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The lyrics were written sometime in the 1890's by a Wellesley College English professor named Katharine Lee Bates, who wrote it as a poem. In 1926, the poem was combined with the music of a hymn written by Samuel Ward called "Materna" for a contest by the National Federation of Music Clubs.
A lot of artists have recorded this, including Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, but Charles' version is the most famous.
What Made Big Star Shine
The last living original member of Big Star - drummer Jody Stephens, looks back on the band and their legacy, including the theme for That '70s Show
Jonathan Edwards - "Sunshine"
"How much does it cost? I'll buy it?" Another songwriter told Jonathan to change these lyrics. Good thing he ignored this advice.