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Album: The Winner in YouReleased: 1983Charted:
  • According to Michael McDonald, this was based on the original Hebrew name for God (Yahweh), and was originally called "Yahweh Be There." The title was James Ingram's idea: "We were talking about how to say G-d will be there without scaring most of the audience away." It was co-written and produced by Quincy Jones (who does the African style sounds in the song) and Rod Temperton, who later wrote "Sweet Freedom" for McDonald (the theme from Running Scared).
  • This won a Grammy for Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
  • Michael McDonald has sung this solo over the years. It was even an in-joke in the film The 40 Year Old Virgin in which one of the characters sees a DVD of the McDonald Soundstage production playing in a store and says, "If I hear Ya Mo B There one more time I'm gonna 'ya mo' burn this place!" The song isn't even on the DVD. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sara - Silver Spring, MD, for all above
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Comments: 10

To Luke. ...it's rather amusing how many individuals justify atheism as a sign of being truly knowledgeable and yet make some of the most ignorant comments. Thankyou for the good comedy and continue on in your "enlightenment"John - Usa
I guess Luke is responding to comments that have been posted rather than the song itself (I don't think the song mentions the Bible). I always interpreted this as a "spiritual" song (Solisbury Hill too, though maybe I'm wrong). But I came to this site hoping to find information about the instrumentation. For example, is the bass part played on bass guitar or keyboard?Leland Spatz - Taipei, Taiwan
Quit the biblical sleeping pills please. the bible's not for everyone, just the brainwashed sheep.
The ones who can think for themselves don't need to be told where to look.
Luke - Manchester, United Kingdom
At the HDAudioPlus Audio Studio in Israel we remastered this all-time great track as a demo for our "audiophile mp3" video gallery on Vimeo and YouTube. This is probably the first time ever this amazing song appears in the video context it was written for: Nothing can save mankind except our Father in Heaven. Check it out! http://youtu.be/SfyQ10ZVfNk?hd=1
James Ingram - Yah Mo Be There (hdaudioplus.com) from HDAudioPlus on Vimeo.
Paula Wertheim - Executive Director, HDAudioPlus Israel
Paula - Beit Shemesh, Israel
(just to mention that the Hebrew name of God isn't [YHWA], but [YHWH]. The vowels, in Hebrew, aren't written down (except when you learn it or in kid's editions of books, as accents and other diacritical signs) so YHWH was interpreted as Jehovah, Yahweh, and quite a few others. Jewish scholars think that it's actually impossible to know the actual pronunciation of this tetragram, and that it's lucky we don't 'cause it'd be the ultimate blasphemy. Hence the "Yah Mo" before the "B there", like we replace God by gosh in English to respect the third commandmen, or Jewish people replacing Adonai's name by Adoshem when they're not saying it in the context of a prayer or a ceremony.
There, precision added.
ùmùml - Auxerre, Azerbaijan
I'm 64 and STILL listening to it. The instrumentalization is superb and, as I see from the comments above, folks share with me in finding a haunting beauty in it. Michael McDonald's voice lends itself well to the pleading spirit of the lyric. A thing of beauty is a joy forever.Louise - Las Vegas, Nv
WOW! Who knew! I always sang the song, "JEHOVAH BE THERE" because the song said to call on his name, and well, that's God's name. But then to read that Michael McDonald based it on the original Hebrew name for God (Yahweh) and he originally sang the song, "Yahweh Be There", I understood. In the original Hebrew scriptures is was spelled (YHWA) in Hebrew letters. Ancient Hebrew was written without vowels. So no one today can say for sure exactly how it was pronounced. In English, the common rendering of that name is "Jehovah"...so I will continue to sing the song like I always have! Thanks for the amazing info.Pamela - Malibu, Ca
I at the time was 19 and pregnant going through-and heard this song many times-yet really never understanding all the words to it-but-could catch-something like-i'ma be there-up and over-this is actually the first time that i have listened to it and fully understand it-it gave me comfort back then and means much more too me now-thanks and continue to bless and be blessed.Val - Thomasville, Ga
I've always wondered the meaning behind the song until I saw the video for it in the 80's. My interpretation of the song is that sometimes we are "drowning" in whatever trials or tribulations that are happening in our lives and God is sending someone to rescue us. That was my take on it. I love the song now even after 20 years. It can be very uplifting to someone in need. It has helped me alot.Stacey - Baltimore, Md
For years I've been wondering what the heck this song title meant. Thanks for revealing it at last!Barry - Greenville, Nc
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