17: Everything Is Beautiful

17: Everything Is Beautiful

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

Everything Is Beautiful

Story by Ray Stevens

Song written by Ray Stevens

Recorded by Ray Stevens

The lyrics to the song really speak for themselves. You have to try to overcome prejudice and be open-minded about people in the world. I think Americans are by and large that way. At least I think they are now more so than they were back in 1970 when I wrote the song.

I had just signed a new recording contract with Barnaby Records, Andy Williams’ new label. It was going to be distributed by CBS, so it was basically the same thing as being on Columbia Records. We had all the power of a major label and, at the same time, I was one of just a few artists, so there were a lot of resources to promote us. I was really excited about that, and I really wanted my first record to be a big hit.

I had also been signed to host The Andy Williams Show that year, 1970, and I wanted to write a song that would be the theme song for that show. So I sat down at the piano at my house in Nashville and started writing. I would start one song, and think, “No, that’s not right,” and start another. I was just not going to take “no” for an answer, so I sat there until I hit upon an idea that would work, and this was it.

I also had a little book that summer that I was reading. It was a book of wise little sayings and Chinese or Indian proverbs and things like that. There was one that said, “Everything is beautiful in its own way,” or something like that. And I thought, “That’s a great idea for the song I’m working on.” I wrote it pretty fast once I got the concept, and it sure did fit the bill as far as being a hit as well as the theme for the show.

After I finished the song, I got the idea to record some little kids singing the intro. So I went over to my daughter’s school in Nashville — Oak Hill Elementary — and I took a portable recorder with me and recorded her second-grade class singing, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world / red and yellow black and white / they are precious in his sight. . .”

I won a Grammy that year for the Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Male. It was released as a pop song and hit #1 on the pop and AC charts, but it got a lot of airplay on country radio and I think a good bit on gospel stations as well.

Everything Is Beautiful

Jesus loves the little children

All the children of the world

Red and yellow, black and white

They are precious in his sight

Jesus loves the little children of the world

CHORUS:

Everything is beautiful in its own way

Like a starry summer night or a snow covered winter’s day

Everybody’s beautiful in their own way

Under God’s heaven the world’s gonna find a way

There is none so blind as he who will not see

We must not close our minds. We must let our thoughts be free

For every hour that passes by, you know the world gets a little bit older

It’s time to realize that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder

CHORUS

We shouldn’t care about the length of his hair or the color of his skin

Don’t worry about what shows from without, but the love that lives within

We’re gonna get it all together now and everything’s gonna work out fine

Just take a little time to look on the good side, and straighten it out in your mind

CHORUS

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