Oh Happy Day

NICK EICHER, HOST: Before we end today’s program, Paul Butler has a little treat for us from the musical History Book.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Yes, I do, an uplifting song that turned 50 this year. Hit the big 5-oh.

EICHER: But before we get to it, I’ve got word that our event in Omaha next weekend is filling up.

BUTLER: Yeah, evidently we’ve filled half of the available space, which seems about right. We gave a two-week notice and we’re at the end of first of those weeks. So it seems appropriate that we’re are half-full. So, filling up fast!

EICHER: Well, in this case, I think the optimist wouldn’t say “half-full.” He’d say we’re half-empty, meaning I’m optimistic there will be tickets available!

BUTLER: Positive thinking! If you do live near Omaha, Nebraska, and you’re free next Saturday night, October 13th, why don’t you make plans to come see us? We’ll have an evening of questions and answers about the future of WORLD Radio, as well a chance to get a selfie with Nick Eicher!

EICHER: Yikes! Well, we will be at the Holiday Inn Omaha Southwest from 7 p.m. to 8:30. Details at worldandeverything.org. At the very top of the page, you’ll find a link that says “Omaha event.” Click on that and it’ll take you to a site that allows you to claim your free tickets.

And I think we’ll have a really good time together. Maybe even say it’ll be a happy day…

BUTLER: Not a bad transition there, because I do want to take a moment and talk about that classic song that turned 50 years old this summer, it’s a well-loved gospel standard.

Think back with me to the summer of 1968, a northern California church pianist and his choir are trying to figure out how to raise enough money for a trip to Washington, D.C., for a Christian youth conference.

They decide to make a private record to sell to family and friends, and members of the church. They arrange eight songs and quickly sell all 500 copies. One of those records ends up in the hands of a San Francisco DJ—and one cut in particular becomes an instant hit: reaching No. 4 on the U.S. Singles Chart, No. 1 in France, Germany, and the Netherlands, and No. 2 in the United Kingdom.

MUSIC: [Oh Happy Day]

The Recording Industry Association of America lists it in their “Top 365 Songs of the Twentieth Century” at No. 63. It’s been covered by hundreds of artists…

From 1968, here’s Edwin Hawkins & the Northern California State Youth Choir singing “O Happy Day.”

MUSIC: [Oh Happy Day]

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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