
You can say that again, I believe he is undefeated on The Voice.
I think that most people have heard the song, and would have to make a conscious effort to sing it differently. In fact, it would probably take practice.
He’s won three years in a row, I don’t know how long “The Voice” has been on. I’ll return to it next year when Shakira and Usher (?) are back. I just cannot stand C-Lo Green and Christina Aguiliera.
So they sang “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” not the more well known “Can the Circle Be Unbroken.” The lyrics of the two are different. It isn’t just that the former doesn’t have the word “lord.:” Didn’t anyone pick up on that?
No, Adam Levine won it the first year.
We watch the monday and tuesday show on the DVR tuesday so we can skip through most of the crap and commercials. Wife noticed that they’d dropped the Lord from the song and we skipped forward past the song. Hard to believe that they’d deliberately change such a well known song like that.
This tune was a favorite on the Old Fashioned Revival Hour broadcasts of the 1940's and 1950's. It was sung by their male quartet.
OK, thanks. I think we only watched all the way through one year - and to tell you the truth I’m not even sure we made it to the end.
I just watched the video, and it was immediately clear to me that they were not singing the Carter Family song. All these people outraged that the didn’t use the word “Lord” but didn’t realize that all the other lyrics were different, too? I guess some people are just looking for a reason to be upset.
From the story:
"Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" was written by Ada R. Habershon as a Christian hymn, and it should be noted a hymnal page from 1908 does not actually mention the word "Lord." But it also doesn't use the word "oh," which replaces "Lord" in "The Voice" performance. "The Voice" version also skips the verses that mention "Saviour" and "Heaven."